How to check the SSD in my MacBook Pro? (Equivalent of HD surface scan?)


Yesterday evening my MacBook Pro no longer booted properly. After hours of troubleshooting I finally fixed it today. While I’m pretty sure this was a software issue I want to check the hardware to ease my mind. I already ran an extensive MemTest86 test on the memory today and that was fine. Now I would also like to perform a “surface scan” on the SSD, but I’m not aware of Mac software that can do that (I still use a Windows PC at home). I did find DriveDx, but the free trial only performs a short self-test (not the long self-test and I don’t think it has a surface scan).

What do you recommend to check the SSD in my MacBook Pro?

(Of course I ran Disk Utility, but I believe that only checks the logical filesystem; no physical tests?)

PS: If there’s good free software to do this that would have my preference right now (might change when I get a Mac at home)


This isn’t really a thing for an SSD. There’s no equivalent of a surface to scan, and reading from every bit on the drive would be massively detrimental to the drive’s lifespan. Unlike a HDD there is also no risk from hitting a bad sector or damaged physical area. Though some of the bits may become inoperable over time the design of the hardware prevents gradual data loss, so the risk is from catastrophic failure only.

So basically, unless you’re seeing replicable symptoms there’s nothing to do.


I think the OP is aware that a SSD is nothing like a HDD. What he wants is something that will say “Your SSD is OK” or “Your SSD may have a problem”.


There are two things I can think of that would be free: 1) Apple Diagnostics, and 2) A Genius Bar appointment.


Ah yes, thanks. Forgot to mention that. I also ran that yesterday and it reported no errors. However, it ran so quick that I wonder how thorough it is.


Oh, I did not know that. I thought only/mainly write cycles determine the lifetime?


Yes. When data is written to a block, the entire block must be erased before it can be written to again. The lifespan of an SSD is measured in these program-erase (P/E) cycles. (Therefore, you do not want to try defragging an SSD, for example.)


Out of curiosity, I just ran the short smartctl test and it showed my SSD was OK. I used smartctl extensively on HDDs, and the long test (which took ages) gave excellent results. Not sure if applicable to SSDs.