Every Mac that runs a hard disk drive (HDD) stores data on a spinning disk. The data is written in chunks, and fragmentation occurs when related chunks become separated from each other. This means your MacBook runs slower as it searches for all the connecting chunks or blocks.
Of course, you don’t want this because it slows down daily work and slowly becomes a hindrance.
But how do you get all those fragments back in the proper place?
It’s actually simpler than you think- with a common process called defragmentation or “defragging” your Mac.
Do Macs Need Defragmentation?
Macs are known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to necessary functions like antivirus measures and file organization, so defragmentation is actually a process your Mac is already doing automatically. Besides using an advanced file storage system that is less prone to fragmenting, files that are prone to fragmentation are automatically defragged by Mac OS X 10.3 and onwards.
However, there are some limitations to the built-in features and specific scenarios where you would benefit from defragging your MacBook. For example, defragging become more useful the fuller your drive is due to the distribution of space. Additionally, macOS only defrags files smaller than 20 MB so depending on your line of work, your larger files could be creating problems. You can learn more here.
So while the need to defrag a Mac is fairly rare, it is still a useful process and could potentially help improve your workflow.
MacBook Pro with HDD – Drive Genius
Since you need a third-party tool to defragment a MacBook Pro, we decided to highlight Drive Genius, a well-reputed computer cleaning tool with an efficient defragging feature.
Before running the defragmentation, you should make sure to create a backup of your files. Then you can select the “defragment” option from the Drive Genius menu and follow the on-screen instructions to select your disk and run the operation.
Drive Genius provides a graphical representation of the defragging process, which is great because it allows you to see exactly what is happening to your drive. Depending on the state of your drive, the operation could take several hours to complete.
In addition to the defragging tool, Drive Genius provides several other features that will help you clean up your Mac such as a duplicate file identifier and utilities such as secure file deletion. These will help you keep your MacBook running smoothly.
You can get Drive Genius here.
MacBook Pro with SSD – CleanMyMac
An SSD drive stores data very differently from an HDD. An HDD uses a physical disk, and therefore physically distributes data in blocks which is what leads to potential fragmentation. On the other hand, an SSD uses “flashing” to write data which is an electronic process.
You shouldn’t try and defrag your SSD because all of your data is being stored in algorithms and an SSD will not benefit from having this data rearranged. But if you still want to try and speed up your disk, there is another way you can do it.
An app like CleanMyMac, which is developed by the well-respected MacPaw, will help you keep files from piling up or caches from overflowing with unnecessary data.
Instead of trying to defrag your computer, you can find and remove everything from duplicate documents to year-old device backups hidden inside iTunes. The folder you didn’t know existed will be scanned for gigabytes worth of missing storage space. Files can be “shredded” instead of just deleted for extra security.
All of these, among a plethora of other features, will keep your MacBook’s SSD in tip-top shape by removing unnecessary data. Additionally, you’ll be able to make space for more important files in the future.
You can get CleanMyMac here.
Keeping Your Mac Drive in Good Shape
Defragging is definitely not the only way you can make sure your drive stays in working order for as long as possible. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stay on top of things.
Clean Regularly: The trash and the downloads folder are both easily accessible and fill up quickly. By clearing out these two on a regular basis, you’ll keep things neat and reclaim some space
Offload Old Data: Whether you prefer external drives or cloud storage services, moving your older files off of your HDD or SSD will significantly speed it up. While you do need to be careful to create at least one backup of each data item and to completely transfer all part of project files, this is generally a great long-term solution for a crowded drive.
Upgrade the RAM: While this solution won’t give you more storage to work with, it will give your computer a greater degree of efficiency to work with what it has. This works best when paired with another cleaning method, but can have great results even if used on its own. You can learn the best RAM for MacBook Pro here.
Wrap It Up
We all want our Macs to run as smoothly as the day we took them from the clean white box and opened the MacBook lid. However, the reality is that daily work and use over time can bog you down and make using your laptop a tedious chore.
By keeping your drive in shape with regular maintenance and third-party tools, you’ll help reduce the effect of your use. The extra process of defragging your MacBook Pro (which is only recommended for HDDs under specific circumstances) can be very helpful for drives that are almost full, but users using less than 50% of their space likely won’t see a performance difference.
Have you ever defragged your MacBook Pro? Tell us what program you used and how your MacBook worked afterward in the comments below!