Each year, data storage provider Backblaze publishes hard drive reliability statistics, and the results are always the same: the lifetime annualized failure rate for modern hard drives is around 2 percent. In other words, you can expect 2 out of every 100 hard drives to fail during a full year of use.
Since it’s only a matter of time before you become yet another victim of these gloomy statistics, you should familiarize yourself with the best Mac disk repair software tools right now so that you know what to do when the worst happens and you lose important data.
What to Look for in Mac Disk Repair Software?
There are certain things we always look for when selecting Mac disk repair software. Let’s take a closer look at some of them so that you better understand what separates outstanding disk repair software applications from those that are merely good.
- 💻 Compatibility with Mac file systems: Mac computers rely on different file systems than Windows and Linux machines. The default file system of newer Macs is called Apple File System (APFS), while older Macs use Hierarchical File System (HFS+ or HFS Plus). For disk repair software to be useful, it must support all Mac file systems, and, ideally, also Windows and Linux file systems.
- 📊 S.M.A.R.T. monitoring capabilities: Prevention is worth a pound of cure, and S.M.A.R.T. monitoring can help you detect emerging hard drive issues a long time before they become a problem, giving you enough time to back up your data to a safe location and determine the best solution.
- 💾 HDD management functionality: When repairing a hard drive, it’s often necessary to move large quantities of files around, delete corrupted partitions, and perform other HDD management tasks, so selecting Mac disk repair software that supports them is always a good idea.
- 🚫 The ability to repair bad sectors: Bad sectors can lead to stability issues and cause read/write operations to fail. Fortunately, there are many Mac disk repair software tool that can not only detect them but also repair them, and we describe several of them in this article.
- ⚠️ Hard drive corruption repair: Hard drive corruption often goes hand-in-hand with the presence of bad sectors, but it can also be caused by malware, buggy software, and various hardware issues. When addressed in a timely manner, hard drive corruption doesn’t necessarily have to cause data loss, especially when the best hard drive repair software is used.
- 📁 Data backup & recovery: To avoid data loss, it’s paramount to regularly back up all important data. To do that, you may not even need to install dedicated backup software because many disk repair software applications come with built-in data backup and recovery capabilities. Of course, it never hurts to have more than one copy of your files, so don’t hesitate to combine local backups with cloud backups.
- 🤷♂️ Easy-to-use user interface: It goes without saying that you don’t want to waste your time on a disk repair application that’s pain to use when there are so many excellent options available. The application of your choice should have a modern user interface that’s easy to understand and doesn’t require you to read a manual just to understand available options.
- 🆓 Availability of a free trial version: The fact is that the best disk repair software solutions are not free—at least not entirely. We say that because many disk repair software solutions offer a free trial version that let’s you play with all key features without spending a single dollar, allowing you to decide whether the software is really worth it or not.
- 💬 Positive online reviews: The web is an excellent source of information, and we highly recommend you use it to read online reviews of disk repair software to learn which applications real users like and dislike. When hundreds of users from around the world praise certain software, there’s a very good chance that the software is worth downloading.
Best 10 Disk Repair Software for macOS
Selecting the best disk repair software for Mac would be much more difficult if it wasn’t for Disk Drill for Mac. This popular data recovery and disk repair software has been around since 2010, offering a simplified approach to data recovery. Since the release of the first version, Disk Drill for Mac has received several major updates, and its latest version looks and feels modern and polished.
The average Mac user can simply launch Disk Drill for Mac, select the problematic hard drive and click the Recover button. Disk Drill for Mac will automatically run diagnostics on the hard drive to determine its condition. It will then select the optimal data recovery method and proceed to recover deleted and lost files. Once it’s finished, the user can browse through a list of recoverable files and mark individual files and even entire folders for recovery.
Disk Drill for Mac supports all major file systems (HFS & HFS+, FAT/FAT32/exFAT, NTFS, EXT3/EXT4), and it works with internal and external storage devices alike. Included with it are multiple Mac HDD repair tools, including a disk monitoring tool that can alert you when your hard drive starts to show signs of failure.
- Easy to use disk repair tool with one-click approach to data recovery.
- All major file systems and storage devices are supported.
- The data recovery process can be paused and scanned at any time.
- Free version available for testing purposes.
- The Pro version of Disk Drill for Mac comes with several extra Mac HDD repair tools.
Price: $89.00 for the Pro version + $29.00 for lifetime updates.
While not nearly as popular as it used to be some 10 years ago, TechTool Protogo, now part of the TechTool Pro product line, still remains one of the best disk repair software Mac users should know about. Unlike many other disk repair tools for Mac computers, TechTool Protogo can bypass the operating system and run directly from a bootable diagnostic device, which is essentially a convenient disk repair toolbox with the right tool for just about any disk repair job.
Because many hard drive issues are caused by external factors, such as overheating or a faulty power supply, it’s great to see TechTool Protogo include one of the most comprehensive hardware testing tools in the industry. With it, it’s extremely straightforward to spot temperature sensors that have exceeded the normal range and pinpoint the exact cause of your hard drive issues.
Another useful tool included in TechTool Protogo is the Volume Rebuild tool. As its name suggests, the Volume Rebuild tool can repair volumes that have suffered logical damage (caused by non-mechanical issues). Best of all, it can handle not just native Mac drive formats but also MS-DOS (FAT32) and ExFAT volumes.
- Stand-alone hard disk repair tool Mac users can run from a bootable device.
- Offers comprehensive hardware diagnostics.
- Can be used to remedy logical damage to data.
DiskWarrior specializes in eliminating directory errors on Mac computers. Its signature approach to disk repair prevents data loss by creating an error-free version of the damaged data and comparing it with the original data to verify its integrity. This approach has earned DiskWarrior multiple awards over the years, and users who have been able to avoid a disastrous loss of data with this Mac drive repair software swear by it.
The latest version of DiskWarrior runs on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, macOS 10.12 Sierra, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.14 Mojave, and macOS 10.15 Catalina.
Even if you don’t repair directory errors caused crashes, power loss, and other unexpected interruptions, you should still consider using DiskWarrior because it can greatly improve the performance of your system. How? By optimizing the directory structure for maximum performance. According to the developers of DiskWarrior, such optimization can result in up to a 60 percent decrease in the time it takes programs to scan the directory.
- Its unique approach to disk repairs prevents data loss.
- Effectively eliminates most directory errors.
- Improves the performance of Mac computers.
- Compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and newer.
Apple’s main goal is to make Mac computers accessible to as many users as possible. To make this happen, Apple sometimes hides more advanced features that might otherwise confuse less tech-savvy users. However, many of these hidden features are exactly what you need to diagnose and repair disk problems. OnyX is a versatile disk repair tool Mac users can use to access a large number of hidden features with ease.
The main window of OnyX is split into several tabs:
- The Maintenance tab lets you access common system maintenance tasks and script, allowing you to rebuild cache files, repair file permissions, and more.
- Next to it is the Cleaning tab, which is where you need to go it you want to delete system cache files or large logs.
- The Automation tab is home to multiple routine tasks that you can automate with a single click to keep your Mac in the best possible condition without any manual work.
- The Utilities tab is home to lesser-known Mac apps that most regular users don’t even know exist.
- Worth mentioning is also the Parameters tab, which gives you a great degree of control over the look and feel of the operating system and individual apps.
Since OnyX is completely free, there’s absolutely no reason to not give it a try and see what it has to offer. Just make sure to download the right version for your Mac because there’s a specific version of OnyX for each major version of the operating system. The correct version for macOS 10.15 Catalina is OnyX 3.7.2, while the users of macOS 10.14 Mojave should download OnyX 3.6.8.
- Completely free and supported by donations.
- Provides easy access to advanced Mac features and apps.
- Let’s you configure hidden macOS settings and parameters.
Data Rescue 6 for Mac has a lot in common with our favorite Mac disk repair software, Disk Drill for Mac. Both software applications are comprehensive data recovery solutions intended to recover permanently deleted files from a variety of storage devices. Just like Disk Drill for Mac, Data Rescue 6 offers two distinct data recovery methods: Quick Scan and Deep Scan. Last but not least, both data recovery solutions have been around for a long time and received many positive reviews from professional reviewers and customers alike.
Data Rescue 6 for Mac has a fairly barebones user interface, and it’s clear that its developers haven’t put much effort into making this hard drive repair software inviting for Mac users. The good news is that you won’t spend too much time interacting with Data Rescue 6 because all you need to do to start the recovery process is click the Start Recovering Files button and select a drive to scan. The Quick Scan data recovery mode takes just a short while to complete, but Deep Scan often requires multiple hours to finish. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to pause the scan, which is why it’s best to start it before going to bed.
With a single Data Rescue 6 license, you can perform an unlimited number of recoveries from up to 5 drives. Because you can often find Data Rescue 6 on sale, we recommend you wait a while before you pay the full price.
- Two distinct data recovery modes.
- Supports all common storage devices.
- Lets you perform an unlimited number of recoveries from up to 5 drives.
Leftover application files eat up valuable storage space, and their presence on the hard drive can cause problems with newer versions of the applications that originally created them. To keep your hard drive clean and organized, you should uninstall applications with AppCleaner, one of the most useful free Mac utilities in the world.
When you drop an application into AppCleaner, the utility automatically finds all files that belong to it and safely deletes them. AppCleaner works on all versions of macOS from High Sierra up to Catalina, but you won’t find it in the App Store because its developer, FreeMacSoft, distributes it only on its website.
- Thoroughly uninstalls unwanted apps.
- Is available for free.
7. Drive Genius
Many hard drive issues can be prevented with proper maintenance, and Drive Genius has all the maintenance features you need to keep your hard drive in top condition. The features are split into three categories:
- Protect: Consistency Check, Repair, Rebuild, Malware Scan, BootWell, Instant DrivePulse, Repair, Active Files.
- Clean Up: Repartition, Find Duplicates, Find Large Files, Clone, Secure Erase, Initialize, IconGenius, Information.
- Speed Up: Defragment, Speed.
That’s 18 features in total. Arguably the most interesting feature of them all is Instant DrivePulse, Repair. Its purpose is to check your hard drive for hardware-related problems, such as those that may result from a damaged drive, bad cable, or bad connection. Unfortunately, Drive Genius isn’t compatible with all recent versions of macOS, but there’s a demo version available that you can use to test if this hard disk repair tool runs on your Mac.
- Comes with 18 useful disk repair features.
- Free demo version available.
- Professional version available for a one-time payment.
Carbon Copy Cloner is the right Mac disk repair software to use when all other disk repair software applications fail. Its main feature is the ability to create bootable backups that can be stored anywhere and used in a minute. When a disaster strikes, you can simply boot from a Carbon Copy Cloner backup and repair the malfunctioning disk later.
Just like Time Machine in macOS, Carbon Copy Cloner can constantly back up your files, allowing you to go back in time and retrieve an older version of any file that was stored on your Mac. You can schedule backups to run as often as you want, and Carbon Copy Cloner can keep you informed about their progress via the Notification Center or email.
- Ability to create bootable backups.
- Can seamlessly back up your files as you work on your Mac.
- Complex backup scheduling features.
Aimed at advanced Mac users, AppleJack is a command-line utility that runs in Single User Mode. You can use it to repair your hard drive, repair permissions, get rid of possibly corrupted cache files, and validate the system’s preference files. To boot into Single User Mode, all you need to do is boot up your Mac and hold down Command + S keys together as soon as the boot process begins. From there, you enter the admin password to log in and typing applejack, or applejack auto, or applejack auto restart.
Despite being aimed at advanced Mac users, AppleJack is fairly easy to use because it presents all available options on the screen in the form of a text-based menu. You simply enter your choice, press Enter on the keyboard, and let AppleJack do the hard work.
- Command-line utility with a menu-based interface.
- Works even when your Mac can’t boot into macOS.
10. Memtest OS X
There’s a good reason why Memtest OX X occupies the last place on this list: it’s actually not a Mac HDD repair tool. Instead, it’s a memory testing software application capable of booting from a USB flash drive and testing the RAM in your Mac for faults.
We decided to include it on this list because many Mac issues that seem to be caused by a faulty hard drive can just as easily be caused by a faulty memory module. With Memtest OS X, you can confirm or rule out your suspicion and avoid fixing an imaginary problem.
The latest version of Memtest OS X has an easy-to-use graphical user interface with mouse support, and it offers 13 different RAM testing algorithms. Regular Mac users can stick with the free version of Memtest OS X, but professionals should also consider the Pro Edition.
- Industry-standard RAM testing software application.
- Graphical interface with mouse support.
- 13 different RAM testing algorithms.
Top Causes of Mac Hard Drive Damage
Even the most reliable hard drive in the world can fail or become corrupted for a number of reasons:
- Software bugs: When privileged software applications misbehave, they can cause filesystem corruption or make it impossible to boot into the operating system. That’s why you should never give admin permissions to applications you don’t fully trust.
- Human error: It’s natural for us to make mistakes, especially when we attempt something for the first time, such as partitioning a hard drive. Unfortunately, human errors can have disastrous consequences and lead to permanent loss of data, so be extra careful and never follow any online instructions without cross-referencing them first.
- Hardware failure: Hard drive reliability statistics don’t lie: there isn’t a single manufacturer that produces hard drives with 100 percent reliability. To avoid data loss caused by a sudden hardware failure, use a disk health monitoring tool and replace the hard drive before its condition deteriorates too much.
- Firmware issues: There have been several causes of faulty hard drive firmware leading to hard drive damage and data loss in the past. While hard drive manufacturers are usually quick to release an updated version of the firmware, it’s up to end-users to update their hard drives.
- External factors: Hard drive damage can also be caused by external factors such as natural disasters, power surges, and various unforeseen mishaps. Having a reliable backup plan in place is the only way how you can always be prepared for the worst.
Benefits of Hard Disk Repair Software Solutions
When something goes wrong with your hard drive, you have several options on how to proceed. You can take the hard drive to a professional hard drive repair shop and ask them to fix the issue for you. You can also use hard disk repair software and attempt to fix the problem by yourself. Here are some reasons why the do-it-yourself approach is better:
- Speed: Depending on which hard drive repair shop you choose, it can take as much as several weeks for your hard drive to return back to you. If that’s the only hard drive you have, you’re out of luck. With a hard disk repair software solution, you can repair your hard disk in just a few minutes.
- Convenience: Modern hard disk repair software solutions like Disk Drill for Mac are extremely convenient to use. They walk you through the entire process, allowing you to fix your hard drive from the comfort of your home, allowing you to experience the satisfaction of repairing your own Mac.
- Price: Professional hard disk repair services tend to cost a lot of money, and there’s no guarantee that the repair shop you choose won’t use the same software tool you could easily download from the internet, perhaps even for free. Before you give your hard-earned money to someone else, use the disk repair software for Mac listed in this article to fix the problem by yourself.
Did You Know?
Each year, data storage provider Backblaze gathers data about over 100,000 spinning hard drives used in its cloud storage ecosystem, summarizing the gathered data in comprehensive reports published on its website. On average, approximately 2 percent of hard drives used by Backblaze fail each year, which means that 2 out of every 100 hard drives go to Silicon Heaven.
After testing countless Mac disk repair software applications, we were able to narrow them down to just 10. Disk Drill for Mac earned the top spot thanks to its ease of use, excellent data recovery performance, and useful disk repair tools. Overall, Mac users can choose from a wide variety of disk repair tools, many of which are free or offer a trial version.