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Some Apple M1-based Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines are experiencing extreme SSD wear

M1 Macs do not have replaceable SSDs, like their predecessors. (Image source: Apple)
M1 Macs do not have replaceable SSDs, like their predecessors. (Image source: Apple)
The lifespan of the soldered SSD's in new M1 Macs may be severely limited, according to multiple reports. Current wear of some SSDs is so high that some drives may need replacing within two years.
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Apple has been soldering SSDs to its logic boards for a few years now, rendering upgrades improbable and repairs a longer process than they were on older machines. The company continues to include soldered storage on its M1-based Macs, of which there are currently three. Hence, if the SSD fails on an M1-based MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro, then Apple must replace at least the whole logic board, rather than an M.2 2280 drive.

Typically, SSDs last for years and should outlast the lifespan of other components, or at least until the time that you decide to upgrade your machine. Samsung rates the 980 PRO for up to 1.5 million hours of use, for example, or 300 TB of total writes. SSDs will last beyond their rated lifespan, but they will fail eventually.

However, there are now mounting reports of M1-based Macs experienced unusually high SSD wear, often within a few days of use. Apparently, people have noticed between 0.35 and 0.56 TB of data being written per hour in some cases, which is well above normal expectations from other OSes. It seems that only some M1-based Macs are affected, but it is unclear what is causing SSD usage on those that are. Anecdotally, our M1 MacBook Air has written fewer TB of data per hour than a 2018 MacBook Pro.

Some people have speculated that new M1 Macs are using their swap file aggressively, but there has been no definitive answer as of yet.  Nonetheless, there appears to a pattern among some M1-based Macs of high SSD usage. You can monitor the drive health of your Mac using programs like DriveDx.

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 3811 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 02 > Some Apple M1-based Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines are experiencing extreme SSD wear
Alex Alderson, 2021-02-24 (Update: 2021-02-24)