I am always in the market for a new, useful macOS utility App. I test them, keep some and discard others. Along these lines I have been doing research on SMART status (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) of hard drives recently. SMART Status is monitored in the macOS. There are third party Apps that do it as well, including a neat little App called SMART Utility by Volitans Software.
SMART Utility App
When it comes to SMART status of hard drives, The third party Apps are more robust and do a more thorough job than the macOS. Here is the Disk Utility App monitoring SMART status:
Because many third party Apps perform this function better I have used third party Apps over the years to monitor my drives for failure. That is what SMART status is for really. It monitors drives for potential failure and warns the user.
The SMART Utility App is a one horse band, but it works quite well for this particular function. When you first open the App is scans all your internal and external hard drives:
When it is finished it lists your hard drives in the left-hand column:
If you click on a drive, it shows you the SMART status in the right-hand column. The idea of the SMART Utility App is to allow it to run in the background. It does not have a setting to “boot at login” so you have to add it to your “Login Items”. I just let it run in the background, more on that in a bit.
As you can see, Smart Utility App reports my Server disk as Failing:
This is a Crucial SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure. I have another App that checks for SMART status and it reports this App as failing as well. I have already contacted Crucial about this, they said if the SSD is in an external drive these utility Apps can get it wrong. They suggested the only way to really test their drives is with their drive test software. However, that only works on a PC, us Mac people are out of luck. Anyway, this drive is only 3 months old, I think it is OK. Take note, the other Crucial drive in the list is my internal main drive in my iMac. It is reported as “Passed”. So, it is not an SSD issue. I think it is an external USB 3.0 issue.
Smart Utility Preferences
The SMART Utility App has a few settings you should consider. I think the most user adjustable is the Interface Preference:
The App has to be running to scan the drives. You can set it to Hourly, Daily and Weekly. I set it to Hourly for now, might change to Daily at a later time.
You can set some technical specs in the Algorithm Preference area:
I am not too well versed here, but it might bear a quick look.
The Notifications area could be pretty handy:
I don’t think I need to use Email Notifications, but if you need to be notified of hard drive problems while away from your main Mac, it could come in handy.
I set the App to check for updates daily. I also set it to “Submit anonymous system information” to the Developer. Now, some of you may consider that an invasion of privacy, just uncheck it if you do. I don’t mind supporting Developers this way.
The SMART Utility App is one of the best applications that I have used for this specific purpose. As far as I can tell, it works very well. I highly recommend using it if you want extra protection not provided by macOS.
I do not believe that a third party App monitoring the SMART status of your Mac is totally necessary. However, as far as I am concerned, knowing when or if one of my drives is about to fail is super important! Smart Utility App is $25 for a Personal License. It works fine in macOS High Sierra. You can download a free trial, but I am not sure how the free trial works.