SSDReporter: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Keep Track of Your SSD's Health

SSDReporter Icon
Courtesy of CoreCode

SSDReporter from corecode is a utility that monitors the health of your Mac’s internal SSD or flash-based storage. By keeping track of the S.M.A.R.T. attributes used by SSDs for reporting current conditions, as well as trends in such categories as wear level and available reserve space, SSDReporter can provide advance warning of SSD failure modes, as well as a wealth of information about the current state of your SSD.

Pro

  • Works with most internal SSDs and flash-based storage.
  • Can send warning and failing notifications when threshold events are crossed.
  • Unobtrusive UI places the app’s primary interface in the menu bar or Dock.
  • Easy to configure and understand.
  • Built-in documentation (no need to visit a website).

Con

  • Not all SSDs are supported.
  • Doesn't work with external SSDs connected by USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt.
  • Not currently compatible with 2015 12-inch MacBook’s internal PCIe SSD.

Having witnessed many hard drives fail over the years, I was very pleased to see Apple really commit to the SSD (Solid-State Drive), in one form or another, in just about every current Mac model available. If all the hype is to be believed, SSDs not only promise speed, but also a much more rugged and safe environment for storing all of our data.

Turns out that while SSDs are indeed rugged and much faster than our old friend, the hard drive, their longevity isn’t really that much better than the mechanical platter-based storage system they're replacing.

SSDs suffer from many similar issues, as well as a few new unique problems. That’s not to put you off SSDs or flash-based storage; I’m happily using an SSD (as well as hard drives) in my Mac system, and I have no plans to return to only mechanical drives for storage. But it does mean you need to take precautions for storing your data similar to the ones you took with old-fashioned hard drives.

SSDReporter

At its heart, SSDReporter is a S.M.A.R.T. monitoring system. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a system that detects and reports on known indicators of drive health and reliability. SSDReporter monitors SSD-related attributes and uses them to provide notifications about the health and well-being of your SSD.

Specifically, SSDReporter makes use of S.M.A.R.T. attributes 5 (relocated sector count), 173 (wear leveler worst case erase count), 202 (data address mark errors), 226 (load-in time), 230 (GRM head amplitude), 231 (temperature), and 233 (media wear-out indicator) in order to monitor the overall health of your SSD.

Using SSDReporter

SSDReporter installs as an app that uses your menu bar or your Dock to display the current status of your Mac’s internal SSDs. The app uses a simple green, yellow, red color code, so all it takes is a glance at the SSDReporter icon to check the current SSD status.

In addition, SSDReporter provides email notifications of trigger events, that is, when S.M.A.R.T. results monitored by SSDReporter cross threshold events for warning and failing levels. In addition to threshold events, you can also configure SSDReporter to generate a notification if there has been a health change since the last time it was checked, even if the change doesn't cause any of the threshold events to be crossed.

SSDReporter's main window displays an icon bar populated with three icons: SSDs, Settings, and Documentation. Clicking the SSDs icon brings up an overview of the current status of all internal SSDs on your Mac. The Settings icon allows you to configure the various parameters of SSDReporter, including automatically launching at login, setting how often to check your SSDs, setting threshold levels, and finally, setting various appearance options to allow SSDReporter to look just the way you want it to.

Last Word

SSDReporter is a basic S.M.A.R.T monitoring system that only looks at a handful of S.M.A.R.T.

attributes, however, these are the ones most used by SSD manufacturers. The notification options and setting of threshold events all fall into the category of "does what you think it should do," without a great deal of surprises, good or otherwise.

If you're looking for a casual way to keep abreast of the status of your SSDs, and are looking mostly for a general guideline as to their overall health, SSDReporter fits the bill nicely. It remains unobtrusive until an event occurs that should be brought to your attention. It's also well priced for the level of reporting it performs. However, before purchasing the SSDReporter app, I recommend downloading it and giving it a try, since the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring capabilities don't work for all SSDs (it’s up to the manufacturer to support the needed attributes). If your SSD is supported, then this app can give you a bit of a warning should anything begin to happen to your SSD that is detrimental to its overall health.

SSDReporter is $3.99. A demo is available.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks

Published: 7/4/2015

Updated: 7/5/2015

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