M1 Mac Ssd Swap Issues Explained: Should You Be Worried?
Apple's m1, max have been absolutely great exceeding our expectations in many ways as well as being the main reason for apple seeing a huge spike in max sales last quarter. But about a month ago, a new issue arose that was big enough to get some people to avoid buying a m1 mac altogether longhorn and Apple developer tweeted out some stats from its m1, max SSD usage showing that it was already using one percent of the lifespan in just over two months. And the culprit was, of course, SSD. Ram.
Swapping, even though he had a 16 gig, ram model, shortly after that more and more users shared the stats from their m1 mac SSD drives, some even showing 10 usage after only a couple of months, which is obviously way too much. And to make matters worse, apple solders their SSDs onto the logic board. So you can't replace it yourself.
So in this video I'm going to discuss SSD swapping on m1 max. And if it's actually a legitimate concern for people looking to buy a new mac. But first I want to dig deep into. Explaining exactly what SSD swapping is and how it works so that you can understand the full picture so let's get right into it when you have an app or program open on your computer, the system stores temporary data that the app needs to run onto the ram, which stands for random access memory, which is basically just like a storage drive, except that it has extremely fast transfer speeds, compared to a regular SSD storage drive.
So as you interact with the app, the system is constantly writing reading. And updating the ram file for that app until you finally close it. At that point, the data file for the app is erased off of the ram storage, freeing up more space for other apps.
Now, let's say, you have multiple apps open, and you're beginning to use quite a lot of your total, ram the system really doesn't want you to run out of ram, because if it does apps will begin to crash and bug out, which is something that apple absolutely cannot have happened, because it basically ruins the reliability of the mac. To avoid this from happening, the system will look at all the apps that are currently using the ram and then find the ones that are of a lower priority. For example, it could be an app that doesn't require very much performance, like the mail or calendar app or something simple like that, or it could be an app that you have open in the background, but you're, not really using it at that time.
The system then takes that app's, ram file and swaps it over to the actual SSD drive the same drive that you. Store all of your photos and files on this ultimately makes sure that there is always free high-speed ram ready to go in case, the system needs it so that it can maintain a consistent level of performance without any reliability issues. This is basically what everyone is referring to as SSD swap usage. Now here's, where the real problem comes in solid state drives or SSDs have a specific lifespan that is measured by the amount of data that is written to the drive. So the more data you write to it.
The. More wear on the SSD and the sooner that the SSD will eventually fail. For example, this Sabine m.2 SSD has a lifespan of around 380 terabytes written. So when you hit that point, the SSD may start to fail.
The whole issue with SSD swapping is that if your system is constantly writing data files onto the SSD instead of the ram like it should be doing. This will essentially add extra wear to the SSD and make it reach that end of life terabytes written level sooner than expected. Now, before you get mad. At apple for doing this doesn't, because basically every operating system does this, yes, windows does it and yes, Linux does it as well? Simply for the fact that it actually works and greatly helps the system maintain strong levels of performance without glitches or hiccups. In fact, colonel manager, Andrew Morton says that he runs his machines with full swap usage, because he wants to leave the dedicated memory for something useful instead of it being wasted on common apps.
So it basically points to SSD. Swap being a normal part of a functioning modern computer. But the story doesn't end there because this SSD swap issue only really came up when apple released their m1 max. So if you're wondering what's unique about the m1 chip, let me explain the new m1 chip uses a unified memory architecture, which greatly reduces latency between components, which helps improve performance. And I personally think it's a big part of why the m1 chip has been. So impressive recently we actually ran a ram stress test.
Comparing a m1 MacBook to a windows based intel laptop and found that the new unified memory in the m1 chip, did in fact, perform more efficiently than traditional ram. And we actually proved it by running multiple performance tests and showing how a Dell XPS laptop would throttle down performance while having the ram maxed out as much as we possibly could. And we found that the m1 MacBook barely took a hit in performance compared to the XPS. So yeah, the new unified memory architecture is definitely. One of the reasons why the m1 max have been performing so well and the engineers over at apple know this, so they need to make sure that you absolutely do not run out of dedicated unified memory. So that the performance stays quick and consistent to do that.
They swap some of the tasks that don't require high performance from the dedicated ram over to the SSD. And what people are worried about is if the m1 max swap out much more data than an intel based mac or any other computer out there. So now. That I've explained the whole SSD, swapping issue, let's, take a look at if this is something that you should actually be worried about, and I'll also get into a couple of possible solutions.
If you are worried, and it's, something that's holding you back from purchasing a m1 mac first off, I downloaded the free trial of DX drive and ran it on both of our m1 mac books. The same ones we've been testing ever since they were released back in November. And both of them have absolutely perfect SSDs with zero. Percent usage in terms of the lifespan, which is great news.
I then scoured through a bunch of forums on the internet, trying to figure out just how many people are having SSD lifespan issues with their m1 max. And to my surprise, almost everyone had SSD usage numbers between 0 and 1, which is nowhere near the numbers that other people were showing us. I then checked a few results that people posted on Reddit. But once again, most of them showed zero percent, SSD lifespan, usage.
So what in the world could. Be behind some people getting three percent usage or even 10 usage. Well, I did a bit of research and quite a few people think that this is actually a software bug either with macOS itself or with the smart monitoring tool that many people use to check their SSD usage. Others believe it could actually be a bug within specific apps that could be causing this issue like, for example, Dan Seifert posted some tweets showing that he had massive SSC swap usage on his intel-based mac.
He then found that it. Was a bug with a specific app hand mirror. And when he closed it, the huge amount of SSD, swapping stopped. So it could actually be some users having an issue with specific apps that were bugging out the SSD.
But then I dug a little deeper this time focusing on m1 max. And I found a Reddit post where someone found that Rosetta 2 was actually causing a high amount of swap usage on his m1 mac. This would actually make a lot of sense because Rosetta 2 is only found on m1, max, and it's used for.
Translating intel-based apps into Apple Silicon supporting apps. He basically said that there were two Chromium-based, intel apps WhatsApp and discord that were translated using Rosetta 2. And they were causing the high swap usage. He then uninstalled both apps and switched to using the web-based versions of them and bam.
The high SSD swapping went away. So he figured that it could be a bug with Rosetta 2, or the Chromium-based engines that aren't optimized yet for Apple Silicon. And then one user.
Commented on his post, saying that the 150 gigs of write per day that he was experiencing prior to uninstalling. Those apps actually wasn't too bad. Since it would take 14 years of usage at that rate for the SSD to fail, which is much longer than anyone would actually be keeping that m1 mac. So based on the very small amount of people who actually had high SSD lifespan, usage and the multiple pieces of evidence of software bugs causing this issue, I'm going to bet that this is completely software related. And there's a chance that apple can fix this with an update, or perhaps they already did. And we just don't know about it yet. So from the looks of things I would say that there really isn't anything to be worried about based on the very small number of people that were actually affected.
And on top of that, the tech report tested SSD lifespan and found that they last much longer than the ratings like a Samsung 840 series, SSD, which lasted over 800 terabytes written and an 840 pro, which was rated for. Up to 73 terabytes written, but apparently lasted over two data bytes written, which is over 2, 000 terabytes. So personally, I don't think anyone should be worried about this at all. But in the case that you are still worried, there are a couple of things that you can do to avoid this issue at all costs. If we take a look at the same brand, rocket SSD from earlier in this video, the larger storage models have much higher terabytes written ratings.
So if you're worried about your SSD wearing out one way. To help is to purchase a larger SSD for your m1 mac since they last longer. Another thing you can do is order a m1 mac with 16 gigabytes of ram since it should technically use less SSD, swapping due to the larger stored size one user on Reddit returned, his eight gigabyte m1 mac and switched it for a 16 gig, ram model and saw his swap usage go down significantly so that's, also a great option. And finally, there is a way to completely disable swap which you can find by googling. This article's title.
But I don't recommend it at all because honestly it's there for a reason and apple's engineers would have toned it down if it was actually a major issue like everyone's, making it out to be. So there you guys go, hopefully, you learned something new. And if you're now confident in buying a n1 mac I'm going to leave links in the description below to the best value. And when mac there is and definitely click the circle about to subscribe for more videos like this one, thanks for watching, and we'll see. You in the next video you.