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How to Defrag Mac? Do You Need to Defrag a Mac?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

At some point, it is common that your system becomes slow. Whether you have the latest Mac system or an old one, experiencing performance issues are common. Most people know how to defrag the Windows system but the Mac File system isn't designed like Windows. Thus, if you feel like you need to defrag Mac, then you still have some other options.

Here, we will discuss in detail how you defrag a Mac and why do you need it. Along with the process, we will also look for some alternatives to defragging.

Part 1. Overview of Defragmenting Mac

Defragment is the process where scattered files from the storage are organized. It erases the gaps from the files and stores them as a single whole part in the same location. In simple words, defragging Mac hard drive moves everything in order and fills the holes which exist while using the files. Ultimately, defragmentation saves time to search and read the files thereby improving the performance of your system.

Do You Need to Defrag Mac?

In general, Mac doesn't need defragmentation. It is due to the fact that the Mac OS X version after 10.2 has a different file system than Windows. Apple uses the HFS+ format which has a special function of Hot File Adaptive Clustering. This function works merely to automatically prevent fragmentation in the drive in the first place. As a result, there is not much need to defrag MacBook manually.

It is rare but maybe at some point, you might need it. Once in a few years, you might have to defrag Mac during the update, upgrade, installation, or reinstallation of some software.

When to Defrag MacBook Pro?

The one and only exception when you surely need to defrag MacBook Pro is when the storage space is left only 10%. Once that much storage space is occupied, the Mac OS won't be able to perform automatic defragmentation. Thus, you will have to consider either removing extra and useless files or expanding the storage so that your Mac system performance won't decline.

So, either you have to go through defragmentation or remove some of the big files from your Mac.

Part 2. How to Defragment Mac?

This is a matter of concern as there is not a particular tool on the Mac system that can tell you how to defrag a MacBook. But you can rely on third-party tools for that if you want to. Here, we are providing you top-listed tools for defragmenting in case you need them.

Solution 1. MacKeeper:

This tool is specially designed so that the performance of your Mac system can be improved significantly. Even though it is popular for its cleaning features of removing unused and redundant files, it can also help to defrag Mac computer.

The performance improvement features make sure that the disk is fragmented to maximize the space. As a result, Mac works better. These tools also have other useful features like restore, undelete, backup, and remote tracking too in case your Mac gets stolen.


Solution 2. iDefrag:

For Mac OS defragment disk, you can rely on iDefrag to work efficiently. It is a useful tool to defrag and optimize your computer. You just have to reboot your computer and the software will provide you options to defrag the system. With this software, you will be able to defrag the whole drive easily. It can even perform selective defragmentation. Along with this, the software is simple, organized, and improved so you don't have to struggle to learn how to operate it.


Solution 3. DiskTools Pro:

One of the best tools that can tell you how to defrag MacBook Pro is DiskTools Pro. The software has three main features, i.e. defrag, backup, and repair. This software makes the repair and maintenance of the Mac system easy and fast. There is a bundle of tools for other tasks too which include creating a bootable disk, fixing bad sectors, test disk integrity, analyze drive capacity, and so much more.


There are lots of other tools too which can help you to defrag Mac as quickly as possible so you don't have to compromise with your work.

Part 3. Some Facts About Defragging Mac

If you are experiencing performance issues with your Mac and you are considering defragging Mac, then you should know a few facts about it. Here, we are giving you proper knowledge and facts to begin:

  1. Keep in mind that only hard drives require defragging. If your Mac has a Solid State Drive, then there is no need for defragging Mac.
  2. There is no need to defrag Mac regularly. The OS X already writes the small files in one batch so that you don't have to put in efforts for defragmentation.
  3. Hard drives work fast at the beginning of the drive and slow down as the data is written to the bottom. Data don't take up the available space and it creates several hols which causes a delay in booting or loading of programs.
  4. Over the years of using Mac, the system slows down with addition and reduction in data. And the OS X upgrades and normal operation makes the data less optimized. Therefore, the defragging Mac becomes important.
  5. The Mac OS gathers a group of small files dynamically and then combines them in a large space. The automatic process of writing files defragments the files in a proper manner.
  6. Mac's HFS+ File system makes sure that the recently freed file space is not used on the disk. Therefore, the system looks for the larger free area which is present on the drive. Thus, there is no room left to defrag apple Mac just so your files fit into the available space.
  7. Even when you open a file, the Mac system checks the storage to verify if the files are fragmented or not. In case it is, the OS automatically defrag Mac files.

Part 4. Alternative Way to Defrag Mac

If your Mac has performance issues, then instead of using defrag tools for Mac you can try out the alternative ways. Here are some methods that would optimize Mac and make sure that is works efficiently.

Method 1. Install Latest Updates of Your MacOS:

The latest update will provide stability, better performance, and security to your Mac. It will not only update the installed software but optimize the system to work in an improved way without a Mac defragging software.

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and tap on the Software Update option to check for updates.
  2. If the update is available, click on the Update Now option to install it. You can take a look at the specifics of the updates.


Once the software is fully updated, make sure that the applications are updated too.

Method 2. Clean Unnecessary and Big Files:

By deleting the files which are big and useless, you can improve the performance of your system. This way you don't have to worry about defragging Mac drive. Follow the steps below to delete extra files.

  1. Open the drive that you want to search and open the search window.
  2. Click on the "+" icon at the bottom of the Save button and customize the file size that you want to search. You can tell Mac to look for files using the "Greater Than" column to find the files which occupy the maximum space.


  3. Once the results are listed on the screen, you can select the files which you don't need. Right-click on the file to move it to trash or click on the Trash icon in the Dock. And make sure that you empty the trash too


Method 3. Boot Mac in Safe Mode:

Another way to eliminate the performance issue and avoiding defragmentation on Mac is by booting the system in Safe Mode. This way, no additional application will run automatically and it will erase the cache files too.

  1. Restart your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  2. You can release the Shift key when you see the login window. You might have to log in two times, once to unlock the startup disk and second to log in to the Finder.


Safe mode will erase the cache or directory issue as you start up and you'll have enough space left on your Mac. To exit the safe mode, you only have to restart Mac without pressing any additional key.

Part 5. More Tips to Speed Up Mac:

As you clean up the Mac, the need for Mac OS defrag will decrease and the system will start running smoothly. It is likely that your system will work fine now. But here are some additional tips that will speed up Mac:


So, now when anyone asks you can you defrag a Mac, you know that you can say yes. With every detail you have now, you can easily resolve performance issues with your Mac. And if somehow during cleanup or defragging Mac with third-party tools, the data gets deleted, then Recoverit Data Recovery can help you to retrieve the deleted files. Share the guide with your friends and family to let them know that there are easy ways of keeping up the Mac system.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

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