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Apple M1 Macs hit with concerning SSD bug — What you need to know

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple M1 MacBooks are blowing the doors off the competition in many regards earning them spots among our best laptops page despite being essentially first-generation products, but of course, some bugs are to be expected.

One such bug is proving quite a bit more concerning than previous examples, MacRumors has noted in its forums and on Twitter that a number of Apple M1 users are reporting excessive drive writes on their SSDs that could dramatically shorten the life of those drives.

While SSDs offer considerable advantages over hard drives, they aren't perfect. There is a limit to how many times that they can be written to before they become unstable. The software is meant to reduce this wear as much as possible, but over time all SSDs will reach their write limit and the likelihood of failure increases considerably.

These Apple M1 MacBooks are dramatically accelerating the rate at which the SSDs will become unstable with some users reporting up to 10% of the SSDs lifespan having been used in just two months. The expected lifespan for an SSD can vary, but somewhere between 10 and 12 years is the general estimate, so this would be coming in at less than 20% of that.

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What you need to know

It's unclear how widespread of an issue this is at present. While there are numerous reports online without Apple weighing in there are no hard figures to indicate what percentage of users are experiencing difficulties. It's also unclear if the SSDs are actually wearing down at this rate or if the software itself is registering the use improperly. More isolated reports of recent SSD issues on Intel-based Macs have come in as well, which is muddying the waters a bit on identifying the source of the issue. 

Unfortunately, there is no way for you to address this issue yourself. If the problem is software-based, which is certainly the expectation, then Apple will hopefully address it with an update to macOS Big Sur in short order. 

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.