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I have a number of NVMe M.2 drives which I connect to my MacBook Pro using a Yottamaster USB enclosure. However, when I try to view SMART data for any of these drives, I'm met with a generic error:

$ smartctl -a disk18

smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [Darwin 20.4.0 x86_64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

identify failed: 0
Read Device Identity failed: Unknown error

A mandatory SMART command failed: exiting. To continue, add one or more '-T permissive' options.

So I try the permissive option, as they suggest:

$ smartctl -a -T permissive disk18

Again, I get an unhelpful error:

smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [Darwin 20.4.0 x86_64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

identify failed: 0
Read Device Identity failed: Unknown error

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     [No Information Found]
Serial Number:    [No Information Found]
Firmware Version: [No Information Found]
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   [No Information Found]
Local Time is:    Fri May 14 15:21:33 2021 EDT
SMART support is: Ambiguous - ATA IDENTIFY DEVICE words 82-83 don't show if SMART supported.
SMART support is: Ambiguous - ATA IDENTIFY DEVICE words 85-87 don't show if SMART is enabled.
A mandatory SMART command failed: exiting. To continue, add one or more '-T permissive' options.

What might I be missing? I'm quite sure that these modern NVMe drives support SMART monitoring. I formatted them to APFS and exFAT before using, but they still show these errors. I have not found any documentation online to deal with these errors.

In contrast, I can view the SMART data of any of my SATA SSDs and HDDs.

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  • Do you know that your Yottamaster enclosure supports SMART?
    – Gilby
    May 14, 2021 at 23:53
  • I am not sure about that. Does the enclosure need to support it? I thought that it was a property of the drive itself, not the enclosure.
    – Oion Akif
    May 16, 2021 at 0:10

1 Answer 1

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You can try using this command instead:

smartctl -a -T verypermissive disk18

This will ask smartctl to ignore even more quirks.

Note that this effectively just ignores the fact that the drive is not responding properly to SMART commands that it ought to handle. If you can retrieve some information from the drive using this option, you're lucky - but there's going to be stuff missing from the reports.

Note that it might well be that your drive supports these commands, but the USB-enclosure you're using does not support passing them through. It is always easier to work with something directly connected rather than having it go through a USB-bridge.

If you have a different enclosure, I would try that as a test first.

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  • Thanks for this—it didn't work which leads me to believe that it's not supported by the enclosure, which I didn't know was a thing
    – Oion Akif
    May 16, 2021 at 0:12

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