Since SSD of the new MacBook is impossible to replace I am a bit worried with this topic. Will running 2 VMs in Parallels reduce lifespan of 1Tb SSD to some noticeable margin? Is it justified to install VMs on external SSD or it is an overkill?

  • Are your VMs running all the time? What operating system in the VMs? What is the RAM of your MacBook and given to the VMs ?Have you measured the disk I/O of your particular VMs? How does it compare with the overall I/O of the MacBook? As it stands your question is almost unanswerable.
    – Gilby
    Nov 23, 2022 at 2:06
  • My usage case is Ubuntu and Windows 11, they run up to few hours each day, all together ram load is about 11.5 Gb, out of 16 installed. No swap used, don’t really know about disk I/O data. Nov 23, 2022 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


No, there's nothing specific about virtual machines in general that would reduce the lifespan of your SSD.

I.e. if you run the same program inside a virtual machine or outside a virtual machine, it generates about the same disk activity - and thus wears down the lifespan of your SSD just the same.

The only thing I can think of regarding virtual machines and SSD life span is to ensure that you haven't got some sort of "home made" backup system in place that copies around changed files on your SSD. If you use image backed virtual machines this could mean that an entire VM image is being copied when only a small portion of it has changed. A good backup system wouldn't do that - and even less good ones wouldn't do this as they would be storing the changed files on external media (i.e. in the cloud, on an external USB drive or similar) - and wouldn't be copying around the data on your local SSD.

All in all, there's absolutely nothing to worry about regarding SSD lifespan when using virtual machines for normal home, business or developer users.

  • Thanks a lot, that gives some confidence. I use Time Machine weekly back ups to a network shared drive, so, I guess that should be fine Nov 23, 2022 at 9:51
  • I've read that APFS backups operate at the block level, and can rewrite a small part of a larger file. eclecticlight.co/2021/03/07/…
    – benwiggy
    Nov 23, 2022 at 13:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .