Like all tools, an SSD will wear out from use and eventually fail. Are there data on roughly how long the SSD's that Apple ships in it's portable line last?

From my research, it seems that the Toshiba OEM drive that comes on Apple MacBook Pros is much slower than the others on the market, but might this have an advantage in terms of longevity?

Basically, is Apple SSD durability longer than third party drives like Crucial, OWC, or others?

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    I think all SSD last longer than the computer itself last with general use. – Enrico Susatyo Dec 11 '12 at 6:52
  • Try downloading a program to test your SSD and see – cutrightjm Dec 11 '12 at 7:53
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    @Baumr SSDs are very complex and their speeds differ depending on whether the data is compressed or uncompressed and how much you write over what time and what sector sizes. So, I would not give too much about the benchmark chart. The perfomance largely depends on how you use the SSD. – gentmatt Dec 11 '12 at 15:46
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    @Baumr The latest Toshiba SSDs used by Apple use a Sandforce Controller which compresses the data before it is written to the disk. This will decrease the write activity. – gentmatt Dec 11 '12 at 15:48
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    You can watch for these signs as the Apple drives eventually start failing enough for people to get a feel for how reliable these are over time. Also - population failure statistics can help someone who manages 100s or more computers. For one user with one SSD - it's a bit of a crap shoot when your specific device will fail. Even if only 1/10 of 1% of the drives fail during three years of heavy use, yours could still last only 92 days despite the rest lasting far longer. – bmike Dec 11 '12 at 16:45

A simplified answer to SSD lifetime would be: SSD is a Semiconductor devices build to last minimum 10 Years. Some of us still have computers from year 2000 or even before, thus older than 14 years.

With that said, looking closer at the SSD, it is a flash memory type semiconductor device and could develop leaking currents (means the cells loose they charge (memory).

There is difference in life (quality) of SSD's depending on manufacturer (Intel, Samsung ect.). To my knowledge, Intel is still the front runner on quality = life time, but Samsung is chasing them. It is really difficult to say who is the best, but one can use the warranty as a guide. For example Samsung gives 5 Years on the 840 model. That means it will last minimum 7-10 years, otherwise they would be out of business replacing all dead SSD's.

Just to clarify, I am talking about the most common type of SSD (using the Single layer memory cells), the dual layer lasts even longer but it is much more expensive.

Apple, Crucial, OWC ect. do NOT make the actual memory chips. The buy them from Semiconductor manufacturer like Samsung or Intel ect. and make the SSD boards with they name on it.

However, do not panic, the drives have a self repair capability!

They do that by simply replacing the dead cells.

The problem is there is limited supply (reserve) of new cells.

One of the biggest life limiting factor is the amount of data stored. Let's say when the SSD is 90% full, it will become a problem soon, since the drive tries to rotate the cells to preserve/avoid memory leakage.

Second life factor is the daily usage (read/write). Again, do not panic, a "normal" user will never see that problem.

All in all the SSD should last you longer than your computer screen or keyboard!

SSD are sensitive to heat (as any Semiconductor device) and will loose life if operated at elevate environment temperatures, means they love cold environment. Does not mean you have to move to Alaska :).

Just to give you an idea. Why do you think Intel invented the so called "I" processors they call it Intelligent CPU. Great Marketing by the way. The actual reason is the CPU becomes too hot if it operates at 100% all the time. Same applies to the SSD chips, so keep them cool and do not overload your drive and it will last and last.

And!, try not to use to much of the SSD health test softwares. That just stresses you SSD unnecessary.

It would be the same if you would constantly go to a doctor to verify if you healthy and he would give you a xray scan each time, just to tell you you are fine (but to much xray exposure will kill you).

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    And yeah, but "Apple SSD" I meant those that come with Apple devices: "From my research, it seems that the Toshiba OEM drive that comes on Apple MacBook Pros" – Baumr Mar 20 '13 at 0:24
  • I would not be surprised to find Samsungs flash memory chips inside Toshibas SSD. – user44516 Mar 20 '13 at 0:31

According to http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review/10, at least the new Retina MacBook Pros are equipped with an OEM version of the Samsung 830 series SSDs. Therefore their lifetime ratings should be similar. Regarding the performance of a filled SSD drive, have a look at http://www.anandtech.com/show/4863/the-samsung-ssd-830-review/6.

  • Neither of those mention lifetime though? – Baumr Dec 11 '12 at 12:10
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    xtremesystems.org/forums/… for lifetime ratings on some (including the 830) SSDs, and techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/storage/… states 40 GB daily for 40 years. I doubt that Toshiba's will fare better just because they are slower. – MrMage Dec 11 '12 at 13:45
  • I've cleaned up some of the back and forth - Ask Different Chat and then editing is a nice way to refine an answer – bmike Jan 4 '13 at 21:11
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    Sorry to pipe in here, but I beg to differ. The life of SSD memory does depend on the speed of it. There are 2 modes the read and write. In read mode one just asks the cell are you High or Low. However to write one has to force the cell to change its state (HL or LH) and that is done applying higher Current/Voltage. To make that process faster one uses more I/V and that limits the life of a cell (overheating/leaking ect.) – user44516 Mar 20 '13 at 0:22

From personal experience my SSD in a 2012 MacBook Pro Retina just failed on me after 2 years. Luckily I opted for AppleCare as I have no chance to repair this particular model myself without spending nearly thousand dollars on parts.

My first SSD I ever used was an Intel SSD 2nd Gen which failed after four years. Warranty time was three years with the dealer.

Unlike traditional hard drives there were no signs it would die soon so it is even more important to have current backups.

I would say it is safe to assume that electronics are made to last just a bit longer than the warranty it comes with. No matter which company it sells.

  • To contrast this I'm writing this on a 2012 Macbook Air which has been used daily as my work machine as a front-end web dev and has only needed a replacement battery in 7 years of hard work. I was really scared of the SSD failing so I bought a replacement hard drive many years ago but have never needed it. The problem is replacing this laptop with the modern equivalent is the SSD is soldered onto the main board so is much less repairable. – Alex Aug 6 at 19:31

I arrived at this question hoping to find a definitive answer myself but it seems like there are so many factors which affect the answer of how long an SSD lasts - the answer is not simple.

Although I could not find information on the specific type of SSD used by Apple (in my Macbook Pro say), I was able to find some of the key factors.

Thought it would be useful to post here as a starting point to getting a fuller answer.


  1. NAND type used - from a Drivesavers YouTube invo video I gleaned this info

    The durability of SSD very much depends on what type of NAND Flash it has, i.e. SLC vs MLC vs EMLC vs TLC.

    He says that the newer version - TLC NAND - is being used in some Samsung consumer products and has a programme erase limit of 1-2k per cell (which is tiny compared to the old SLC 100k writes limits).

    However, Samsung are doing pro enterprise grade versions with EMLC NAND - giving 30k writes per cell.

    Most commonly, write limits of 2 - 3k per cell are quoted for 2D MLC flash. This was apparently the vast majority of flash type used in 2014.

    But not sure 100% that this type of NAND is used by Apple.

  2. Compression

    The more data written to the drive the more write cycles used up, so the amount of usage of the drive will also be determined partly by the effectiveness of the compression baked into the drive controller.

    There's an article discussing the improvement in lifespan which results from better compression on SSD drives particularly the Sandforce controller:

    From other research I can see that some, but not all, Macbook Air machines, for example, had Sandforce controllers.

  3. It also depends on the endurance architecture used by the designer

    "the longevity difference between "good enough" and the best endurance architecture schemes can still be 2x, 3x or 100x - even when using the same memory"

    So not totally answering the question but hopefully enabling getting closer to the answer, e.g. if we can get hold of a list of Apple models with their various SSD types and then take into account the above factors.

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