Should I run First Aid on my Mac?

Answered by John Hunt

Running First Aid on your Mac is a good idea if you suspect there may be disk errors. Disk errors can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as improper shutdowns, power outages, software glitches, or even physical damage to the disk. These errors can lead to unexpected behavior and performance issues on your Mac.

First Aid is a feature in Disk Utility, a built-in tool on macOS, that can check and repair disk errors. It can fix errors related to the formatting and directory structure of your Mac disk. By running First Aid, you can ensure the health and stability of your Mac’s storage system.

One of the most common symptoms of disk errors is slow performance. If you notice that your Mac is taking a long time to boot up or open applications, it could be a sign that there are errors on your disk. Running First Aid can help identify and fix these issues, potentially improving your Mac’s performance.

Another indication that you may need to run First Aid is if you encounter frequent system crashes or kernel panics. These can occur when the operating system encounters errors while accessing files on the disk. First Aid can help resolve these errors and prevent future crashes.

It’s also worth mentioning that disk errors can sometimes prevent your Mac from starting up completely. If you’re experiencing a startup issue or your Mac is stuck on the Apple logo, running First Aid might be a solution to get your Mac back up and running.

To run First Aid, follow these steps:

1. Open Disk Utility: You can find Disk Utility by going to “Applications” > “Utilities” folder. Alternatively, you can use Spotlight Search (Command + Space) and type “Disk Utility” to quickly access it.

2. Select your disk: In the left sidebar of Disk Utility, you’ll see a list of available disks. Select the disk that you want to run First Aid on. If you’re unsure which disk to select, you can usually identify your main startup disk by its name, such as “Macintosh HD” or “Macintosh SSD”.

3. Run First Aid: With your disk selected, click on the “First Aid” button at the top of the Disk Utility window. A new window will appear, showing the progress of the First Aid process. This process may take some time, depending on the size and condition of your disk.

During the First Aid process, Disk Utility will scan your disk for errors and repair any issues it finds. It’s important to note that running First Aid may require your Mac to restart, so make sure to save any unsaved work before proceeding.

In addition to running First Aid on your main disk, it’s also recommended to run it on any external drives or Time Machine backups that you suspect may have errors. This can help ensure the integrity of your data and prevent any potential data loss.

Running First Aid on your Mac is a proactive step to maintain the health and performance of your disk. By checking and repairing disk errors, you can prevent unexpected behavior, improve system performance, and potentially resolve startup issues. It’s a simple process that can be done using the built-in Disk Utility tool on macOS.