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How to repair a disk in macOS

macOS can crash like any other desktop operating system. The disk that macOS is installed on can likewise run into problems or macOS’ own files may be corrupted if you try and modify the system and it doesn’t go as planned.

If you’re having trouble accessing a disk on macOS, your system is in a kernel panic loop, or you’re unable to boot to the desktop because of a problem with the disk, it’s a good idea to repair it. The tools for repairing a disk are built into macOS so you generally do not need to install or download a third-party tool for the job.

Repair a disk in macOS

Disk errors can manifest in many ways and you may, or may not, have access to a functioning macOS desktop. Regardless, you can use the exact same tool to repair a disk. The only trick is knowing how to access it.

The tool we’re going to use is the Disk Utility.

Access Disk Utility from macOS desktop

To access the Disk Utility from the macOS desktop, follow these steps.

  1. Tap the Command + Spacebar keyboard shortcut to open Spotlight.
  2. Enter Disk Utility.
  3. Select and open the app of the same name.

Access Disk Utility from boot menu

If you cannot get to the macOS desktop, you will have to access the Disk Utility from the boot menu. 

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn the Mac On and tap and hold the Command+R keyboard shortcut.
  3. The Mac will boot into recovery.
  4. Select Disk Utility from the menu.

Repair disk in macOS

Now that you have the Disk Utility open, you can start repairing a disk. 

  1. In Disk Utility, open the View dropdown.
  2. Select Show all devices.
  3. From the column on the left, select a disk.
  4. Select its volume.
  5. Click the Repair or First Aid button at the top.

  1. Confirm you want to repair the volume.
  2. Once the volume has been prepared, repeat this for the container the volume is in.
  3. Once the container has been repaired, select the disk and then click the Repair or First Aid button.


The repair or first aid option will fix a disk fairly quickly though the time needed will also depend on the size of your disk (larger disks will take longer), and the type of disk it is (SSD or HDD). Of course, the Disk Utility app cannot fix everything. The repair may complete but the disk may still have errors on it. You may be able to repair problems with the OS files but again, there are no guarantees.

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