macOS Can’t Repair the Disk: What to do Next?

macOS Can’t Repair the Disk

macOS Can’t Repair the Disk: What to do Next?

macOS is a powerful and user-friendly operating system that offers built-in troubleshooting. For example, if a disk on your Mac doesn’t work properly, then the Disk Utility is the destination. Disk Utility provides incredible troubleshooting for disk-related problems. However, there can be instances where Disk Utility can also fail.

And, you come across the message that reads, ‘macOS can’t repair the disk’. This warning must be annoying for you.

When do you need to repair the disk, hard drive, or SSD? If applications are closing without giving a hint or you are witnessing files become corrupt, then you have to repair the disk.

Additionally, there can be symptoms, such as whirring noise from your hard drive. If you are experiencing the same it’s time to repair the disk.

Otherwise, you can lose data forever. But, how should you do that when the Disk Utility refuses to repair the disk? Let’s find out.

Go for Disk Utility’s First Aid Again

You might come across a failure while running the Disk Utility for the first time after facing a disk issue. However, you might not get the warning ‘macOS can’t repair the Disk’ the next time. So, try again to run the First Aid feature under Disk Utility in the following way.

  1. Head towards Applications and launch the Disk Utility feature by clicking it twice.
  2. Select the View option followed by the Show All Devices option.
  3. A sidebar will appear and there are a few disks. Choose the disk or volume that you want to repair.
  4. Click the First Aid option.
  5. Go for the Run option followed by the Continue one.

If you notice that your system says that it fails to repair the disk, then back the disk up as soon as possible. On the other hand, try the next solution if the same error ‘macOS can’t repair the disk’ appears.

Use Single-User Mode or FSCK Command

Fortunately, you can still handle the disk error with Mac-driven innovations. You need to execute the FSCK command to eliminate the error. However, the process is different for internal and external drivers.

For Repairing External Disks

First, you have to restart your Mac device. Boot into Single User Mode. If you have an older Mac, then long-press the Command and S keys together as soon as the device starts up.

In case it’s a brand new M1 Mac, hold the Command and R keys altogether while the Mac is restarting. Now, you have to follow the rest of the steps:

  1. Go to Utilities and launch Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command: diskutil list. Now, press Return or Enter and it will show you every external drive on your Mac.
  3. Locate the hard drive’s identifier that you want to repair. Copy the information and proceed to the next step.
  4. Enter the command line: /sbin/fsck_file system -fy/dev/drive_identier. Put the definite drive identifier in the palace of drive_identifier. Hit the Enter key to initiate the disk repair.
  5. Once it completes, you can enter Reboot as a command in the Terminal and press Enter.

If it says that it fails to verify the drive, then you have to try something else.

For Repairing Internal Disks

If it’s an internal drive of your Mac, then the process is a little bit different. First, you have to enter the Single User Mode. If it’s an M1 Mac, then restart your Mac and long-press the Command and R keys when the device boots up.

For other Macs, you have to restart the device and hold the Command+S keys while booting. It will let you enter the Single User Mode. Enter the Terminal using Utilities and then, go through the following instructions:

  1. The system might run some automatic checks, meanwhile. Let it complete, and then you can proceed. Till then, you have to wait.
  2. Now, you can enter the following command: /sbin/fsck -fy. Hit the Enter or Return key.
  3. If you can’t see any faulty drives, then Disk Utility is capable of repairing the disk. Otherwise, an error would show up: ‘File system was modified’. Run the following command: /sbin/fsck -fy.
  4. Repeat it until it declares, ‘The volume appears to be OK’.
  5. After that, you can enter the ‘reboot’ command. Execute it with a press on the Return key and you will exit the Single User Mode.

Reformat the Disk

By the way, you can format only an external drive and save it from being corrupted. It’s compulsory to back up your disk or drive before you opt for this solution. Once formatted, you can’t restore your disk’s data unless you didn’t back it up.

On the other hand, you can save the disk from crashing by formatting it. Here’s what you need to do to format the erroneous disk:

  1. Start with selecting the Applications option.
  2. Go to Utilities and launch Disk Utility.
  3. Choose the hard drive that you want to format.
  4. Opt for the Erase option and tell your preferences such as the format of the storage, name, etc.
  5. Wait for the process to complete.

You can restore the disk’s content with the backup.

Enter macOS Recovery Mode for Disk Repair

You can initiate a startup disk repair using the macOS Recovery Mode. Every Mac device supports such a process and you can execute it with the following steps:

  1. Restart the Mac and enter Recovery mode. If you acquire an Intel Mac, then long-press the shortcut of Command and R while it’s restarting. Provide your Mac Password and you can enter Recovery mode.
  2. If it’s an M1 Mac, then hold the power button unless the ‘Loading startup options’ menu shows up. Once it does, select the mode and press the Return key.
  3. Select Disk Utility and then, First Aid to repair the disk.

This process is more effective as you execute it under recovery mode.

Important Note: Backup Using Time Machine

Mac offers the time Machine tool which is efficiently productive when it comes to backup. If your Mac displays ‘macOS can’t repair the disk’, back up the disk to avoid data loss.

Here’s how you can use Time Machine to back up the disk:

  1. Click the Apple icon and click System Preferences.
  2. Choose the Time Machine option.
  3. Select the disk that you want to back up.
  4. Check the box next to the Show Time Machine option in the menu bar.
  5. Select the Time Machine item from the menu bar.
  6. Finally, hit the Backup Now option.


You can prevent such situations by cleaning junk regularly, running maintenance scripts, and so on. If you face a problem with the ‘macOS can’t repair the disk’ error furthermore, contact MacBook Repair India.

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