Apple, finally solved a problem inherent to the SSD of Macs with M1

Apple, finally solved a problem inherent to the SSD of Macs with M1


The researcher who discovered abnormal wear and tear of SSDs installed on Mac systems equipped with the new M1 SoC (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and MacMini) earlier this year said that Apple has finally solved the situation with the publication of macOS 11.4. In reality, the Cupertino company had never officially recognized the problem, so the company did not provide any information about it. Anyway, those who used to worry about their drives (which can only be replaced by changing the entire motherboard) can now upgrade to the new version of the operating system for added peace of mind.

In February, some owners of the latest Apple M1-based Macs found that the SSDs in their devices had experienced a higher-than-expected wear rate, at least based on SMART data tracking SSD lifespan. Several users reported 1% wear after a few months of use, while others reported 3% after just two months. Either way, this means that abnormal levels of wear could potentially shorten the life of the drives to a few years. Hector Martin, a researcher and developer involved in porting Linux to computers with Apple Silicon, focused on the problem and, by carrying out some additional investigations, showed that the durability ratings were proportional to the size of the SSDs. >
Apple has neither confirmed nor denied the bug. Additionally, an inside source unofficially reported to colleagues at AppleInsider that there were no problems with the SSD itself or its firmware, but there was a "data reporting error" within the SMART Monitoring Tools program used to detect the wear of SSDs.

Martin said this week that the situation has been resolved in macOS 11.4, which is now available for download. Regardless of whether initial reports of the problem were exaggerated or not (as many users have not been able to replicate it), updating their operating system is generally a good habit.

The new MacBook Air with M1 chip is available on Amazon with one-day shipping at a discounted price, don't miss it!

Apple TV’s New Siri Remote Goes From Very Bad To Very Best

The Siri Remote being sold with the latest Apple TV 4K is also sold separately, and it works with ... [+] Apple TV HD, too.


(Note: This story originally appeared in my Release Notes newsletter. Get the good stuff first by signing up. Release Notes drops each Tuesday morning.)

It’s hard to fathom the amount of loathing aimed at the original Siri Remote, a simple slab of dark glass and metal that was first introduced with the fourth-generation Apple TV in 2015. It used a clickable touchpad at the top of the remote for navigating the Apple TV’s onscreen icons, along with a minimal set of buttons. The bottom third was an empty space about the same size as the touchpad, causing users to pick up the remote and try to use it upside down.

I solved this problem by putting a case on it early on, and so never had the hatred for it that others felt.

For the 2017 Apple TV 4K, Apple kept the remote’s design, with a minor cosmetic tweak. But when the 4K model was updated this year, it came with a redesigned remote that is the star of the new version. The 2021 Apple TV 4K adds high-frame-rate HDR, the faster A12 Bionic processor and some other technical enhancements. But there are no other features as dramatically better as the new Siri Remote. 

And for current owners of Apple TVs, there’s great news: The new remote also works with the 2015 and 2017 models of Apple TV, and you can buy it for $59 – which I did. 

The new Siri Remote’s body is made of silvery aluminum, similar to the remotes that predated the 2015 version. It’s thicker, a little longer and heavier, and feels great in the hand. The touchpad at the top has been replaced by a click wheel in the style of the classic iPod, and the center button inside the wheel is still a clickable touchpad. The bottom third is still an unused expanse, but there’s no mistaking it for the top now. 

The new Siri Remote adds some buttons, replaces the touchpad with a clickwheel/touchpad combo.


Apple’s former design guru Jony Ive was notorious in his hatred for buttons, which probably helps explain the paucity of them on the previous Siri Remote. Two buttons have been added to the new remote: A power button at the top right, which can turn on and off the Apple TV, external speakers and the TV itself; and a mute button. A button previously marked “Menu” now has a simple back-arrow on it. And the Siri voice-command button has been moved to the right edge, which may seem like an odd placement to right-handed users but this leftie appreciates it. 

Everything about the remote is tuned properly. While the touchpad on the original Siri Remote was overly sensitive, making it sometimes difficult to hit the right icon on the screen, the new touchpad is more forgiving. The outside ring of the click wheel is also touch-sensitive, and you can make a circular motion along its edge to slew forward and back during video. 

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Early reviews that indicated there was no accelerometer were incorrect. The remote does indeed have one, but it’s for a very simple feature. After a period of inactivity, the Apple TV’s interface dims. When you pick up the remote, the Apple TV senses motion from its accelerometer and brightens the screen. What is missing is the gyroscope found in the original Siri Remote and was used for playing games. Apple now recommends gamers pair a proper Bluetooth controller to the Apple TV instead.

The only issue I’ve had with the remote is the mute button. A bug may prevent it from working with some soundbars connected to TVs via an optical link. This happens with my Samsung TV and LG soundbar, though the mute works fine when listening through Bluetooth headphones or a HomePod mini. I found another user with this issue, and I’ve reported it to Apple tech support. 

If you own the 2015 Apple TV (now sold as Apple TV HD) or the 2017 Apple TV 4K, you owe it to yourself to buy the new Siri Remote. In fact, unless you’re craving the improvements to HDR or better performance, this is all the owners of the older Apple TV 4K will need.