How long do hard drives last?
A post on the company site of cloud backup service Backblaze discusses the life cycle of hard drives. (They are using about 25,000 hard drives at a time.)
They have found that about 5% of the hard drives fail in the first 18 months. They call this “infant mortality” and think it stems from factory defects.
If a drive makes it past 18 months, then it tends to work fine for another 18 months. Annual failure rate in this time frame is only 1.4%.
After 3 years, a drive starts to wear out from overuse. Then the annual failure rate goes up to 11.8%.
About 80% of their drives last 4 years.
Remember, Apple doesn’t manufacture the drives in their computers. Apple buys the drives from the same manufacturers that Backblaze does — Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba are the only companies making hard drives now.
So you could look at these statistics, and say, there’s an 80% chance that my new Mac will be fine for 4 years! I don’t need to back up! (But you will regret it!)
Or you could say, wow, 1 out of every 5 drives doesn’t even last 4 years. So there’s a pretty big chance that my drive will die before I’m ready to buy a new computer.
Conclusion: BACK UP. Make sure you are set up for redundant automatic and regular backups of your Mac. We recommend Time Machine for onsite backup and CrashPlan for cloud backup.
Chart is from the Blackblaze website.