As noted by Hector Martin and others, MacOS 11 appeared to have a possible kernel bug causing excessive SSD write wear whenever the SSD was in the “on” state. One can use “smartmontools” to check SSD write history:
brew install smartmontools smartctl --all /dev/disk0
People with an M1 mac, please run `brew install smartmontools && sudo smartctl --all /dev/disk0` and report back (and what kind of usage you make of the machine, especially RAM).— Hector Martin (@marcan42) February 15, 2021
I'm at <600GBW on my MBP, but I don't use it heavily. https://t.co/LbhE9p7FiK
Note that SSD on state time can be much less than Mac powered-on time, particularly if the Mac is sitting idle. This is especially the case for the Mac Mini, which may sit powered on but unused for the majority of the time by some users.
Thankfully as noted by Jonas Ribe, Hector Martin and others, MacOS 11.4 appears to have fixed this SSD write bug:
After a week with macOS 11.4 it seems clear that the SSD thrashing issue has *finally* been resolved on my M1 MBA and I can stop running smartctl on a regular basis😅 https://t.co/X0QwI6FK2z pic.twitter.com/ncbCK66TkP— Jonas M. Ribe (@jonas_ribe) May 31, 2021
Thankfully we haven’t see the 100+ TB of excess SSD wear pre-11.4 as Jonas did. We saw less than 5TB of excess wear on each of our mostly idle, continuously powered on Mac Minis.
Again, tentatively this problem is resolved by MacOS 11.4.