A ground-up stor­age re­design

Up­com­ing tech­ni­cal changes with pos­i­tive ben­e­fits for you

Mac Format - - MAC OS SIERRA -

Ap­ple Fil­ing Sys­tem (APFS) is the new stor­age for­mat that all four of Ap­ple’s op­er­at­ing sys­tems will even­tu­ally use. While it won’t be in­cluded in Sierra when the full re­lease hap­pens, Ap­ple has pro­vided an early ver­sion to de­vel­op­ers to test; APFS sup­ports al­most all the same fea­tures as HFS+, the Mac’s file sys­tem since the late ’90s, but Ap­ple ex­plic­itly warns that disk util­i­ties will need to be up­dated for APFS. So, if you de­pend on any­thing of that na­ture to main­tain your stor­age, start bud­get­ing for an up­graded ver­sion.

The rea­son for APFS’s de­vel­op­ment stems from tech­ni­cal at­tributes of HFS+ that are a clue to its age; HFS+ comes from when mag­netic me­dia was the dom­i­nant type, whereas APFS will be op­ti­mised for flash stor­age that’s used in most Ap­ple de­vices to­day.

The nitty gritty

Ap­ple says that se­cu­rity and pri­vacy are fun­da­men­tal in APFS’s de­sign. A disk can be for­mat­ted ei­ther with­out en­cryp­tion, or us­ing a sin­gle key for the whole of it, or with a dif­fer­ent key for each file. APFS’s cloning fea­ture means du­pli­cates take up no ex­tra space un­til you change one ver­sion, at which point only mod­i­fied blocks are stored, rather than a copy of the whole file, which could save you a lot of space. Then there are snap­shots, which are read-only copies of files that en­able rolling back to an older ver­sion. APFS it­self doesn’t im­ple­ment RAID (a method of pool­ing phys­i­cal disks for bet­ter per­for­mance or re­dun­dancy), but Ap­ple says you can com­bine it with macOS’s soft­ware RAID im­ple­men­ta­tion. Also, where Disk Util­ity lost graph­i­cal RAID man­age­ment in El Cap­i­tan, Sierra brings it back. But, Ap­ple’s dep­re­cated the AFP pro­to­col used for net­work file shar­ing, so us­ing APFS on your NAS will need the drive to sup­port SMB or NFS.

Du­pli­cated files only use up ad­di­tional space for the parts you ac­tu­ally change

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