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#43512 - 01/27/17 12:56 PM APFS has arrived
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
A major topic at the 2016 WWDC was Apple's new APFS file system that is optimized for Flash/SSD storage, and engineered with encryption as a primary feature, uses a "unique copy-on-write design" with I/O coalescing, meant to optimize performance while staying reliable along with a other security and reliability features, and is scalable from the Apple Watch to the MacPro. Since the initial buzz there has been little mention of it from Apple or anywhere else for that matter. That is until this week when it was revealed the iOS 10.3 beta automatically and without notice, other than a routine warning to backup before installing, converts the file system on iOS devices to APFS when it is installed.

I am running the iOS 10.3 beta, but since the file system on iOS devices is almost totally invisible to the user (I don't know where to look to see what file system is in use on an iOS device) the changeover is unremarkable other than perhaps the upgrade taking a bit longer to complete.

My questions are…
  • when will APFS appear in MacOS? Will it be in an update to MacOS 10.12 or toward the end of the year in MacOS 10.13?
  • I assume (yeah, yeah I know what happens when you assume) there will still be support for AFS, but will APFS work on rotating rust drives?
  • What will APFS do to volume repair and maintenance utilities such as Diskwarrior, Drive Genius, and TechTool Pro or maybe a better question is how will they respond to such a major change in volume architecture and data storage?
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#43513 - 01/27/17 06:31 PM Re: APFS has arrived [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
APFS does work with spinning rust, and no existing disk repair and maintenance utilities will work with it; they will all have to be rewritten. That much is known.

The rest? It's anyone's guess. A limited version of APFS ships with macOS Sierra (you can format a drive APFS, but it is not a feature-complete implementation of APFS), so it's completely unknown how long it will be before it's rolled out for real in macOS. I would guess probably not the version after Sierra, but maybe the version after that.
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#43530 - 01/30/17 05:25 AM Re: APFS has arrived [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: tacit
APFS does work with spinning rust, and no existing disk repair and maintenance utilities will work with it; they will all have to be rewritten. That much is known.

The rest? It's anyone's guess. A limited version of APFS ships with macOS Sierra (you can format a drive APFS, but it is not a feature-complete implementation of APFS), so it's completely unknown how long it will be before it's rolled out for real in macOS. I would guess probably not the version after Sierra, but maybe the version after that.

I find it surprising that they'd roll it out live to iOS prior to Mac OS...
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#43532 - 01/30/17 07:38 AM Re: APFS has arrived [Re: Virtual1]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I find it surprising that they'd roll it out live to iOS prior to Mac OS...

I am not surprised because...
  • There are millions more iPhones and iPads than Macs
  • IOS devices make Apple a LOT more money than MacOS devices do
  • Apple is really anal about iOS data security and strong data encryption is built in to APFS not added on
  • Even without encryption data in APFS is intentionally scattered throughout the storage media rather than being organized into consecutive data sectors so even without encryption, reassembling the files coherently is fiendishly difficult
  • Because it is designed for solid state media APFS will likely improve storage I/O on iOS devices
  • There is less user interaction with storage in iOS than there is in MacOS which allows developers to focus more on low level functions and inteface without having to deal with UI
  • The App Store only source of apps allows Apple to enforce standards requiiring developers to access storage only through specific APIs while on MacOS developers can and some do access low level APIs directlly to get performance enhancements. Apple will likely be working to prevent this in APFS for safety and securitgy reasons
I am loathe to argue with Tacit because of his technical expertise, but I will be surprised if APFS isn't pretty much fully implemented in MacOS 10.13 if for no other reason than Apple works hard to keep MacOS, iOS, TVOS, and WatchOS pretty much in synch. Certainly in the past year the MacOS and iOS beta releases have been simultaneous.

FWIW: I have the iOS 10.3 beta installed on both my iPhone and iPad and as a practical matter the only way I know they have been converted to APFS is by reading articles in MacRumors and 9to5 Mac. But then I am not trying to break into the files on either device.
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