Apples new file system for macOS


Digging into the dev documentation for APFS, Apple’s new file system

Though the feature wasn’t mentioned in Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote, I’m most excited about the introduction of the Apple File System, or APFS. The preliminary version of the developer documentation is online now, and it looks like the new file system introduces a whole boat-load of solid features—including a few out of the ZFS playbook.

APFS looks to be a major update over Apple’s old and creaky HFS+ file system, which has been around in one form or another for decades. It has been the subject of expansions and additions over the years, but HFS+ never approached the extensibility and flexibility of current next-generation file systems. Rather than continuing to bolt stuff onto the old code, we now (finally!) get a new file system that has some truly compelling features.

First, the caveats

But before we get into the good stuff, let’s real quick talk about the bad stuff—or, at least, the “this is still in development so here’s what doesn’t quite work” stuff. Apple’s documentation notes that because APFS is still a developer preview, you cannot use an APFS volume as a startup disk. You also can’t use it as a Time Machine volume or part of a Fusion Drive configuration, nor can you use File Vault encryption on it.

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