APFS: New Apple File System promises more speed, flexibility, reliability

“File systems are absolutely critical and heavily used, and as a result they typically take years to harden. For Apple to write their own, they had to have a good reason,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet. “That reason is that they wanted a single FS to run on all their devices, ranging from the high-powered Mac Pro to the tiny Apple Watch. That’s good news for developers – iOS encryption, for example, isn’t the same as on macOS.”

“APFS was architected with built-in encryption from the start,” Harris writes. “APFS will become the default file system for all Apple devices next year. Apple will provide an in-place upgrade path: you won’t have to backup and restore yor data.”

Harris writes, “APFS looks to be a solid foundation for the Apple ecosystem for the next 20 years.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: APFS has obviously been a years-long project and looks very, very promising.

The feds’ll hate this: Apple’s new APFS file system ‘engineered with encryption as a primary feature’ – June 14, 2016
Buh-bye HFS+, hello APFS (Apple File System) for macOS! – June 14, 2016
Apple can do better than Sun’s ZFS – October 26, 2009
Apple discontinues ZFS project, turns attention to own next-gen file system – October 24, 2009
Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server’s ZFS goes MIA – June 9, 2009


  1. This is far more exciting than anything else I read coming out of WWDC. When we think of convergence of apps across Apple’s different OSs, this is absolutely fundamental. The groundwork is also there for eventual convergence of all the different OSs as well. From an ecosystem perspective, this puts Apple well ahead of its competitors.

    1. This would be the first impressive thing Apple has done since Tim Cook has assumed charge. However, I am still skeptical that APFS originated from the trite mind of Cook. He may have fanned the flames, but I doubt he was the spark.

  2. No on convergence if they change the file structure so that I can’t use as many as a dozen separate apps to produce web, with HTML5 motion graphics. Yes, it really does take that many apps if you are producing a fully functioning project.

    I realize there is not really anything out there that says that the individual file system will not be there, but I am very worried about an app based filing system.

    I hope we find out soon on that.

  3. I’m really hoping APFS will still be able to handle plenty of layers of subfolders. In the article, it says Apple is making APFS so it can have a single file system for Macs and iOS device, which sounds rather alarming as it might mean the end of subfolders on the Mac. If APFS can’t handle subfolders, I’ll stick with El Capitan.

    1. You have nothing to worry about.

      The only reason why iOS doesn’t allow subfolders is because it was a decision by Apple not to allow them in order to simplify (dumb down) the interface. The filesystem itself allows it even if there’s no direct user method for creating them (other than hacks/tweaks), and APFS most certainly allows it.

      To be clear, on iOS it’s the Springboard.app that doesn’t directly allow subfolders. The Springboard is what you’re interacting with on the Home screen and is the iOS equivalent of Finder.app on macOS.

      There are other apps for navigating the filesystem on both systems (including 3rd party apps).

      On iOS, there’s also iCloud Drive, which does allow nested subfolders, as so many other 3rd party apps on iOS (although they’re sandboxed).

      If you were to jailbreak your iOS device, you’d see iOS looks a lot like macOS, with lots and lots of nested subfolders to get lost in.

  4. The biggest news of WWDC, a major fundamental improvement that will roll on for years.

    I had read that Apple considered adopting ZFS years ago, but it appears they’ve made their own.

    I’ll forget most of what Apple introduced this year at Bill Graham, except APFS.

    Good for Apple and us.

  5. APFS: New Apple File System promises more speed, flexibility, reliability…

    … And Security.

    1) Immediate file backup.
    2) Two encryption choices.
    3) Ticked off government surveillance maniacs.

    APFS is obviously son-of their ZFS project that failed years back. Hopefully, they’ve got it sorted out this time.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.