APFS: What Apple’s new Apple File System means to you

“Among the tidbits Apple revealed to its developer audience at the recently completed Worldwide Developers Conference was a new file system for the whole range of its products,” Michael E. Cohen writes for TidBiTS.

“Dubbed “APFS” (an acronym that Apple doesn’t completely spell out even in its developer documentation), the file system is meant to replace HFS+, the file system that in turn replaced 1985’s HFS (Hierarchical File System) in 1998,” Cohen writes. “(HFS+ has received numerous updates since 1998, so don’t get the impression that it’s completely obsolete.) A developer preview of APFS is baked into the forthcoming macOS Sierra and Apple says APFS will become the default file system in all of its operating systems — macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS — by late 2017.”

“Changing the default file system for an operating system is a big deal, since the file system is responsible for keeping track of all of the data on the device,” Cohen writes. “But what does such a change mean for users?”

All of the APFS goodness explained in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s the “P” stand for?

Intern: Keg!

APFS: New Apple File System promises more speed, flexibility, reliability – June 17, 2016
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. So this means that you’ll be able to convert your old internal drive HFS+ drive over to the new APFS system. Will you able to do this with external HFS+ formatted drives? I’m just a bit confused with the explanation provided. Maybe it’s because the news is so recent that we just don’t have all the answers. Can anyone help me out with this?

    1. The ‘wish list’ is for APFS to work on all volumes, external or internal. But because it is limited at this point:

      – It cannot be used on a startup disk.
      – It is case sensitive and as such breaks a variety of macOS services.
      – It breaks Time Machine
      – It breaks Fusion Drives.
      – It breaks File Vault.

      Apple recommends testing it only on external drives.

      And again for good measure: APFS is NOT in macOS Sierra. It was only supplied as a preview WITH the developer preview of Sierra. I hope that’s clear and simple. I cannot fathom how people mess this up and use stupid terms like ‘baked into’. APFS isn’t ‘baked into’ anything at this point.

        1. No. What you get is merely ‘support’ for APFS in the Sierra developer preview. APFS is NOT ‘baked-into’ anything. If APFS was ‘baked in’ then Sierra would boot and run on top of APFS, which it CANNOT do at this point in the APFS project. The whole thing is a cock-up of semantics and this guy is not alone. I’ve rarely read any tech journalist get this right. The result is droves of misinformed readers.

          Again: NO. APFS will NOT be in Sierra. You will NOT be able to create or use APFS outside of the beat of Sierra. APFS is NOT finished. APFS has a wishlist of features that are not finished. APFS will ‘theoretically’ be finished and ready for use in the fall of 2017 and not before. ‘Baked-into’ continues to be incorrect. It’s only a preview, not a beta. Not even an alpha! There’s nothing to ‘bake-into’ Sierra.

          AND there’s now a backlash against the limited features of the APFS wishlist that may well make an impact at Apple we can hope:

          A ZFS developer’s analysis of the good and bad in Apple’s new APFS file system
          Encryption options are great, but Apple’s attitude on checksums is still funky.

    1. Absolutely right that’s all it means ie Apple. Just check out how many different things ‘afs’ stands for and It would be confusing. Hell it even stands for an existing file system so putting the p in was simply necessary for clarity.

  2. AP = APple

    A developer preview of APFS is baked into the forthcoming macOS Sierra

    NO! As an expert at bad syntax, let me correct the above sentence:

    A preview of APFS is provided with the Developer preview of the forthcoming macOS Sierra

    There is no ‘baking’. APFS is OPTIONAL for developers to TEST.

    Why the hell do people go into technology journalism if they can’t be bothered with FACTS. I’m especially miffed at Michael E. Cohen because he writes for beloved TidBiTS, which I support with $$ and I’ve known Adam Engst for decades! Get it right Michael!!!

    1. Proved myself: I used bad coding syntax above. Try this:

      A preview of APFS is provided with the Developer preview of the forthcoming macOS Sierra

      There is no ‘baking’. APFS is OPTIONAL for developers to TEST.

      Oh and ALMOST EVERYONE knows intuitively that AP = APple. I despise acronyms and I managed to figure it out. It’s not a problem. But no doubt it will be the worthless jabber point of the year. *yawn*

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