Ars Technica reviews macOS 10.13 High Sierra: The Mac gets its strongest foundation ever

“If you’ve felt like the last few macOS releases have been a little light, High Sierra won’t change your mind,” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica. “That’s not because there’s nothing here but because most of Apple’s development work this time around went into under-the-hood additions and updates to foundational technologies. Changing filesystems, adding external graphics support, adding support for new image compression formats, and updating the graphics API to support VR are all important, and none of them are small tasks. But the UI doesn’t change, apps get only minor updates (when they get them at all), and multiple features continue to be more limited than their iOS counterparts. ”

“Updates like Mountain Lion and El Capitan have drawn comparisons to Snow Leopard for focusing on refinement rather than features, but High Sierra is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a ‘no new features’ update in years,” Cunningham writes. “High Sierra is so similar to Sierra in so many ways that it’s honestly pretty hard to tell them apart.”

“What’s here in High Sierra is fine. I just wish that there was more of it — or that what’s here felt even half as adventurous as what’s happening on the iPad,” Cunningham writes. “Has there been a year, ever, where iOS took a year off to focus on foundational technologies, leaving the rest of the UI and the vast majority of the apps mostly untouched? No. iOS 11 gets just as many foundational tweaks as High Sierra, but it also added things to most of the major first-party apps; completely rethought the iPad multitasking model; overhauled the Control Center, Notification Center, and lock screen; launched a whole new augmented reality platform; and swept away the last remnants of 32-bit support from the iOS codebase. iOS switched to APFS in a mid-year point update. The rate of change — largely beneficial change, not just change for change’s sake — doesn’t even compare.”

“High Sierra is by no means a bad update — at least, it won’t be after the bugs are ironed out and the features are finished — but it’s also invisible by design. High Sierra’s new filesystem and APIs provide the Mac with a stronger foundation than ever, and the slowly approaching death of 32-bit apps suggests that Apple wants to rip out some of the operating system’s legacy cruft,” Cunningham writes. “The stage has been set for a big, re-thought, flashy, forward-looking version of macOS. I hope we get it soon.

Reams more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, for those of you with Fusion drives in your Macs, APFS will arrive sooner than later in a 10.13.x update!

Happy updating, everyone!

Apple releases macOS High Sierra with Apple File System – September 25, 2017


  1. Comparing progress in desktop and mobile operating systems is a little apple (sorry) vs. orange. The entire mobile space is 10 years old. Desktops have been around, in their current form, since 1984. There’s just a lot more room for discovery and experimentation (and new features) in a younger ecosystem than an older one…

  2. I think I’ll pick up some external hard drives on the way home tonight. I’ll use the new HDs for APFS with the idea of transferring my existing HFS+ data onto the new drives in the APFS format. But I need to read up on APFS conversion before I upgrade. I want to understand the potential pitfalls before I do anything.

  3. Strongest foundation ever! Give my botvinnikous a break.
    On the very day of its release macOS High Sierra have been found to contain a vulnerability that may let unsigned apps steal Keychain logins in plaintext as per
    Synack research director Patrick Wardle.

    1. Botty, again you’re off the mark.

      1. The vulnerability was discovered less than a month ago and just wen public yesterday. Why? The guy was miffed that a. Apple won’t pay him for finding the bug and b. Apple didn’t halt the imminent release of High Sierra in order to include a fix of the bug he found. (“Don’t do as I want, and I’ll embarrass you. Don’t pay me, and I’ll embarrass you.”)

      2. The macOS gives the user multiple warnings about installing unsigned apps and running unsigned apps. If the user is too stupid (or lazy) to not run unsigned apps that they don’t 100% trust then they are too stupid (or lazy) to be protected. It’s not Apple’s job to fix stupid — even if that were theoretically possible.

      3. It is unclear what is really discovered. The bug finder claims his exploit can export plain text passwords and other plain text data from the keychain, but the vast majority of the data, including passwords, in keychain is encrypted. Is the bug finder claiming he can get keychain to decrypt the stuff in keychain without the user’s master password or any authorization by the user at all? He does not say. If this bug does not allow that exploit then it’s not really that big a deal. (Apple needs to fix it *ASAP*, but people should not panic over it.)

      3. The guy who found this bug is not your average, or even above average, bug hunter or attacker. He’s NSA trained and seems to be out for the money as he left the NSA to get a more lucrative job at a security for hire firm. As I said above, he’s ticked that Apple won’t pay him for finding the bug.

  4. I don’t mind the bulk of the updates being under the hood. I just wish they would work. Bluetooth does not work with a first generation Magic Mouse on my MacBook Pro (late 2011). Path Finder does not work. This last issue is not an Apple problem. I have a Fusion Drive so I cannot use APFS. All in all I am underwhelmed.

  5. My Macbook Pro just froze only by using Safari. Not a good. Could not click move or do anything. This never happened to me in Sierra. But it is a new OS and I can expect things like this to happen. That is why my production iMac is still in Sierra and I probably will not update it until Apple releases the Fusion Drive version of APFS.

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