Pros and cons of APFS, Apple’s new file system

“APFS is a new file system that has been introduced by Apple. It has been around for about a year now,” Yevgeniy Kapishon writes for Apple Gazette. “If you are a new Mac owner or a new MacBookPro owner, you will notice that when you go into Disk Utility, your file system is no longer HFS+ but APFS.”\

APFS Pros:
1. Speed
2. Security
3. Less Corruption
4. Fewer Crashes

APFS Cons:
1. No Time Machine (see MDN Note below)
2. Not Supported By Older OS
3. No support for Fusion drives (see MDN Note below)
4. Data Recovery complications

“If you have a brand new Mac or MacBookPro, congratulations. The chances are that the ‘new’ APFS file system was installed into your machine by default,” Kapishon writes. “That’s not entirely a bad thing because if you are a Mac user who has no need for or doesn’t intend to use Time Machine or plan to work with older operating systems, for whatever the reason, you’ll be fine.”

Kapishon writes, “Now, if you would rather have access to Time Machine or you happen to have Macs with older operating systems you want to connect with your new one, the previous HFS+ file system would be a better fit for you.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s suppport document states, “You can back up from an HFS+ or APFS-formatted disk to an HFS+ disk; however, Time Machine can’t back up to an APFS-formatted disk. If you select a back up disk formatted as APFS, Time Machine offers to reformat it as HFS+.”

More info via Apple here.

In Mac OS Mojave, APFS supports Fusion Drives. More info about APFS on Fusion Drives here.

How to use one Mac as a Time Machine destination for another – December 12, 2018
Apple’s Craig Federighi: We’ll address APFS support for Fusion Drives ‘very soon’ – May 23, 2018


  1. While an APFS drive cannot act as a Time Machine storage device, you can definitely attach an HFS+ drive and backup to it from you APFS boot drive (or backup over the network to an HFS+ Time Machine drive).

  2. So, just double checking the SSD on my 2015 MBP, High Sierra, to see if it came APFS (it did on the main volume), and this is what I see:

    Capacity: 209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)
    File System: MS-DOS FAT32

    I can’t believe that Apple still has allows an EFI system partitioned as MS-DOS FAT32 as a staging area for firmware updates. I heard an echo from the 90s of a Windows machine bonging as it booted up, when I saw this.

    APFS running next to MS-DOS FAT32. Priceless…

  3. Add to the Cons list that there is no mandatory behind the scenes per-file or per-unit-differentiated symmetric encryption with keys kept in efficable storage. At some point, delete ought to actually mean immediately delete (regardless of storage medium) and slack space ought to never be a concern. The performance penalty would be minor but the benefit for user security huge. If Microsoft gets there first I’m going to be disappointed.

    1. It supports backups, just not Time Machine backups on APFS-formatted drives. Why? Because Time Machine uses hard links and APFS does not support hard links. Time Maachine is EOL and there are better ways to back up now.

  4. What a terribly inaccurate and misleading article. APFS is a big improvement over HFS+. Time Machine backups still work on systems with APFS startup volumes. Data recovery is different, not more complex. In fact, APFS introduces improved data recovery via snapshots. Multiple volumes on the same SSD or disk drive share space, which reduces waste. Fusion drives are supported. Etc.

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