Apple File System and Prosoft Engineering

Apple File System

Image showing the new APFS and Apple products in the background.

After many years, Apple has announced the final update to their new Apple File storage system, APFS (for Apple File System). This modern file system was released on March 27, 2017 for iOS 10.3, macOS 10.12.4 (beta testing), tvOS 10.2 and watchOS 3.2. Their design goal was to integrate the shared file system for all of their current products: the iPhone, iPad, Macs, Apple TV, and watches. This change will make one file system the standard for all of their products.

Apple is replacing the two decades old HFS+ (Hierarchical File System +) they built when a floppy disk was cutting edge technology. HFS+ valued having multiple drives that could handle large files. Apple over the years added on capabilities including data compression, logical volume encryption, and Windows compatibility. But age caught up to the file system, which was often criticized for missing core features.

The APFS switch is optimized for today’s flash and solid state storage drives. This modern update streamlines usage for quicker app loading and response times, beneficial for smaller devices like the iPad and iPhone. The APFS clones and transfers files quicker than the old HFS+. At an on-stage demonstration at WWDC 2016, Eric Tamura copied iTunes’s latest version instantly, while HFS+ needed an extra 17 seconds.

The other major advantage to the APFS transition is Apple’s focus on digital encryption. You have the option for zero, single, and full-disk encryption on your MacOS. For iOS, Apple offers single file encryption. Sensitive meta-data also has encryption options. These services offer multiple layers of encryption. The new APFS naturally supports encryption, making your information double dog safe. Encryption is necessary for today’s modern cloud-computing environment.

Prepare Your Computer for the Switch

Apple promises a smooth transition into the new file system. But every time a major Apple update comes around, Prosoft Engineering gets an influx of Data Rescue purchases. The shifting macOS update can compound an internal hard drive problem which manifests when updated. If you don’t have a recent working backup when your hard drive crashes, you will need Data Rescue to recover your information.

With our history of Data Recovery, Prosoft Engineering always stresses the importance of backing up your data before making any hard drive changes. Prosoft Engineering has an automated backup software called Data Backup, while Apple has their central backup mechanism, Time Machine. Prosoft’s Data Backup allows for more customizable backup options, including live cloning and version backups.

Many users don’t understand the need to backup their information before Apple updates. This is if anything goes wrong with the installation process, you will still have a working copy of your drive. This is critically important if you are testing Beta releases of new Apple updates.

Optimize and Double Check

We recommend optimizing and double checking your computer before you download the new Apple File System. There are a number of things you can do to be prepared. The tools in the newly released Drive Genius 5 can make your digital transition easier.

  1. Space: Make sure you have enough hard drive space for the new installer and system. MacOS Sierra, for example, was released in September of 2016 and requires 8.8 GB of storage space and 2GB of memory. If your hard drive is overfilled, Drive Genius can skim unneeded files from your hard drive with the Find Large Files and Find Duplicates features.

  2. Health: Before you transition to the new file system, you want to make sure your Mac computer’s hard drive is healthy. You can open up DiskUtility in Apple’s Utility (which was based on the code for Drive Genius) or Drive Genius can check the physical and logical consistency of your hard drive. If the automated DrivePulse finds a problem, you will be alerted to repair or fix permissions in your drive.

  3. Update: The applications and software on your computer will need to be updated. Go to the Apple Store and check for the latest updates for iTunes, Pages, etc. Third party softwares will also have to be updated. You have to manually update the software purchased outside of the Apple Store. You can rest assured, Drive Genius will be compatible with the new APFS, making that transition easier.

  4. Secure: Make sure to be connected to a secure internet source. The internet speed will be faster, and you won’t have to worry about suspicious activity coming from an open internet router.

  5. Model: You will need newer Mac models to run the latest operating systems. But don’t worry, every Mac computer that can run OS Sierra can update to the new file system. This goes back to the 2009 iMac. However, initial tests show that APFS can’t run on the iPhone 5.

Prosoft Engineering

During major OS switches, many individual softwares and companies either die out or update. That’s why Prosoft Engineering stresses that Drive Genius 5 is compatible with the new Apple File System. It signals our long-term loyalty to our software customers, and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible for you.

Using Drive Genius will help your computer during the APFS transition. If your hard drive is too full, Drive Genius can trim your files and folders down. Check out this blog Help! My startup disk is Full for more information. If there are hard drive errors, then Drive Genius will alert you to possible problems.

Apple has created the new APFS for the long haul. They built the Apple File system to handle large file cases with latency, while keeping the data encrypted and reliable. Though there are a few nitpicking flaws: you can’t transfer APFS formatted files backwards to a HFS+ Mac, and the new APFS can’t be used on Apple fusion drives. Otherwise, the APFS makes sense for Apple products and consumers. A single file sharing system will speed up Mac computers.

About the Author

Jeremy S.

My name is Jeremy, and I write for Prosoft Engineering. I am passionate about hard drive disaster prevention and recovery. In my free time, I like to read classic literature and explore the Bay Area.