macOS Sierra Tidbits: Apple File System, RAID Support, and More

Apple yesterday announced macOS Sierra, the latest version of its Mac software platform and renamed successor to OS X El Capitan. The first beta was released to developers following yesterday's keynote, providing early adopters with a closer look at what's new.

Apple File System

Apple File System, or APFS, is a next-generation file system for Apple products based upon the iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS software platforms, ranging from the Apple Watch to a Mac Pro.

macOS-Sierra-Apple-File-System
APFS, which supports nearly all of the features of HFS+, is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals.

Apple has posted an Apple File System Guide on its Developer Portal with technical details and other documentation.

The file system is available in pre-release beta for Apple developers on macOS Sierra and is scheduled to ship in 2017.

RAID Support

RAID-Assistant-macOS-Sierra
Apple has reintroduced the ability to create and manage RAID volumes in Disk Utility on macOS Sierra, pleasing a number of Mac users who were left disappointed when the functionality disappeared in OS X El Capitan.

"Anywhere" Dropped From Gatekeeper

Apple has removed the Gatekeeper option to allow apps to be downloaded from "anywhere" by default in System Preferences > Security & Privacy, resulting in a warning dialog when you attempt to open an app from an unidentified developer. "Mac App Store" and "Mac App Store and identified developers" remain selectable.

Apps from unidentified developers can normally be opened by clicking the "Open Anyway" button in System Preferences > Security & Privacy, but the macOS Sierra release notes indicate that this button does not work in the first beta. A workaround solution is to hold down the Control key, click on an application, and choose "open."

Default Text Size in Notes

Notes-Default-Text-Size
Optimized Storage

macOS Sierra has a new optimized storage function that frees disk space on your Mac by automatically storing rarely used files in the cloud and keeping them available on demand. It can also help you find and remove old files you no longer use.

During its WWDC 2016 keynote, Apple briefly showed slides that indicate which types of files are stored or deleted.

iCloud-1
Old files that are backed up to iCloud include ePub books you've read, books in iBooks you've read, old screenshots, iTunes U courses you're not using, full-resolution photos, Mac App Store apps you're not using, old presentations, old PNGs and JPEGs, old RAW files, old text files, old word processing documents, old documents, languages you're not using, played iTunes podcasts, old home videos, fonts you're not using, old Mail attachments, old illustrations, movies in iTunes you've watched, dictionaries you're not using, viewed iTunes TV shows, iTunes songs you don't listen to, old clippings, old spreadsheets, and instructional system videos.

iCloud-2
Old files that can be found and removed include redundant Mail data, previous OS X installers, Apple Music playback caches, Safari web caches, cached iBooks animations, event logs, cached Map tiles, fault and error logs, iTunes inactive downloads, cached iBooks covers, trash after 30 days, Safari Web Cache, Configurator iOS files, Quick Look thumbnails, iTunes IPSW files, state dump logs, iBooks inactive downloads, archived Safari Reading List, persistent logs, Mac App Store inactive downloads, Xcode caches, old iPhone backups, Configurator inactive downloads, iTunes orphaned database temporary files, and TTL log files.

Siri Preferences

Siri
Share your own tidbits in our macOS Sierra: All The Little Things discussion thread.

Related Forum: macOS Sierra

Top Rated Comments

SeaFox Avatar
66 months ago
Hmmm, I assume there will be an easy way to disable these "optimized storage" functions. I don't want stuff being uploaded to the cloud and removed from local copy on the OS's whims really.

Also, regarding that new synchronized Documents, etc folders, not sure if that's gonna work without Apple beefing up the free iCloud storage -- and I mean at least four fold.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markoth Avatar
66 months ago
Is it strange that the most exciting thing for me up there is Apple File System? This is seriously going to help fix a ton of the more... questionable parts of OS X erm... excuse me: macOS. Time Machine should benefit tremendously from filesystem-provided snapshots. Exciting times. :)
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markoth Avatar
66 months ago
Can someone tell an average person like me the advantages of the new file system?? Thanks
Well, for one thing, your data should be a lot safer with this new filesystem. Also, the ability to clone files and directories will let you instantaneously make copies of files. Those copies will appear to be completely separate files, but thanks to this new filesystem, the copy won't take up any additional space until you actually make edits, and even then, the space taken should be roughly equal to the space of the edits you made, and not the entire file. This is a huge win for many workflows.

Snapshots will allow for time machine to operate much more efficiently. Assuming the snapshots work as they do on other filesystems, it will allow Time Machine to basically tell the filesystem to "remember the data as it is now", without taking any additional space until data is added or modified. This will be a much better way to implement snapshots than the current method..

Fast directory sizing will allow OS X to compute the size of the data in a folder MUCH faster! As many of us know, large folders can take OS X awhile to compute... Always been a pet peeve of mine. :)

There are other great additions, but these are the ones I thought I could explain simply. Hope I did a decent job... :)
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple-Guy Avatar
66 months ago
Euhm.. could you like, not touch my files and move them elsewhere? Okay? Thanks.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markoth Avatar
66 months ago
Time machine backups not supported.

Incompatible with fusion drives.

Incompatible with startup disks.

Files cannot be used with FileVault.

Case-sensitive only file names.

But wait! Nano-second time stamping, and it works with your Apple Watch!

Remember if you synced your iPhone to a Windows device, you'd have to erase everything to format for PC use? Is this what will happen with files created under APFS?

"Send over that session!"

"Sorry, Patrick. You have to buy a new Mac to open it!"
They're not allowing it to do a whole lot, simply due to the fact that this is a very early version, and the filesystem is a very fundamental part of an OS. Beta filesystems are never fun to use (especially as a boot partition), and I'm betting this is no exception. Apple is smart playing it safe, especially given the wave of users coming in July to the beta.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jacquesvw Avatar
66 months ago
.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
maxresdefault

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sideloading Apps Would 'Destroy the Security' of the iPhone

Wednesday June 16, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning participated in a virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, which is described as Europe's biggest startup and tech event. Cook was interviewed by Guillaume Lacroix, CEO and founder of Brut, a media company that creates short-form video content. Much of the discussion centered on privacy, as it often does in interviews that Cook participates in. He...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...