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
69 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
69 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
69 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
69 months ago
Euhm.. could you like, not touch my files and move them elsewhere? Okay? Thanks.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markoth Avatar
69 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
69 months ago
.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...