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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 months ago
Euhm.. could you like, not touch my files and move them elsewhere? Okay? Thanks.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 months ago
Just read the Apple File System Guide and I think it's the most exciting feature of the new macOS. Wonder why they didn't mention it in detail at WWDC, probably don't want the FBI to freak out again.

The new security features are very welcome.... I'll do anything to keep my pretty pictures private.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...