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Apple rolls out its new file system in iOS 10.3 beta

Apple has decided to test out device migration to the Apple File System (APFS) in a beta release of iOS 10.3 which marks the beginning of Apple’s move from HFS+ to APFS. Ultimately, it plans to move Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches over to the new file system eventually.

Devices which upgrade to iOS 10.3 will have their file systems automatically converted to APFS and the limited interaction the user has with the file system on such gadgets (iPhones, iPads, etc) means Apple can roll out the file system in a controlled manner.

Apple’s changelog, regarding APFS, reads:

“When you update to iOS 10.3, your iOS device will update its file system to Apple File System (APFS). This conversion preserves existing data on your device. However, as with any software update, it is recommended that you create a backup of your device before updating.”

APFS is intended to address issues with the aging HFS+ file system, is optimized for flash and solid-state drive storage, and features a copy-on-write design which provides improved performance. Other prominent features include:

  • Clones – Clones allow the OS to make fast, power-efficient file copies on the same volume without occupying additional storage space.
  • Snapshots – Snapshots are point-in-time, read-only instances of the file system.
  • Encryption – APFS features disk encryption for files and sensitive metadata.
  • Data integrity – APFS uses checksums to ensure data integrity for metadata, but not user data.

On macOS, APFS can be used with limitations and is still considered experimental. We may hear more at Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC where it will announce the next version of macOS.

Source: Ars Technica

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