Upgrade to Apple File System

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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I'm currently running Sierra on a late 2009 Mac Mini with an SSD. My backup drive is split between Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner. It's about time to get a new Mac Mini which will come with High Sierra or if I wait a while with Mohave. I won't be able to afford an upgrade to an SSD, sadly. So my first question is will either OS use AFS or is that only for hard drives that are SSDs. If AFS is used, will I have problems transferring all my documents etc from Time Machine which uses the old format? And also, can I upgrade the Time Machine partition to AFS without losing all my backup history? Many thanks.
 

MandiMac

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Feb 25, 2012
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I‘d wait until October 18 with your decision.

APFS will become available to HDDs and Fusion Drives as well with Mojave.

Maybe, just maybe Apple updates the Mac mini line this year so you get a lot more power.

And (I‘m not 100 % sure) I heard that Time Machine currently does not support APFS or its snapshot feature, thus I guess you won‘t have any problems if you‘d go for the old HFS format :)
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks for your reply. I was intending to wait until September to see if a new Mac Mini comes out and it wouldn't be much longer to wait for Mojave's release. I guess my questions will become clearer in the light of what happens in the Autumn.
 

MandiMac

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Feb 25, 2012
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Thanks for your reply. I was intending to wait until September to see if a new Mac Mini comes out and it wouldn't be much longer to wait for Mojave's release. I guess my questions will become clearer in the light of what happens in the Autumn.
Yes, if you can wait for Mojave this should become clearer. I wouldn‘t count out a redesigned Mini as well - with pure flash SSD inside, no fan (?) and a new body. Think like the MacBook Air back then, only in Mini form. One can dream :)
 

techwarrior

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Jul 30, 2009
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Currently, only internal SSD are supported for APFS, I have not seen whether Fusion drives will be supported (I would hope so). There are lots of documented issues with APFS on Time Machine drives, Apple recommends not doing it, so heed that advice.

A TM backup can be migrated to a new Mac, regardless of the new Mac's file system. You would not restore, but rather use Migration Assistant to import everything to the new Mac. The MA cares for the OS changes, so if settings or resources are stored in different locations, have different permissions, etc, the MA will sort that out for you. The file system format is not an issue, it is cared for in the software.
 

mikethebook

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Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks. That's helpful. I've never used Migration Assistant before. Can you choose what you want to import? I will be wanting to do a clean install of all apps and only import documents, photos, music etc.
 

treekram

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Nov 9, 2015
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Having both the Time Machine and CCC backup on the same disk is not the best backup strategy - I would split them into 2 HDD's.

You might want to pay a visit to the Mac Mini forum here on macrumors and ask about Mini configurations before you purchase (you are aware that the "new" Mac Mini is the 2014 model?). If you're finding an SSD expensive, it sounds like you are looking at the cheapest Mini, which with 4GB RAM, is not a good idea unless you're planning to use the Mini for some type of media/file server. Also, there are alternatives to the Apple SSD which are less expensive. 250GB SATA3 SSD's from Crucial or Samsung are about $70-$80. I wrote a thread there about using non-Apple SSD's in the PCIe slot which would be under $150 for a good-quality 250GB SSD and the required cables/adapters.
 

techwarrior

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Jul 30, 2009
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Thanks. That's helpful. I've never used Migration Assistant before. Can you choose what you want to import? I will be wanting to do a clean install of all apps and only import documents, photos, music etc.
Yup, check this out: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204350

Towards the end of the article you will see the "Select the Information to Transfer dialog", Apps, User(s), Other files and folders, Computer & Network Settings.

This has worked pretty seamlessly for me on several occasions. Most apps come over with entitlements (license) and logins. The only apps I usually have to sign in or re-configure are cloud apps like Box, DropBox, etc. But then, I exclude these folders from my backups to save space since the content sits on the cloud and my other computers. But, if most of your apps are from the App Store, not much point in migrating them as the MAS downloads will let you start fresh on those apps. Unfortunately, can't specify which apps to migrate, it is all or none. App settings are also in the Applications category, so if you have apps you have made a lot of settings changes that you don't want to lose, bring them all over, then remove any that you no longer want. Or, remove them on the old Mac, do a fresh backup, then import them into the new one.

Docs, Photos, Music will all be in the User data.

Computer & Network will restore all your custom settings, desktop backgrounds, screensavers, etc.

I believe you can start with User data and re-run it to bring over other data if you find you want or need other stuff. But, I would start a new TM backup for the new computer so if you decide a week or two later to import stuff, the old backup will still be available.

If you do a full migration, it can take several hours. I usually kick it off before going to bed at night and it is usually done by the AM.
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks techwarrior for your help. Good stuff for me to think on. If I decided to install all the apps myself to get rid of surplus rubbish left over from previous installs/uninstalls, can "restore" from the YM menu be still used where I want to bring over e.g. an isolated Applications Support folder or preferences file? Or I could download them from my CrashPlan backups.

Treekram, I wouldn't go for the 4GB 2014 Mac Mini. Ideally, if there is no new Mac Mini this year, I would wait for the basic 2014 Mini with an 8GB upgrade to appear in the refurbished listing. I'm using 8GB now and wouldn't drop below it, though I'm mainly using the computer for writing and browsing, nothing too demanding on the processor. I installed a Crucial SSD drive in my current computer but wouldn't attempt it with the 2014 Mac Minis. Using the PCIe slot sounds messy but I would be interested in reading your thread. Could you point me to it, please? $150 would probably translate to about the same in £s so that would add a lot to the price though and my budget is limited. Far more likely that I would run the Mini on its HDD until such time as I can afford to have an SSD installed professionally.

BTW what's the issue with TM and Carbon Copy Cloner sharing the same external drive? I've done that for years now without a problem.
 
Last edited:

techwarrior

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Jul 30, 2009
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Application Support is in the ~/Library directory, so application settings should be restored with the user stuff.

2014 Mini doesn't ship with PCIe connectors for SSD unless ordered with SSD or Fusion drives. You could swap a SATA3 SSD in place of the stock SATA3 HDD, the operation is not too difficult and step by step directions can be found on iFixit.
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks. I didn't want to transfer the ~/Library directory en-masse. By reinstalling all the apps I get to do a clean install and clear out any junk. It's only in a couple of apps that I would want to recover the settings I'm using now.

I've looked at the iFixit instructions for swapping the HDD for an SSD. I've done it on my Mac Mini 2009 successfully but the procedure looks much more daunting on the 2014 models. But maybe in time, once the guarantee has run out, I might be tempted to try.
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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A fair point. I have a third backup on Crash Plan but I will take your advice.
 

treekram

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Nov 9, 2015
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Treekram, I wouldn't go for the 4GB 2014 Mac Mini. Ideally, if there is no new Mac Mini this year, I would wait for the basic 2014 Mini with an 8GB upgrade to appear in the refurbished listing. I'm using 8GB now and wouldn't drop below it, though I'm mainly using the computer for writing and browsing, nothing too demanding on the processor. I installed a Crucial SSD drive in my current computer but wouldn't attempt it with the 2014 Mac Minis. Using the PCIe slot sounds messy but I would be interested in reading your thread. Could you point me to it, please? $150 would probably translate to about the same in £s so that would add a lot to the price though and my budget is limited. Far more likely that I would run the Mini on its HDD until such time as I can afford to have an SSD installed professionally.

BTW what's the issue with TM and Carbon Copy Cloner sharing the same external drive? I've done that for years now without a problem.
The thread on using standard PCIe NVMe SSD's in the 2014 Mini is at:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/using-a-standard-m-2-pcie-nvme-ssd-in-the-2014-mini.2118732/

In your situation, if you're not going to use the 2009 Mini anymore, you could put the Crucial SSD (presuming it's not a really old model) in an external USB enclosure and use it as the system disk for a 2014 Mini. When you're ready to make a decision, you can start a thread asking for advice on a configuration in the Mac Mini forum - usually they'll be multiple responses in a day or two.
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks for the thread. I was hoping to get some money back from the sale of my 2009 Mini but using the SSD as an external system disk in a USB 3 enclosure does sound like an interesting option. However, running it as an external disk, I wonder how its speed will compare with the HDD installed.
 

techwarrior

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Jul 30, 2009
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SSD on USB3 enclosure will be faster than internal HDD, but not as fast as internal SSD. I am sure you would find it acceptable for daily use.

I currently boot my '14 Mini off of a Thunderbolt2 connected SSHD. I have an identical Mini with HDD. I notice a very slight improvement on the SSHD system. An SSD would be even faster than SSHD, and USB3\TB2 speeds are fairly close.
 

mikethebook

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 30, 2010
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Thanks. That's good to know. I don't really want to go back to an HDD if I can help it.
 

KoolAid-Drink

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Sep 18, 2013
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I‘d wait until October 18 with your decision.

APFS will become available to HDDs and Fusion Drives as well with Mojave.

Maybe, just maybe Apple updates the Mac mini line this year so you get a lot more power.

And (I‘m not 100 % sure) I heard that Time Machine currently does not support APFS or its snapshot feature, thus I guess you won‘t have any problems if you‘d go for the old HFS format :)
October 18? Why that specific date?
 

MandiMac

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2012
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October 18? Why that specific date?
:D oh no, i meant October 2018, my bad! That time range because Macs usually received an update in that timeframe. ;)
[doublepost=1528483834][/doublepost]
Mandimac is the mighty Carnac and knows the GA release date for Mohave.
Not only that, October 18th is the day we finally see new iMacs!!!1

(...take that with a big grain of salt, mind you.)
 
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