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Apple named its next-generation version of the Mac operating system High Sierra because it's designed to improve macOS Sierra through several major under-the-hood updates. While most of what's in High Sierra isn't outwardly visible, there are some refinements to existing features and apps like Safari, Photos, Siri, FaceTime, and more.

We went hands-on with the High Sierra beta to give MacRumors readers a quick idea of what changes and improvements to expect when the software comes out this fall. Check out the video below to see what's new.


Some of the biggest app changes are in Photos, which has a persistent side bar, editing tools for Curves and Selective Color, new filters, options for editing Live Photos, new Memories categories, improved third-party app integration, and improvements to facial recognition, with the People album now synced across all of your devices.

Safari is gaining a new autoplay blocking feature for videos, Intelligent Tracking Prevention to protect your privacy, and options for customizing your browsing experience site-by-site, while Mail improvements mean your messages take up 35 percent less storage space.

Siri has a more natural voice, just like on iOS 11, and can answer more music-related queries. iCloud Drive file sharing has been added, and in High Sierra and iOS 11, all of your iMessage conversations are saved in iCloud, saving more storage space.

When installing High Sierra, it will convert to a new, more modern file system called Apple File System or APFS. APFS is safe, secure, and optimized for modern storage systems like solid-state drives. Features like native encryption, crash protection, and safe document saves are built in, plus it is ultra responsive and will bring performance enhancements to Mac.

APFS is accompanied by High Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC) which introduces much better video compression compared to H.264 without sacrificing quality. The other major under-the-hood update is Metal 2, which will bring smoother animations to macOS and will provide developers with tools to create incredible apps and games.

Metal 2 includes support for machine learning, external GPUs, and VR content creation, with Apple even providing an external GPU development kit for developers so they can get their apps ready for eGPU support that's coming to consumers this fall. Apple is also working with Valve, Unity, and Unreal to bring VR creation tools to the Mac.

macOS High Sierra will run on all Macs that are capable of running macOS Sierra. For a more detailed overview of what's included in the update, make sure to check out our macOS High Sierra roundup.

Article Link: What's New in macOS High Sierra: APFS, Metal 2, Photos Improvements, Safari Autoplay Blocking and More
 
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Markoth

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I wish APFS was a good enough replacement for ZFS, and I could go with something more integrated with the system for everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't come close. ZFS is still the best. Here's hoping for future improvements! :)

EDIT: Well, unless encryption is important enough to you to forego most of the ZFS feature set.
 
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Applestock

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I wish APFS was a good enough replacement for ZFS, and I could go with something more integrated with the system for everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't come close. ZFS is still the best. Here's hoping for future improvements! :)

Can you expand upon this? And if it is clearly better, why do you think Apple didn't adopt it after all? They were working on support for a long time.

Personally, I'm disappointed they aren't going for Microsoft's jugular with better built-in productivity tools.
 
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Wow that reads like it auto-converts HFS to APFS. I wonder how it does that? Create new APFS partition, copy from HFS to APFS, reformat HFS partition to APFS, delete partition to end up with one big APFS partition?

Similarly, I wonder about the relationship of this and Time Capsule? Does Time Capsule remain as is or would it be converted to APFS too?

Can external HFS drive be auto-updated to APFS using the same approach?

Lots of questions.

Edit: lots of people are pointing to this as answers: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/715/ Thanks to all.
 
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mudflap

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Wow that reads like it auto-converts HFS to APFS. I wonder how it does that? Create new APFS partition, copy from HFS to APFS, reformat HFS partition to APFS, delete partition to end up with one big APFS partition?

Similarly, I wonder about the relationship of this and Time Capsule? Does Time Capsule remain as is or would it be converted to APFS too?

Can external HFS drive be auto-updated to APFS using the same approach?

Lots of questions.

When you install High Sierra it asks you if you want to convert volume before you install. I installed it twice and the second time I chose to do so without conversion so I could try converting the install afterwards. I cloned my regular startup disk with about 200gb worth of apps and stuff on it, installed High Sierra to it, then converted it to APFS with Disk Utility. Conversion took a few minutes—super fast.

Best thing about APFS? Duplicating a 40GB video in literally 3 seconds. :)
 
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CarlJ

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Can you expand upon this? And if it is clearly better, why do you think Apple didn't adopt it after all? They were working on support for a long time.
I don't know if it's where the OP was going, but one of the things ZFS has that APFS noticeably doesn't, is baked-in error correction and/or checksumming. Having a background task in the kernel slowly (continually or periodically) reading through the entire filesystem and comparing blocks read off the disk with their associated checksums, is huge. If a block goes bad, you find out about it soon, rather than "uh oh", when you really need it. With a filesystem that uses "free" space to store spare copies of blocks, the kernel may be able to recover it on the fly, but even without redundancy, it can flag that the affected file needs to be reloaded from backup (you have those right?) before passing time increases the odds of the backup being overwritten, getting lost, etc. Some sort of systematic kernel-level data integrity checking is the one bit sorely missing from APFS.

(I recall stories of early ZFS builds actually unearthing long-standing 1-in-a-billion errors in device drivers, disk controllers and such - they were occasionally reading back blocks that didn't match the expected checksums, in cases where, say, a device driver managed to not write out an updated copy of a disk block because it got interrupted in an unexpected pattern.)

As to upgrade speeds, APFS was designed so that you can build all the metadata/overhead off in the free space on the disk, and simply point it at/into the existing file content of an HFS+ filesystem (I believe BTRFS has this same feature), and Craig Federighi said during the DaringFireball podcast from WWDC that during the iOS 10.1 and 10.2 upgrades, they actually "migrated" everyone's filesystems to APFS - that is, built the extra metadata/header blocks in the disk's free space - then ran filesystem checks on the result, and sent diagnostic reports back to Apple if anything was amiss, and then discarded the new blocks, leaving everyone with their unharmed HFS+ filesystems. This explains both why the upgrade is so fast, and why it went quite smoothly when iOS 10.3 rolled out.
 
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Defthand

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iCloud Drive file sharing has been added, and in High Sierra and iOS 11, all of your iMessage conversations are saved in iCloud, saving more storage space.

Can someone who is testing the beta, tell me if you can share iCloud files with someone outside of the Apple ecosystem? And will read and deleted iMessages finally sync across devices? This last one irks me to no end.
 
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Markoth

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Can you expand upon this? And if it is clearly better, why do you think Apple didn't adopt it after all? They were working on support for a long time.

Personally, I'm disappointed they aren't going for Microsoft's jugular with better built-in productivity tools.
ZFS has numerous features that APFS doesn't currently have, such as multiple compression methods (gzip, lz4, among others), the ability to clone snapshots into their own read/write volumes, deduplication which allows the filesystem to identify redundant data, and remove the copies (although most people can't use this feature due to its high RAM usage), the ability to send snapshots over a network, store them into a file, or basically whatever you want to do with them, and tons of other features that would take awhile to explain.

As to why Apple hasn't adopted it, they originally were going to. Due to licensing uncertainties from Sun's acquisition by Oracle, and a certain Not-Invented-Here syndrome, they ended up shelving the project. You can see it mentioned back on the old Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server page at the bottom: http://web.archive.org/web/20080721031014/http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/snowleopard/
The fruits of their labor have been salvaged by the o3x project which you can access here, if you're interested (although I've had stability problems with it, so I don't recommend it. I personally use ZFS inside a Linux VM): https://openzfsonosx.org
 
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Applestock

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Wow that reads like it auto-converts HFS to APFS. I wonder how it does that? Create new APFS partition, copy from HFS to APFS, reformat HFS partition to APFS, delete partition to end up with one big APFS partition?

Similarly, I wonder about the relationship of this and Time Capsule? Does Time Capsule remain as is or would it be converted to APFS too?

Can external HFS drive be auto-updated to APFS using the same approach?

Lots of questions.
Time Capsule doesn't currently work with APFS. I think it needs to be rewritten in order to do so. My guess is that rewriting time capsule to APFS will be relatively easy and will provide massive storage efficiency gains.
 
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nutmac

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I wish APFS was a good enough replacement for ZFS, and I could go with something more integrated with the system for everything. Unfortunately, it doesn't come close. ZFS is still the best.

Checksum on user data is frankly the only feature from ZFS that I want added on APFS. And considering APFS implements checksum on meta data, it's not unreasonable to expect user data checksum maybe added in the future?
 
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Markoth

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Checksum on user data is frankly the only feature from ZFS that I want added on APFS. And considering APFS implements checksum on meta data, it's not unreasonable to expect user data checksum maybe added in the future?
Trust me, there are more interesting features that APFS is missing besides checksums on user data (although, that's a big omission by Apple).

Although, it really depends on how you use APFS. I couldn't get by without the ability to clone snapshots (long story), so APFS is a no-go for me.
 
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Applestock

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ZFS has numerous features that APFS doesn't currently have, such as multiple compression methods (gzip, lz4, among others), the ability to clone snapshots into their own read/write volumes, deduplication which allows the filesystem to identify redundant data, and remove the copies (although most people can't use this feature due to its high RAM usage), the ability to send snapshots over a network, store them into a file, or basically whatever you want to do with them, and tons of other features that would take awhile to explain.

As to why Apple hasn't adopted it, they originally were going to. Due to licensing uncertainties from Sun's acquisition by Oracle, and a certain Not-Invented-Here syndrome, they ended up shelving the project. You can see it mentioned back on the old Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server page at the bottom: http://web.archive.org/web/20080721031014/http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/snowleopard/
The fruits of their labor have been salvaged by the o3x project which you can access here, if you're interested (although I've had stability problems with it, so I don't recommend it. I personally use ZFS inside a Linux VM): https://openzfsonosx.org
While I defer to your knowledge regarding the feature comparison, I wonder if there is merit to APFS having some sort of architectural advantage on modern systems due to it being developed more recently and therefore designed with SSD/flash drives specifically in mind. Or that could just be marketing fluff/only in comparison to HFS+.
 
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CarlJ

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Trust me, there are more interesting features that APFS is missing besides checksums on user data (although, that's a big omission by Apple).
I'd love to hear a list (I don't disbelieve you - I just am interested in filesystems and haven't read everything on APFS yet).
EDIT: ah, I see you've listed some since I last refreshed the page.
 
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pat500000

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So the new Mac Pro is basically going to be an external GPU expansion chassis with a modular head.
We dont know yet. It's probably referring to cmp 08-12. Hopefully, we can user upgrade the gpu.
[doublepost=1497653564][/doublepost]Let's get high, sierra. You're dope, sierra.
Next osx: meth sierra......gives you the speed of life performance.
 
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Markoth

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While I defer to your knowledge regarding the feature comparison, I wonder if there is merit to APFS having some sort of architectural advantage on modern systems due to it being developed more recently and therefore designed with SSD/flash drives specifically in mind. Or that could just be marketing fluff/only in comparison to HFS+.
There are some performance improvements that a filesystem can take advantage of if it's designed with SSDs in mind, but that's really about it. ZFS has shown to have great performance on SSDs, but performance has never been ZFS's primary concern, although it does have great performance anyway. Its primary purpose is data integrity, which it does well. APFS is definitely superior to HFS+ by a long shot, so I will have no complaints with replacing HFS+ with it, but it's not going to replace ZFS for me.
 
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