While the iPhone itself might only be 10 years old, the file system it uses is three times that old. Because of the age of the HFS+ file system, it isn’t advanced enough or robust enough to take full advantage of all of the storage technologies we have available today. Because of this, Apple has been working on a new file system, dubbed APFS. APFS is going to arrive with iOS 10.3, expected to release any day now. So, what will APFS do to your beloved iOS device? Let’s take a look at what you need to know about APFS.
Why APFS, or Any New File System at All
Apple File System, otherwise known as APFS, was conceived and designed for today’s storage technology. The same can’t be said for HFS+, since flash memory wasn’t exactly commonplace thirty years ago. Apple holds the belief that its devices will benefit from a new file system that takes full advantage of newer storage technologies, as well as built-in encryption. Yes, HFS+ can handle encryption, but that support is done through extensions and other add-ons; it’s not native to the file system.
Which Devices Will Support APFS?
This next-generation file system has been designed to scale from an Apple Watch to a Mac Pro. That means Apple File System will be used in iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. You’ll start seeing APFS used on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and all Mac computers.
What Will I Notice Once My iPhone is Using APFS?
For the most part, you probably won’t even notice that your iPhone is using the new file system instead of HFS+. An obvious difference you may see is in how storage capacity is calculated on your iPhone or iPad. It may suddenly seem like your iOS device has more storage capacity than it had before. This is solely because of how the new file system determines available and used data, and won’t be a huge difference.
What you may notice is your iOS device moving and copying files much more quickly than it did before. Apple File System is much more efficient at optimizing space and transferring data. The new file system is also more capable of taking advantage of the full potential of the flash storage used in your iPhone or iPad. This should mean that installing large app updates on an iOS device takes less time.
Is There Anything I Should Do to Prepare for APFS?
When iOS 10.3 is released and you install the update, your iOS device will be automatically migrated to the APFS file system. Everything should go smoothly, but it would definitely be a good idea to backup your iPhone or iPad before installing the update. While you can do an iCloud backup, it would be far safer to back up your iOS device using iTunes or iMazing, instead.