Apple's Federighi promises APFS boot support for Mac Fusion Drives 'very soon'

Posted:
in macOS edited May 2018
Apple will have news on APFS for the Fusion Drives in Macs "very soon," according to the company's software engineering head, Craig Federighi.

iMac 2015 5K


Fusion Drives combine conventional hard disks with a limited amount of flash storage, offering some of the benefits of both without the cost of a full-fledged SSD. The APFS file system was introduced alongside macOS High Sierra last year, and is optimized for flash storage, but Apple quickly revealed that Fusion Drives wouldn't be converted or be able to be used as boot drives.

"We intend to address this question very soon," Federighi said in an email exchange with a MacRumors reader.

Federighi's email is the first time that anyone inside Apple has addressed the issue.

APFS was first launched in beta for storage drives only shortly after the 2016 WWDC. Apple started the migration to APFS in devices with iOS 10.3.

Since Fusion Drive compatibility is missing in the macOS 10.13.5 beta, the executive's comments likely mean that Apple will announce support during WWDC 2018, scheduled to kick off June 4. That in turn would probably imply inclusion with this fall's macOS 10.14, given that the company rarely uses WWDC to talk about interim software updates.

APFS has become de facto on every Apple platform with flash storage, including not just Macs but iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and even the Apple Watch. Support for Fusion drives was included with early versions of the High Sierra beta for some models of Apple's fusion drive, but was completely stripped out during the testing process.

The format is a modern replacement for for the decades-old HFS+, with better efficiency, resiliency, and encryption, as well as easier backups.
Alex1N
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    I am curious as to what Apple is fine tuning, anyone here know?  The Disk Utility (Version 17.0 (1606)) that came with the first developer beta of High Sierra did and still does format anything you want as APFS including FusionDrives, HDD and RAIDs.  I only played around with non essential drives and data obviously but never had a single problem.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,417administrator
    MacPro said:
    I am curious as to what Apple is fine tuning, anyone here know?  The Disk Utility (Version 17.0 (1606)) that came with the first developer beta of High Sierra did and still does format anything you want as APFS including FusionDrives, HDD and RAIDs.  I only played around with non essential drives and data obviously but never had a single problem.
    You can format anything APFS. You just can't use spinning metal as a boot drive.

    I've just clarified the language in the story a bit.
    edited May 2018 SolitoysandmeAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 24
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 432member
    This is good news.  My issues have been with DAS (direct access storage) units (such as the Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini) whereby a drive sometimes disconnecst and the only way to reconnect them is to unplug either the power or the Thunderbolt3 cable (thus affecting all of the drive units).  Neither Finder nor Disk Utility will allow reconnection via the operating system.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    chabigchabig Posts: 624member

    Apple's Federighi promises APFS boot support for Mac Fusion Drives 'very soon'

    This headline couldn't be more wrong. Federighi said, "We intend to address this question very soon". All it means is that Apple will answer the question. It doesn't mean the answer will be affirmative.
    edited May 2018 williamlondonbrian greenascii
  • Reply 5 of 24
    chabig said: This headline couldn't be more wrong. Federighi said, "We intend to address this question very soon". All it means is that Apple will answer the question. It doesn't mean the answer will be affirmative.
    From what I've heard, APFS for the Fusion Drive had some issues in beta but not to the degree where you would think Apple wouldn't resolve them. I tend to doubt that Federighi would have responded like that if it wasn't going to be affirmative. Why would you tease a negative? 
    williamlondontoysandmeAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 24
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,648member
    chabig said:

    Apple's Federighi promises APFS boot support for Mac Fusion Drives 'very soon'

    This headline couldn't be more wrong. Federighi said, "We intend to address this question very soon". All it means is that Apple will answer the question. It doesn't mean the answer will be affirmative.
    True, but we should read between the lines a little here. If they weren't going support it, why not just give an outright 'no'?

    In a different context we can read 'address' as 'resolve the issue favourably'.

    I would be more optimistic than pessimistic in this case and read that WWDC could be when we get some good news. Even better would be to get a decent Disk Utility back. I only seem to hear complaints about what has been stripped away over the years.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 24
    chabig said:

    Apple's Federighi promises APFS boot support for Mac Fusion Drives 'very soon'

    This headline couldn't be more wrong. Federighi said, "We intend to address this question very soon". All it means is that Apple will answer the question. It doesn't mean the answer will be affirmative.
    True, but realistically, he's not going to go out of his way to tease a disappointing announcement.
    SolitoysandmeAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    chabig said:
    This headline couldn't be more wrong. Federighi said, "We intend to address this question very soon". All it means is that Apple will answer the question. It doesn't mean the answer will be affirmative.
    I think the assumption the article and other posters are making is reasonable, but I also agree with you that promises is far too strong wrong word for this title given the known information.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    Perhaps the answer to the question is that Mac OS 11.14 no longer supports Macs with Fusion Drives. Problem solved! Can't innovate my ass.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 611member
    Apple Tech Update for Education last week basically said "ask again after WWDC" about spinning drives and APFS...
    Alex1N
  • Reply 11 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    MacPro said:
    I am curious as to what Apple is fine tuning, anyone here know?  The Disk Utility (Version 17.0 (1606)) that came with the first developer beta of High Sierra did and still does format anything you want as APFS including FusionDrives, HDD and RAIDs.  I only played around with non essential drives and data obviously but never had a single problem.
    You can format anything APFS. You just can't use spinning metal as a boot drive.

    I've just clarified the language in the story a bit.
    Ah, I get it.  That said, that particular version of Disk Utilities definitely has some differences from the release versions.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 12 of 24
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,037member
    I still haven't seen any decent testing of the 2017 1TB Fusion Drive model with 32GB NAND. 

    Is there any good long term testing of that out? Or the 2TB? 
  • Reply 13 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,823member
    jpellino said:
    Apple Tech Update for Education last week basically said "ask again after WWDC" about spinning drives and APFS...
    So I wonder if this will be a feature of macOS 10.14? Possibly later applied to macOS 10.13 in a later update?
  • Reply 14 of 24
    In my opinion, they simply don't care enough about pc's anymore to get it done right like they used to... "It just works"... Just promises. I can't run my business on a iPhone.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 24
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,037member
    I'm also wondering if the APFS encryption hit can be addressed and improve, or if that'll just take faster controllers (like the T2)




    https://malcont.net/2017/09/apfs-vs-hfs-benchmarks-on-2017-macbook-pro-with-macos-high-sierra/
    ascii
  • Reply 16 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,823member
    In my opinion, they simply don't care enough about pc's anymore to get it done right like they used to... "It just works"... Just promises. I can't run my business on a iPhone.
    Um what?
    fastasleepwilliamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 17 of 24
    All drives fail. At some point. 
    All spinning platter hard disks fail much more commonly. 
    If they offer this, there needs to be very detailed full drive testing first as part of the conversion process, and also require a valid within last 7 days time machine backup record. 
    Nothing wrong with APFS. But having the first 30-128GB of a CoreStorage volume on an SSD can hard hard drive failures for quite awhile, if the drive is slowing but error correction still allowing it to function. 
  • Reply 18 of 24
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 559member
    In my opinion, they simply don't care enough about pc's anymore to get it done right like they used to... "It just works"... Just promises. I can't run my business on a iPhone.
    It’s not exactly trivial to completely rewrite a file system, deploy it, and not have a catastrophe somewhere. I appreciate Apple taking its time to get it right. 
    fastasleepwilliamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 19 of 24
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,019member
    I’m more than a bit gun-shy about APFS with Fusion boot drives after experiencing massive problems with it in the first High Sierra beta. Couple this with the fact that it’s been nearly a year since Apple pulled support for Fusion from High Sierra. That’s an extremely long time to fix a high priority, high visibility bug, which makes me think they had to completely rearchitect the design. The real question is: are the performance and robust benefits of APFS over HFS+ on Fusion drives worth the risks? 
    toysandmeAlex1Navon b7
  • Reply 20 of 24
    mainyehcmainyehc Posts: 84member
    Seeing how WWDC and the macOS 10.14 announcement are right around the corner, as long as the new OS is compatible with the same machines as High Sierra I don't really mind if they skip APFS support for spinning/Fusion drives altogether in 10.13.x (if they do get to launch one or two point updates before 10.14, that is). If they only implement it in 10.14 and cut off support for my Late '09 iMac, I am gonna be PISSED.

    By the way, I've been seriously considering upgrading my Early '11 MBP to an SSD RAID 0, and maybe even selling my iMac and buying a second-hand 2011 model so I can do the same upgrade and both reuse my 32GB of memory (ever since I've upgraded my machine to a 2.93 GHz Core i7, it became compatible with the same, faster 1333 MHz modules the 2011 models come with) and get the dual SATA III 6Gbps channels…

    Supporting APFS and FileVault on such a setup would be even cooler than just supporting Fusion Drives; I guess having a boot partition on one SSD, a recovery partition on the other and a common RAID 0 made up of the larger partitions on both drives wouldn't be that different functionally from having a boot partition on an SSD, a recovery partition on a spinning drive and a CoreStorage logical volume spanning the remaining two partitions, so I see no technical reason why Apple wouldn't put in the effort to make it work. AFAIK, I believe it's already possible to get it to work, but you basically have to reformat the RAID and do a clean install of macOS with each point update, which defeats the whole purpose and any speed gains from that setup.

    Yeah, I know RAID 0 setups are inherently more fragile (then again, so are Fusion Drives, and a RAID 0 made up of SSDs is probably more durable than the former, especially on a laptop), but I already have Time Machine-, CCC- and cloud-based backups, so… no biggie. And I know that a SATA III SSD RAID 0 will never be as fast as the first-party, native PCI-X RAID-like thing Apple has going on the iMac Pro, but it will still smoke both of my Fusion Drives and breathe three or four more years of life into my machines for a very decent price.
    edited May 2018
Sign In or Register to comment.