macOS AppleFS

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Apple Propietary File System (APFS)

Apple File System (APFS) is a modern file system designed to supersede the Hierarchical File System Plus (HFS+). Its development was driven by the need for improved performance, security, and efficiency.

Some notable features of APFS include:

  1. Space Sharing: APFS allows multiple volumes to share the same underlying free storage on a single physical device. This enables more efficient space utilization as the volumes can dynamically grow and shrink without the need for manual resizing or repartitioning.

    1. This means, compared with traditional partitions in file disks, that in APFS different partitions (volumes) shares all the disk space, while a regular partition usually had a fixed size.

  2. Snapshots: APFS supports creating snapshots, which are read-only, point-in-time instances of the file system. Snapshots enable efficient backups and easy system rollbacks, as they consume minimal additional storage and can be quickly created or reverted.

  3. Clones: APFS can create file or directory clones that share the same storage as the original until either the clone or the original file is modified. This feature provides an efficient way to create copies of files or directories without duplicating the storage space.

  4. Encryption: APFS natively supports full-disk encryption as well as per-file and per-directory encryption, enhancing data security across different use cases.

  5. Crash Protection: APFS uses a copy-on-write metadata scheme that ensures file system consistency even in cases of sudden power loss or system crashes, reducing the risk of data corruption.

Overall, APFS offers a more modern, flexible, and efficient file system for Apple devices, with a focus on improved performance, reliability, and security.

diskutil list # Get overview of the APFS volumes

The Data volume is mounted in /System/Volumes/Data (you can check this with diskutil apfs list).

The list of firmlinks can be found in the /usr/share/firmlinks file.

cat /usr/share/firmlinks
/AppleInternal	AppleInternal
/Applications	Applications
/Library	Library

On the left, there is the directory path on the System volume, and on the right, the directory path where it maps on the Data volume. So, /library --> /system/Volumes/data/library

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