Upgrading to APFS
September 25, 2017
Apple File System is a new, modern file system for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals.
APFS replaces HFS+, a file system that Apple has maintained for the last twenty years. iOS and watchOS have already been migrated to using APFS this year, and with High Sierra, Apple is migrating macOS as well.
For customers with flash storage, High Sierra will automatically migrate your storage from HFS+ to APFS. For customers with hard disk drives (HDDs) and Fusion drives, your systems won't be migrated. For more information, see Apple's Prepare for APFS in macOS High Sierra.
Compatibility with Retrospect 14.6, 15, and 15.1 for Mac
Retrospect 14.6 and 15 for Mac are certified for APFS but not Mojave. APFS is recognized as a valid volume type, and Retrospect is able to back up, restore, and copy the data. Retrospect supports restoring an HFS+ volume to an APFS volume and restoring an APFS volume to an HFS+ volume as long as there are no case-sensitivity issues with files in the same directory. HFS+ is case-insensitive by default, whereas APFS is case-sensitive by default. You can work around case-sensitivity restore problems by using "Copy to a new folder" mode. However, on Mojave, scanning will hang, so your backups will not complete.
As with every system update, we strongly recommend that you perform a backup before and after the upgrade, in case you encounter issues and need to roll back. Previous versions of Retrospect for Mac and Retrospect for Windows have limited support.
If you are upgrading to High Sierra, you should upgrade to the latest version of Retrospect to ensure full data protection.
Known Issue: Retrospect cannot perform a bootable restore or a bootable duplicate for an APFS destination volume. We are working with Apple to resolve this issue. This is due to a technical change from HFS+ to APFS, and we've seen the same issue with other data protection products.
Compatibility with Retrospect 10 for Mac through Retrospect 14.5 for Mac
Retrospect is able to install and backup/restore APFS volumes. These show up as SMBFS in the user interface. However, Retrospect Client for Mac is able to install but not run. You will need to upgrade to protect your APFS volume on any Mac client. Moreover, on Mojave, scanning will hang, so your backups will not complete.
Compatibility with Retrospect 9 for Mac
Retrospect for Mac will install on APFS, but licensing is not functional and prevents any operation. Retrospect Client for Mac also is able to install but does not run. You will need to upgrade to protect your APFS volume. Moreover, on Mojave, scanning will hang, so your backups will not complete.
Compatibility with Retrospect 8 for Windows through Retrospect 12.1 for Windows
Retrospect Client for Mac is able to install but not run. You will need to upgrade to protect your APFS volume on any Mac client. Moreover, your application data will not be protected on Mojave.
Brian Dunagan is COO at Retrospect, Inc. and has been with Retrospect for more than a decade.