Operating system updates can be an exciting time for users. There’s the potential to be more productive with new apps, interface enhancements that make your computer easier to use, and flashy new features that remind you how much of an impact technology can have on your life.

If you want to get caught up in the excitement of an OS update, you should read Jason Snell’s iOS 11 review. iOS 11 is where all the action is right now.

But waitagoshdarnminute, this is the macOS High Sierra review. You want to know all about Apple’s upgrade for the Mac. Well, you’ve come to the right place, but if you are expecting fireworks, you won’t find them here—though you might find them in High Sierra eventually. (I’ll explain later.)

With macOS High Sierra (version 10.13, if you’re keeping track), life on the Mac doesn’t change dramatically. It doesn’t have a lot of new features that will widen your eyes in excitement. But a lot of the changes are in the background and under the hood, and they lay a foundation for better things to come.

With that in mind, let’s address the main question right now: Should you upgrade to macOS High Sierra? Despite what I just said about better things to come, there are several new features you can take advantage of now, mostly in Apple Photos. (I’ll provide an overview of the new Photos, but there’s enough happening in the app to cover in a separate article.) Apple’s Notes and Mail apps get a few helpful tweaks, too. So there is something in High Sierra to get your virtual hands on.

But these are things you don’t need to get to right away. If you want to put off upgrading to High Sierra, that would be fine, you won’t miss much—though the main reason to upgrade now is because High Sierra includes security fixes. Other than that, these are changes in High Sierra that you’ll want to have sooner or later. Then you’ll finally get to see though fireworks—perhaps in virtual reality.

macOS High Sierra: Apple File System

APFS (Apple File System) is the key under-the-hood feature of macOS High Sierra. Computers needs a file system in order to manage your data, and until now, that file system was HFS+ (Hierarchical File System).


APFS is available when you format a drive in Disk Utility, but it’s currently only for SSDs.

APFS was created because HFS+ was outdated—it was created in 1985. Storage devices are much bigger now, and we create more files than ever (just take a look at your photo collection if you need proof). Developers have been aching for a new file system for a while, and Apple has finally answered their prayers.