Apple WWDC 2016 Recap -- HFS+ Is No More!

Published: June 14, 2016 1:05 AM /



Apple gave the keynote presentation for the 2016 Worldwide Developer Conference today, announcing several key changes to their software.

Notably, Mac OS X is no more. The Mac operating system will use the moniker of macOS, and the upcoming version is named Sierra, after the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and Nevada. It is unknown if the version number will continue from OS X, which would make Sierra 10.12, or if it will be a new 1.0 release.


Most exciting is that Apple will no longer be using HFS+ for the filesystem. HFS+ is an extension of the older HFS filesystem Apple developed in the 1980’s. Instead, Apple File System (APFS) will be a new feature in Sierra. APFS is the first new filesystem in decades, and HFS+ had been a sore point for many power users of Mac OS X in the past. Linus Torvalds, the author of the Linux kernel, went as far as to call it “probably the worst file-system ever”, and that it was “actively designed to be a bad filesystem by people who thought they had good ideas”

APFS brings native case-sensitivity, nanosecond level timestamps, TRIM, and native encryption. Apple’s current encryption method known as FileVault does not natively run on HFS+, but with APFS, there are options for no encryption, single key encryption, and multi-key encryption.

Sierra will also improve the connectivity between macOS and iOS devices. Similar to Google’s Smart Lock feature on Android, having a paired Apple Watch will allow you to bypass a password entry screen on a Mac. Apple Pay will also be a feature, allowing you to authenticate the purchase through your watch or phone. As anticipated, Siri is also coming to macOS, available as an application on the dock similar to Launchpad. It will be open to developers, but Apple has not yet released any documentation on its capabilities.

However, not all Macs will run Sierra. Sierra will only be released on the following models:

  • Macbook (Late 2009 and newer)
  • iMac (Late 2009 and newer)
  • Macbook Air (2010 and newer)
  • Macbook Pro (2010 and newer)
  • Mac Min (2010 and newer)
  • Mac Pro (2010 and newer)


As expected, iOS 10 was also announced. It will make more extensive use of 3D Touch than past versions. Users will also finally be able to remove most of the stock iOS apps, with a few key applications like Phone, iMessage, Settings, and the App Store being the only ones still locked. Any deleted Apps can be redownloaded from the App Store. iMessage will be able to suggest Emoji to use in place of your words, and it will allow to send an “invisible ink” message, requiring the recipient to tap the message to unblur it.

iOS 10 will cut support for some older devices. The following will be supported:

  • iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE
  • iPad 4, Air, Air 2, Mini 2, Mini 3, Mini 4, Pro 12.9, Pro 9.7
  • iPod Touch 6th Generation


The Apple watch will also be updated with WatchOS 3 in the fall. The demo was much faster than the current WatchOS 2, in both basic use and app loading. Apps will be allowed to update in the background, negating the need for larger, time-consuming updates. Apple has added an SOS feature to the watch. By holding the side button a certain way, the watch can automatically call 911 if it’s tethered to a phone or connected to WiFi. It’ll also support showing emergency contact information, medical alerts, and location data. Users will also be able to make their fitness tracking more social; WatchOS 3 will allow you to see the workouts and fitness activities of your friends.

tvOS was given a quick plug, announcing that Siri will be able to use the user’s voice to change to a specific channel or app. It can search Youtube, making it a more universal search than it previously was. However, no further details were given, and no new hardware was indicated.

WWDC is still ongoing, and while no new hardware was revealed, Apple has certainly given developers the tools to utilize new incoming features. What do you think of the announced updates? Are you glad to see HFS+ go? Are you developer concerned about any changes? Let us know in the comments!

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I've been a lover of video games, writing, and technology for as long as I remember. I have a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana… More about John