Difference between HFS and APFS Data Recovery

Summary: Apple File System (APFS) brings in a slew of modern advancements and we need to understand how APFS stacks up (including data recovery) in comparison to Mac OS Extended (HFS+). Let’s see how Hierarchical File System (HFS) and APFS file system recovery differs.

To ensure efficient APFS data recovery, simply use Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac and bring back your files from the APFS hard drive on Mac.


Difference between HFS and APFS Data Recovery

Apple File System (APFS) brings in a slew of modern advancements and we need to understand how APFS stacks up (including data recovery) in comparison to Mac OS Extended (HFS+). Let’s see how Hierarchical File System (HFS) and APFS file system recovery differs.

What is Apple File System (APFS)?

With iOS 10.3, APFS was first released for iOS devices and for macOS devices with the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13. APFS is a modern file system optimized for SSDs and flash storage devices such as Apple TV, Apple Watch, MacBook series, etc. It brings in better optimization, native encryption, improved crash protection, simplified backups, stable snapshots, more safety and security, and supports multi-key encryption. In addition, the new file system has replaced Mac OS Extended (HFS+) as the default file system for all-flash storage devices and SSDs. (Since iOS 10.3, APFS has been used by default on iPad and iPhones). Read more about APFS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_File_System

What is Mac OS Extended (HFS+)?

HFS+, also known as Mac OS Extended is the primary file system used by older Mac OS versions (prior to High Sierra). On the other hand, macOS High Sierra utilizes HFS+ for mechanical and hybrids drives only. Although HFS+ incorporates features, including journaling support, compression, disk encryption but with the inclusion of high-end Mac gadgets like Apple TV, Apple Watch, and also storage technology like solid state disks / flash storage, there is a need to switch to a more flexible approach.

Sometimes, a fresh approach is essential to cater to consumer technology and new IT landscape.

Data loss in HFS+ and APFS

APFS has been heralded as one of the biggest Mac updates as it is a major contributor in uplifting the operating system’s performance, and its features certainly seem worthwhile. At the same time, the adoption to these flexible and advanced models has accelerated over the last few years; however, there is one question that needs to be answered i.e. can the possibility of data loss be neglected in either of the file formats? Well, keeping aside the modus-operandi of these file formats, the possibility of data loss in both the file systems cannot be overlooked.

Data Loss ScenarioAPFS         

 

HFS+

 

Unintentional deletion of files Yes  Yes
Accidental formatting of the drive  Yes  Yes
Power failures, electrical spikes of storage media  Yes  Yes
Physical damage of storage media Yes  Yes
Read/write head crash of drive  Yes  Yes
System booting issues   Yes  Yes
Black or white screen of death  Yes  Yes
Invalid entries in the directories  Yes  Yes
Software / hardware failure  Yes  Yes
Operating system upgrade failure   Yes  Yes
Corrupt file system  Yes  Yes

Data recovery from APFS and HFS+ hard drive

If you have accidentally deleted files or lost data while upgrading to macOS High Sierra, the missing files can be easily retrieved from the APFS formatted hard drive provided that you do not overwrite the hard drive.

To ensure efficient data recovery on Mac, simply use Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac and bring back your files from the APFS hard drive on High Sierra. Similarly, you can run the software for retrieving files from the Mac OS Extended disks as well.

The software performs exceptionally well for both of the file systems; with a subtle difference i.e. after scanning the APFS drive, the software lists recoverable files as ‘RAW Data’ instead of the conventional preview. On the similar lines, let’s delve into its functionality:

First Step – Select the files types that you wish to recover. Simply toggle-on the respective keys or customize your scan and click ‘Next’.

Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac

Second Step – Select the APFS drive from the list of available devices and click ‘Scan’. The software automatically switches to Deep Scan mode for this particular case; however, you can manually enable it as well.

Professional - Select the Location

Third Step – The software scans the APFS drive for missing files. Wait till the scanning process completes.

scan

Fourth Step – Once the scanning is complete, click OK on the Scanning Completed Successfully! Message box. The software lists all recoverable files as ‘RAW Data’.

The figure illustrates preview of recoverable files as ‘RAW Data’ on APFS storage drive

The figure illustrates hierarchical preview of recoverable files on HFS+ storage drive

Fifth Step – Preview the recoverable files to check its correctness and integrity.

Preview - Professional

Sixth Step – Select the files that you want to recover. Click ‘Recover’ and save them at the appropriate location.

save files

All Together

Given the development of flash storage, modern processors, and computing technology, the file system should be powerful and faster enough to keep pace with the technological advancement. Apple has been using HFS for more than 30 years; hence, there was a need to update the way file system works. APFS, on the other hand, is a modern file system which is developed to support today’s and tomorrow’s Super Mac computer and terabyte-sized drives. With APFS, Apple has introduced a file system that is more scalable, secure, resistant to data loss, and further brings in future augmentations for Apple devices. Besides, irrespective of which way the wheel of technology turns, Stellar Mac Data Recovery – Professional software easily overcomes data loss challenges in either of the file systems (APFS/HFS+).

Comments(2)
  1. Vishal February 27, 2018
  2. Mathew Booth February 27, 2018

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