Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  macOS High Sierra: A worthy upgrade, but not one to leap into

macOS High Sierra: A worthy upgrade, but not one to leap into

high_sierrasq

Apple’s latest major upgrade for its desktop operating system, macOS High Sierra is now available for qualifying iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro models, and if you pay attention to the counter in the app store icon in your dock, you’ve probably noticed it being ready to download, if not in fact pestered by your system to upgrade as soon as possible.

As is always the case with these major upgrades, a lot of what goes into High Sierra won’t be immediately obvious when you make the switch, because there’s typically a lot of optimisation and security work that happens behind the scenes. While High Sierra features new photo apps, a more streamlined desktop Siri to match her mobile cousin and an updated Safari browser with inbuilt blocking of those annoying autoplay videos that seem to infest so many news sites, one particular new feature makes it quite vital that you backup your system before even starting to download the new upgrade.

That’s the switch in underlying file systems, from the older HFS+ to Apple’s new inhouse file system, AFPS. Apple’s contention is that its new file system is more space efficient and secure than HFS+, but the switch isn’t one that will happen to every High Sierra user, at least at first. At launch, if you’re using a Mac with a solid-state drive (which is most of the more recent laptops, but not some older Macs or those using hybrid “Fusion” drives that mix solid state and traditional mechanical drives), you’ll automatically switch to AFPS as part of the High Sierra upgrade. Apple has indicated that it will release an upgrade for Fusion drive users in the future, but there’s no timeframe for when that might happen.

File systems don’t typically impact you as an end user, except that they’re (more or less) the DNA of your computer, so changing things around is a fairly tricky procedure. That’s why it’s vital that you back up your important files before you start the upgrade, because while it’s a very small risk, if something goes wrong during the upgrade, the switch in file systems could put files in a state where neither HFS+ or AFPS can properly read them. Broken files and lost data in other words, whether it’s due to a sudden power outage or some kind of hardware-level blip in the Mac matrix.

Realistically you should be backing up your data on a regular basis anyway, and Apple’s own inbuilt Time Machine application makes this very easy to do. Many people regard this as a boring chore, and so they avoid it. They’re not wrong that it can be dull. A little dull beats the heartache of realizing that your important files, whether they’re business documents or otherwise unsaved pictures of the grandkids are gone forever.

I’ve been running High Sierra across a couple of Macs, and so far it’s a reasonably solid upgrade, but not without its quirks. If you’re using Macs for business it would be sensible to check if there are any known issues (or upgrades) for your vital business software in relation to the upgrade, because it’s feasible some apps may not work identically after upgrade. That’s not unusual for any major software upgrade though, although at least at launch there don’t appear to be too many major offenders in that category.

Apple runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to hardware, and that makes it a little easier for it to offer upgrades across the board in a way that doesn’t always happen smoothly for major Windows updates. It also means that High Sierra stretches back quite far in Mac chronology, with some Macs built in 2009 still eligible for the upgrade. Those systems are more likely to chug a little trying some of High Sierra’s heavier functions, but they’re at least technically capable. If you’re not sure if you qualify for High Sierra, Apple has a comprehensive upgrade site that walks you through the process (and reiterates that point about backups being vital) which you can find online right here.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Recent News

ytm

In the world of online music streaming, there are a number of big-name players. Spotify is the best known, and Apple has its own play in Apple Music. Users of Google’s Android operating systems are probably more familiar with Google Play Music. Google’s approach to Google Play Music has always been an odd one from… More 

parentalcontrols

If you’ve got kids, you may well be concerned that they’re far more tech-savvy than you are. Having grown up with technology as an absolutely expected part of their lives, and with so much IT integrated into school curriculums through their education, it’s pretty easy to feel as though they’re well ahead of you. That… More 

win10update

If you’re using a Windows 10 PC, you’ve probably been alerted to the existence of what Microsoft’s calling the “April 2018 Update” to your operating system. This isn’t some kind of April fool’s joke, or for that matter an update only applicable to women called April, but instead the latest larger-scale update to Windows 10… More 

netflixlogo

The massive rise in popularity of streaming services, especially video streaming services such as Netflix, in recent years has had some astounding effects on the online world. There’s now such a thing as “peak” internet usage time, typically around 7pm-11pm each evening, simply because so many people are using that evening time to binge-watch their… More