Thursday, May 26, 2022

Will Disk Utility Ever Work Properly?

Howard Oakley:

When Apple developed APFS, it decided neither to make it open source, nor to document it sufficiently to help third parties develop their own utilities for its maintenance. In doing so, it made a commitment to its users that Apple itself would provide all the tools necessary to work with its new file system. After all, any file system without sufficient tools to check, repair and maintain it isn’t fit for release, is it?

Disk Utility and its command line check and repair tool fsck_apfs are thus among the most important utilities in the whole of macOS. While there are several excellent alternatives which can perform the same tasks on HFS+ volumes, Apple’s policies on APFS have successfully locked all competition out of this market. Yet, over five years after the new file system’s release on 27 March 2017, Disk Utility is still riddled with bugs, and can’t check or repair disks containing Time Machine backups unless the Mac is booted in Recovery Mode, or without resorting to skulduggery with hidden snapshots.

See also: AskDifferent, Should you trust Disk Utility’s First Aid or fsck?.


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A little while ago I needed to resize one of my APFS partitions so I could add an extra partition to the end of my drive. Disk Utility was of course totally useless. It took hours of work to figure it out, and involved pouring through forums threads and mailing list conversations of perplexed and annoyed users trying to sort through some of the same problems as I did. Luckily I did eventually figure out.

If it were HFS+, I would've been done in less than a minute.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... APFS sucks!

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