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MacOS Mojave: The new Apple operating system

MacOS Mojave: The new Apple operating system

Over the next two weeks, we are going to dive into the depths of all things Apple. This is not because we have gone Apple mad, it’s actually due to the recent release of its two new operating systems: MacOS Mojave (10.14) and iOS12. Over the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the new features of these two operating systems, and what effect they may have on data recovery.

In this blog, we will focus on  MacOS Mojave.

What´s new in Apple Mojave?

All of the new features in MacOS Mojave have been implemented to give Mac users a better working experience as-well-as helping to modernise the look and feel. The most important features to note are:

  • Dark Mode – uses dark instead of light colours in the user interface e.g. the menu bar at the top of the Mac UI is no longer white with black text. Instead the bar is a dark colour with white text. The higher contrast makes it much easier for the user to read documents, reduces glare and colour and detail in video and photos.
  • Dynamic Desktop – it’s easy to lose track of time when you work in front of your Mac all day. The Dynamic Desktop helps you keep track of the day, as Mac’s desktop picture adjusts accordingly with the time of the day.
  • Desktop Stacks –helps organise the clutter associated with saving files on the Desktop. As the name implies, Stacks puts your desktop files into stacks. When you click on a stack, it expands to show the individual files.

Are any of the new features implemented relevant to data recovery?

The answer is yes, but none of the above!

However, Apple´s new Mac operating system supports APFS (Apple File System), which is relevant to data recovery.

APFS was introduced for the first time in Apple’s previous operating system release High Sierra, but it only worked with SSD drives and other storage based Flash-Memory. When High Sierra was installed on SSD drives or other flash-based devices, the volume was automatically converted and formatted to an APFS drive.

In MacOS Mojave, the APFS now also works with Fusion Drives and traditional HDDs.

To make the implementation of Mojave on Fusion drives and traditional HDDs a success, the new OS has a built-in defragmentation routine that counters performance issues due to lots of distributed data fragments. This feature was introduced after the first beta, but it is still uncertain if it will be in the September final release.

Data recovery and Mojave

With any new storage file system release (like APFS), data recovery experts have to evaluate and come up with new ways of how to successfully recover lost data from the new system. The introduction of APFS with MacOS High Sierra meant that data recovery engineers, like those at Ontrack, had to use new and special tools to be able to recover lost data from the new APFS.

With APFS now introduced as the main file system for MacOS Mojave not only for SDDs, but for

Fusion drives and normal HDDs as-well, the knowledge gained by the data recovery engineers through the original APFS release can be applied to the Mojave.

This is all very well for those data recovery firms that have their own software development department, but for those that don’t, being able to recover data from any APFS is highly unlikely.

Another thing to note is that since Apple’s Fusion Drives are not a single drive but in fact one SSD and one HDD controlled together as one unit, many users think that they only need to send in one drive for a successful data recovery. This is not the case. Both drives are needed to ensure any data that may have been accidentally deleted or lost can be recovered.

Picture copyright: Ontrack Data Recovery