What really happens when you duplicate a file on iOS?

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ios apfs clones storage file providers
Hidden storage.
Photo: Josh Coleman/Unsplash

How much space do duplicate files take up on your iPad? In theory, they use no extra storage. Thanks to the design of the Apple File System (APFS) used on iOS and macOS, duplicating a file doesn’t actually create a copy. It just creates a reference that points to the original file on the disk.

But what about File Providers, and iCloud, and all that stuff? I decided to take a deep dive and find out if you can really make a zillion copies of a file with no penalty. The results were, to say the least, confusing.

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macOS High Sierra
macOS High Sierra is ready for primetime.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Here’s when you can upgrade to macOS High Sierra

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macOS update
A macOS update adds support for Messages in iCloud.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Following three months of beta testing, macOS High Sierra is almost ready to make its public debut.

There are a whole bunch of new features and improvements to look forward to in this update, including an overhauled Photos app, enhanced Siri, and the new Apple File System.

How to use the new keyboard shortcuts in iOS 11’s Files app

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Files app keyboard shortcuts
Files app keyboard shortcuts
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Files app is iOS 11’s Finder. You can use it to browse the files in your iCloud Drive, along with files and folders in your Dropbox, and inside other apps that open up their file systems to iOS. Apple has also added some keyboard shortcuts to the Files app. This lets you carry out many common tasks without touching the screen when you have a hardware keyboard attached.

Most of the new keyboard shortcuts are great, and show how serious Apple is about the new user-accessible iOS file system. But some serious limitations mean you’ll still need to reach up and tap the screen to do the most basic things.

Hands on: macOS High Sierra packs tons of surprising features

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macOS update
macOS High Sierra brings powerful updates to the Mac.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

macOS High Sierra doesn’t pack as many updates as iOS 11, but Apple’s latest desktop software delivers plenty of new features worth drooling over.

After using the first High Sierra beta for the last few days, I’ve been blown away. Check out what’s new in the macOS High Sierra hands-on video below:

Everything you need to know about the new Apple File System

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APFS
APFS arrives in 2017.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 30, 2016, but has been updated with new info since the release of iOS 10.3)

It’s hard to believe that Apple’s speedy Macs are still using a file system that was developed more than 30 years ago, when floppy disks and spinning hard drives were considered cutting-edge technology.

But that’s going to change in 2017 with the new Apple File System — or APFS — that debuts in iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.12.4. Here’s everything you need to know about APFS and how it’s going to make your life better, no matter what Apple device(s) you use.

iOS 10.3 is out with Find My AirPods, Apple File System and more

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iPhone 7
Grab iOS 10.3 while it's hot!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The first big iPhone and iPad update of 2017 has finally arrived.

Apple finally released iOS 10.3 to the public today after months of beta testing the new software. iOS 10.3 can be downloaded now as an over-the-air update, or installed via iTunes. iPhone and iPad owners can expect a rash of new features that not only make iPhone and iPad easier to use, but also more secure.

Here’s everything that’s new: