Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

High Sierra

Xcode 9.0 is available for download


The new version of Xcode is available for download. Xcode 9.0 includes Swift 4 and SDKs for iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.

  • The source code editor has been completely rebuilt for amazing speed. It scrolls at a constantly smooth rate, no matter the files size, also supports Markdown.
  • Refactoring to easily select and modify structure of code
  • Swift 4 compiler can also compile Swift 3 to aid transition
  • Xcode 9 makes working with source control – and with GitHub – easier and more tightly integrated.
  • Simulator app updated.


Microsoft Office and High Sierra


Apple have announced a major new update of Mac OS X, version 10.13 High Sierra has a number of significant changes and it is likely that applications may need to be updated. Beta test versions of the operating system have been available for a while now and the more proactive developers have already been testing their software. Unfortunately there will always be developers who seem to refuse to test their applications until the new Mac OS has been officially released.

Microsoft have already announced the results of preliminary testing of the Office suite.

Office version 15.35 and later, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote will install and run on 10.13, but there maybe some issues

Office 15.34 and earlier. These versions are not supported on 10.13. In some cases, you may not be able to launch the Office apps.

Office for Mac 2011. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Lync have not been tested on macOS 10.13 High Sierra, and no formal support for this configuration will be provided.


APFS in macOS High Sierra


Apple have updated the online support documentation to give more details about the new file system (APFS) that is coming with the next generation of the operating system High Sierra. Apple File System (APFS), is the default file system in macOS High Sierra for Mac computers with all flash storage, it is designed to scale from an Apple watch to a Mac Pro.

Apple File System is a new, modern file system for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals. APFS replaces HFS+ as the default file system for iOS 10.3 and later, and macOS High Sierra and later.

A few things that might be important to note.

  • When you upgrade to macOS High Sierra, systems with all flash storage configurations are converted automatically. Systems with hard disk drives (HDD) and Fusion drives won't be converted to APFS. You can't opt-out of the transition to APFS.
  • FileVault volumes are converted from HFS+ to APFS, just like unencrypted volumes.
  • Devices formatted as HFS+ can be read and written to by devices formatted as APFS.
  • Devices formatted as APFS can be read and written to by any APFS-formatted devices but only by HFS+ formatted devices running macOS 10.12.6 or later.
  • Volumes formatted with APFS can't offer share points over the network using AFP. SMB and NFS are supported when using APFS. The option to enforce only SMB-encrypted share points is also available.

What are the advantages?

  • APFS supports 64-bit inode numbers, supporting over 9 quintillion files on a single volume
  • APFS is optimized for SSD storage, it will work with traditional hard disk drives as well.
  • No need to repartition, APFS allows Space Sharing, which lets multiple file systems share the same underlying free space on a physical volume rather than use a fixed amount of space for each file system.
  • APFS supports sparse files, extended file attributes and TRIM operations, as well as using a copy-on-write metadata scheme to ensure that updates to the file system are crash-safe.
  • Apple File System supports encryption natively, both single key encryption and multi-key encryption (where each file is encrypted with a separate key, and metadata is encrypted with a different key).

It is almost certain that any third party disc utilities will need to be updated. Once upgraded to APFS the only way to return to HFS+ is to erase the disc losing all data.

APFS implements normalization and case insensitivity according to the Unicode 9.0 standard; this enables APFS to support a wider range of languages for these features than HFS+, which is based on Unicode 3.2. However beta testers report issues with languages that include non-Roman characters. Hopefully this will be addressed soon.