Apple is adding more support for APFS (Apple File System) on its platforms and with this, it brings in the ability to use Time Machine with an APFS-formatted disk to macOS Big Sur. This also enables the ability to view external drives using encrypted APFS in iOS and iPadOS 14.
APFS was introduced by Apple in 2016 and this ‘forward-thinking file system’ was used across the entire device ecosystem. Apple is making APFS all the more useful with the introduction of macOS Big Sur, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and adding support for APFS in new areas.
On the new macOS, Apple is bringing the ability to use an APFS-formatted drive with Time Machine, as per 9to5Mac. With macOS Catalina and older OS’ users were able to back up to an HFS+ formatted disk but not an APFS one. The macOS would offer to reformat the drive to HFS+. With Big Sur, users will be able to back up directly to an APFS-formatted drive and there will be no need to reformat any disk.
On iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple is making way for APFS encrypted drives. Currently, it is possible to view external drives in a bunch of common formats from an iPad or iPhone, but it only works for non-encrypted drives and encrypted ones are unreadable by mobile devices.
With new updates, connecting an encrypted APFS drive to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 will have the drive appear on the Sidebar with a selection of the drive popping up with a password prompt to decrypt it.
This added support for encrypted drives will work only for APFS- formatted drives though.