searchfs on APFS is > 5 times slower than on HFS+

Number:rdar://35052030 Date Originated:October 18 2017
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:macOS Product Version:10.13
Classification:Performance Reproducible:Always
When searching for files using the searchfs() function, the process takes about five times as long on an APFS volume than the same search on a HFS+ volume with the same contents.

This is quite significant. While searching for file names on a SSD-equipped MacBook's boot drive used to take only 5-10 seconds pre High-Sierra, the same search on the APFS-upgraded disk now takes a minute or more.

Steps to Reproduce:
Take a large HFS+ volume, clone it and convert the copy to APFS.
Then perform a search (e.g. for some unlikely-to-exist file name) on both volumes with searchfs, and record the time it takes to finish on each. Repeat several times to deal with potential caching.

Expected Results:
Search on APFS should be as fast as on HFS+

Actual Results:
Much slower on APFS.

10.13.0 as well as currentl 10.13.1 beta.

Update (May 5, 2018):

Problem persists. Still the same. Even with the latest 10.13.5 beta (17F66a). It has not improved a bit.


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