I heard that the new filesystem only allows one level of folders. How does it work exactly ? Will my existing beautifully organized folder-tree be collapsed into one folder when I upgrade? As a software developper, I really need to work with multiple level folder hierarchy, and I can't imagine living without this.

I'm waiting to upgrade until I get better information about this. The article I read doesn't make me comfortable with such a flattening of the OS X filesystem if indeed that has happened. Can someone shed more light on this please?

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    I have seen many articles like the one you linked that go on and on about "The new filesystem in Mountain Lion!" They present the new iCloud pane in the standard open and save dialogs as if it's some radical change in the way the system works, even though it's just a tweak to add the ability to use iCloud. It's no wonder people are confused. As a software developer myself, I have been completely unaffected by it. Jul 27 '12 at 5:38

Don't worry, the filesystem is really the same as in Lion. What you may have misunderstood is how the new iCloud integration works. Every app that supports it (it may even be built-in if you use the system-standard open/save components, I'm unsure) will display an iCloud tab in the Open/Save dialogs, but this is in addition to the standard Finder hierarchy that's been around forever.

This new iCloud storage doesn't allow nested folders, so you only get one level of hierarchy. The idea is to keep things simple à la iOS (it looks like and is conceptually the same as organizing apps on iOS).

For more detail and description, check out the iCloud and You section of John Siracusa's Mountain Lion review at Ars Technica.


The filesystem in Mountain Lion is exactly the same as the one in Lion. It's no different.

What you are referring to, is the document storage facility within apps that use iCloud. If you store your documents within iCloud enabled apps, then you are as you say limited to a depth of 2 when it comes to file structure, so you can store all your files at the top level, or you have have folders, but you cannot have subfolders within those folders.

The whole point is to simplify the storage medium, ensuring that files created within apps are held by those apps only, and not nested in some obscure directory structure whereby as Siracusa points out "direct interaction with the filesystem is where usability goes to die"

See this for more detail.

  • To be clear: Siracusa's comment applies "for novice users".
    – orome
    Aug 19 '12 at 4:46

As far as I know, what you're saying applies only to iCloud... MacOS has been using HFS+ (HIERARCHICAL File System +) since 1998, and, as the name implies, file system hierarchy is a corner stone in it.

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