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In this work we discuss various design and performance issues in very high areal density longitudinal magnetic recording. We show that low flying height and small read gap are the two most important factors for high linear resolution, while small write gap and good P1–P2 alignment are important for high‐track density operations. Next, we discuss the on‐track signal‐to‐noise performance in terms of peak shift and peak jitter. For nonlinear peak shift, the proximity‐effect transition shift is found to be significant. For peak jitter, major sources of jitter are discussed, and an analytical description of jitter due to head and electronics noise is developed. Applying this result shows a signal‐to‐noise advantage.