How to Convert HFS hard drive to APFS on High Sierra?

Summary: This blog is about APFS hard drive conversion through non-destructive approach.

However, in the case of data loss from APFS drive, consider Stellar Data Recovery Professional for file recovery from an APFS storage media.

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Mac hard drive Recovery

HFS is the traditional file-system of the Apple’s Mac, MacBook, iMac and Mac Mini. And soon, Apple will replace its HFS file system with the latest APFS. With macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Apple is going to make Mac 64 bit and it is speculated that with 10.14, the Macs will have broader support for APFS which are currently lacking in macOS High Sierra 10.13.

Today’s Query! How to Convert Hard Drive to APFS?

There are a few ways to convert your internal or external HFS formatted drive to APFS.

  1. macOS High Sierra Upgrade for SSDs

So, if you have a Mac that has an SSD as your start-up disk drive then while upgrading to macOS High Sierra, the SSD will get converted to APFS file system automatically.

  1. macOS High Sierra Upgrade for Hard Drives 

When your Mac has a hard drive, and if you upgrade to macOS High Sierra then a confirmation dialogue will appear via installer and it will ask you if you want to convert your hard drive to APFS. This isn’t mandatory, and you have the choice to stick with HFS or switch to APFS.

  1. macOS High Sierra Upgrade for Hard Drives with Recovery Mode 

If you upgrade to macOS High Sierra with HFS but later decided to turn to APFS, then you can do the same through Recovery Mode. Restart your Mac and press-hold Command + R to boot into recovery mode. Then, go to Disk Utility << click Edit << click Convert to APFS.

Note: The above processes are non-destructive forms of APFS conversion on your chosen drive which means no data will be lost in converting the drive to APFS from HFS.

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  1. Converting an External Hard Drive to APFS on macOS High Sierra

The first question, is the process of converting an external drive from HFS to APFS non-destructive? Well, the answer is NO. Only bootable drives are allowed to convert to APFS via non-destructive approach. If you are looking to convert an external drive to APFS then follow the procedure:

  1. Backup all the files from the external drive
  2. Go to Disk utility << Select External Drive << Click Erase << from the drop-down select APFS
  3. Click Apply

Allow the process to complete successfully and your drive will be converted to APFS.

Destructive vs Non-Destructive APFS Conversion

Apple provides non-destructive methods for start-up disk drives for APFS conversion, and hence no data (files or folders) will be lost. On the other hand, APFS formatting will erase all the files and folders stored on the external hard drive. If not backed up earlier, APFS formatting on the external drive will cause data loss. Even with the start-up drive, one may delete or lose files from the APFS formatted media.

A solution to APFS Data Recovery

APFS or HFS file system is prone to data losses via file deletion, unplanned formatting or whatsoever reason.

In case data loss on APFS strikes, leverage Stellar Data Recovery Professional to scan the APFS formatted storage drive for data recovery.