This Volume Is Not Formatted as APFS on a Mac: Why and How to Fix It

Have you been encountering the error text: This volume is not formatted as APFS? Keep reading this article to discover nitty-gritty reasons and fixes to resolve this error. This error may give rise to data loss; therefore, you must install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

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Are you still receiving the error text "This volume is not formatted as APFS"? APFS is powerful and credible in terms of conventional file systems, and it minimizes the possibility of data loss because of system crashes and HDD failure.

Numerous Mac users have reported the issue of the "This volume is not formatted as APFS" message constantly popping up.

"This volume is not formatted as APFS"
by inMacOS

Nevertheless, mishaps like erroneous formatting, accidental deletion, and emptied trash bins may pop up anytime. Whenever a mishap occurs, knowing the best ways to retrieve files from an APFS drive on a Mac is crucial. Before formatting the volume to APFS in Disk Utility, consider using data recovery software to perform APFS data recovery.

Step 1. Recover Data from the Disk Before Formatting It

With the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, you can reclaim the erased data from a disk, as well as information stored on external storage devices with an APFS file system.

Before formatting, you may count on this robust data retrieval software to recover external hard drive files, including videos, documents, pictures, audio files, and more.

Step 1. Search for lost files

Select the disk location to search for lost files (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) on macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey, Ventura, and the latest Sonoma. Click the "Search for lost files" button.

Note: Before data recovery, you'd better click "Disk Backup" from the left sidebar to create a backup of your Mac to avoid further data loss. After backing up, the software can recover data from the Mac backup, and your computer can wirte new data again.

Recover Data Step1

Step 2. Go through the scanning results

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results.

Recover Data Step2

Step 3. Select the file(s) and recover

In the scan results, select the file(s) to preview and click the "Recover" button to have them back.

Recover Data Step3

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Step 2. Erase and Format the Disk Using Mac Disk Utility

Conveying files from an HDD, which depends on the earlier version of the file system, to an APFS-configured drive is prohibited. Therefore, you must transform your drive to APFS to eliminate the constantly demonstrated text on your screen.

Stop wondering if the question of converting the drive to APFS is bothering you! In today's post, we will walk you through the possible reasons and fixes to prevent this mishap from happening. Let's get going!

Disk Utility is one of Mac's leading system utilities, allowing you to manage external storage, find mes, erase, mend, and retrieve internal & external disks. It's the first place to check while encountering any disk-based errors.

The steps may vary depending on whether you want to format the startup disk or non-startup drive. The default home directory cannot be erased or unmounted, so to format your Macintosh HD to APFS, you must resort to a bootable backup drive, another Mac, or Recovery Mode (also known as Online recovery mode). Follow the steps below to format the startup drives in Disk Utility:

Step 1. Launch "Disk Utility" through Spotlight or Launchpad or by opening manually from "Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility".

Open Disk Utility

Step 2. Hit one of your hard drives on the left side and opt for the "Erase" option at the top.

erase an drive

Step 3. Rename the drive if required > alter the "Format" to APFS > ensure the scheme is "GUID Partition Map". Hit the "Erase" button.

N.B: In case you don't notice the disk you're willing to format in Disk Utility, hit "View" and opt for "Show all devices".

Show all devices

In order to check the recent format of the drive, hit its name on the left side in the Disk Utility to notice precise details. It must say "APFS Volume" in the "Type" section. After the actions, you must be capable of transferring files between APFS disks without any issues. If not, you might want to format the drive using Online Recovery or Terminal modes.

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This Volume Is Not Formatted as APFS: Possible Causes

Mac users have often reported obtaining this error message: "This volume is not formatted as APFS". This issue became permanent when Apple brought forth a fresh method to optimize flash memory and SSD on the MacBooks.

macOS Sierra and the later versions of MacBooks use Apple File System, which can't be downloaded on older macOS versions. It implies that you will notice the error text on your system whenever you want to upgrade to macOS 10.13 or later on a macOS extended drive.

You may also obtain a similar message while downloading macOS Sierra, such as 10.12, on an APFS drive. Furthermore, moving files from out-of-date file systems to a disk formatted with APFS may cause this issue.


"This Volume is Not Formatted as APFS" is deemed a challenging problem, implying your drive utilizes the outdated format. Due to this, your MacBook won't benefit from the upgraded drive optimization features, and you can't upgrade macOS or share files with other APFS drives. Data loss might occur when formatting Macintosh HD to APFS. Here comes reliable data retrieval software, such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, to your rescue.

This Volume Is Not Formatted as APFS FAQs

Go through the FAQs below to obtain a better understanding of the topic:

1. What does it mean this volume is not formatted as APFS?

This error implies your drive utilizes an outdated format. Hence, the system will not benefit from the upgraded drive maximization features, and you can't upgrade macOS or share folders with other APFS drives.

2. How do I format my Mac to APFS?

In case Disk Utility can't be opened, hit the "Launchpad" symbol in the Dock, type "Disk Utility" in the search bar, and finally the "Disk Utility" symbol. After that, you're required to type a name for the brand-new APFS volume > hit the "Format" pop-up menu > Opt for an "APFS format."

3. Can I recover stored files from an APFS volume on my Mac?

You may retrieve vacant trash on Mac or recover the deleted files on the APFS partition after macOS corruption/upgrading and formatting it. Encoded APFS drive data retrieval software, such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, allows you to restore lost or deleted files from a password-protected APFS drive of external drives and Macintosh HD.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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