How to Format APFS Drive in macOS Sierra

With the introduction of the new Apple File System (APFS), Mac users are gradually upgrading their systems. Since the new file system comes with lots of advanced features, it provides a better experience to its users. If you are working with APFS on your macOS Sierra, then you must already be aware of these features. Nevertheless, there are times when users have to format APFS drive. To help you do the same, we have drafted this informative post.

Why format APFS drive

There could be plenty of reasons to format APFS drive. From a bad partitioning to a malware attack, your APFS drive can experience some unwanted setbacks. Since the file system supports a full-drive encryption, users often choose to format the drive and get rid of their sensitive content as well. Additionally, while switching to APFS, if you haven’t got the expected results, then you might choose to format APFS.

Not just an internal drive, you can also format an external hard disk as well. This is mostly done to make the external storage unit work for other file systems (like FAT or HFS). Since APFS is comparatively a newer file system, not many users know how to format it in an efficient manner. To help you, we have listed a stepwise tutorial for it in the next section.

How to Format APFS Drive in macOS Sierra

If you have implemented the APFS drive on macOS Sierra, chances are that you might face a few unwanted setbacks. The new APFS gives exceptional results for macOS High Sierra, but it isn’t the same for its predecessor. We recommend taking the assistance of Terminal instead of Disk Utility to format APFS drive. It is a safer alternative and won’t produce any unexpected results. You can format APFS drive in macOS Sierra by following these steps:

  1. To start with, simply launch Terminal on your Mac. You can go to Utilities and launch Terminal from there.
  2. format APFS drive in macos sierra

  3. After launching Terminal, provide the command "diskutil list". This will provide a list of all the disks (internal and external) that are attached to your Mac.
  4. From the list, you need to look for the identifier of the APFS disk you wish to format. Be careful while noting down the exact identifier for the respective disk.
  5. Let’s suppose the identifier of the disk is "disk2s3". Now, to format this disk, provide the command "diskutil apfs createContainer /dev/<identifier>". Since the identifier for our disk is disk2s3, the command would be “diskutil apfs createContainer /dev/disk2s3”.
  6. This will initiate the process. You will be notified as soon as a new APFS container for the disk would be created. This will also list the number for the new APFS disk created.
  7. Great! You are almost there. In the end, you just have to add the APFS volume to the disk. In order to do so, provide the command "diskutil apfs addVolume disk3 APFS <newAPFS>". Here, the "new APFS" would be replaced by identifier of the new APFS container that is just created. For instance, you can view it as disk 3 in our case.
  8. format APFS partition

  9. That’s it! This will complete the process. Now, you can just go to the new APFS drive and have a look at its changed properties as well.

APFS Limitations in macOS Sierra

By following the above-stated drill, you would be able to format APFS drive without any trouble. Since it is a new file system, it comes with a few limitations as well. Before you convert your drive to APFS, be aware of these limitations.

Now when you know how to format APFS drive, you would certainly be able to make the most of Apple’s new file system in macOS Sierra. If you also have some useful tips and tricks regarding Apple’s latest offering, feel free to share it with our readers in the comments below.

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