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How to test a new file system in macOS APFS Sierra

You’ve probably heard that Apple has developed a new file system APFS. It already is the default in iOS 10.3, and by the end of the year should be the standard in macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. But to experiment with APFS, you can now if your Mac comes with macOS Sierra 10.12.4 or later.

Proceed with caution

Remember that APFS is under development. Now it cannot be used for Time Machine, FileVault or Fusion Disk. You won’t find in disk utility the option to format the partitions in APFS. With the release of the final version of the file system, these restrictions will not. Most likely, it will also be possible to implement on the Mac the transition from HFS+ to APFS with no loss of data.

If you want to experiment with APFS now ready to use the command line, you need to follow the steps below.

macOS Sierra: formatting in APFS

The first thing you need to run the Terminal application. Then enter the following command to find the ID of the drive you want to format in APFS:

diskutil list

I decided to carry a Boot Camp partition on an external drive, so was looking for in the list BOOTCAMP.

In my case the ID of the device disk2s2. You have it may be different, so here you need to be careful. Wrong entry may lead to formatting of the wrong drive and lose important files. Check out all of the and enter the following command in a terminal window:

diskutil apfs createContainer /dev/disk2s2

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Again make sure you are using the correct ID. MacOS system will shut off the drive, delete the partition and create a container of APFS.

Please note that the command tells you the name of the container:

Created new APFS Container disk3

In your case the name may be different. In the next step, add that APFS. It is necessary to return to the terminal and enter the following command:

addVolume disk3 diskutil apfs APFS newAPFS

Replace “disk3” name of container of APFS. You can also replace “newAPFS” any name that you want to use for the newly created drive.

Then in the Finder panel will appear a new volume for the disk APFS. Now you can start to experiment!

When you’re finished, you can always return to the default formatting in HFS+. You can just use Disk utility.

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