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Using macOS Sierra, how do I migrate/switch/transition/upgrade the boot volume/partition from HFS+ to APFS in-place?

Is this advisable, or perhaps already done by the Sierra installer?

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As of Jun 2017 according to this link, during macOS High Sierra install, file system can be upgraded from HFS+ to APFS:

How do I upgrade to Apple File System?

The macOS 10.13 installer offers nondestructive in-place upgrades from HFS+ to APFS for bootable volumes. You can use Disk Utility to convert external volumes from HFS+ to APFS format.

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Note: this was true before the announcement of High Sierra, June '17

You cannot use APFS as a boot volume for Sierra, it's not yet supported.

APFS is still in development & will be capable of being used as a boot volume when it's finally released.

From Apple File System Guide - FAQ ...

Can I boot macOS Sierra from an APFS-formatted hard disk?

No. macOS Sierra supports Apple File System for data volumes only. You cannot boot macOS Sierra from a APFS-formatted volume.

How do I upgrade to Apple File System?

Apple will offer nondestructive in-place upgrades from HFS+ to APFS for all boot volumes when Apple File System ships in 2017. Tools will be available to convert external volumes from HFS+ to APFS format.

  • 1
    Apparently that's no longer strictly true: twitter.com/TylerLoch/status/834096712717332480 Seems like a very risky procedure though. – UloPe Feb 24 '17 at 18:18
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    @UloPe - I'd rather stick pins in my eyes, really ;) I'll wait for it to be officially supported. They already changed the structure between 10.12.1 & 10.12.2 [iirc] & broke any drive already using APFS as non-boot... – Tetsujin Feb 24 '17 at 18:27
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For anyone coming across this in September 2017 -- even as of High Sierra beta 13 it still doesn't seem possible to convert an HFS+ Journaled boot drive "in-place" to APFS. The options are still grayed out in the Disk Utility if you try.

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    The option is grayed out in 10.13.1 if the drive is mounted, but not if it is unmounted. Go figure. But when unmounted, the conversion in place fails … – odysseus Dec 9 '17 at 4:28

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