I recently formatted all my external drives to APFS.

The result was this:

diskutil list
    /dev/disk3 (internal, physical):
    0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk3
    1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk3s1
    2: Apple_APFS 499.8 GB disk3s2

There is no container, seems to be just the raw APFS. I didn't notice. I could write to the disk, all was fine. Until I rebooted. Now, it's unmountable, unrepairable with disk utility.

Today I upgraded to MacOS 10.13.1 and repeated the same thing on an USB stick:


/dev/disk9 (synthesized):
0: APFS Container Scheme - +64.3 GB disk9
Physical Store disk6s2
1: APFS Volume tester 978.9 KB disk9s1

Clearly, it works correctly, with container, all fine, after the patch.

I was foolish enough to entrust data to the 500GB partition... desperately trying to find a way now, to make the data readable. diskutil man page explains, you can create a container, add a NEW device, add a volume, but no way apparently to add an existing "APFS physical store" to an existing container. If I could create a new container and add this raw device, maybe it works, maybe not, but I couldn't find any option for that.

I wrote myself a bash script to get rid of another APFS bug, that prevented diskutil from formatting a disk:

### sudo ./format.sh disk5 DATA1

diskutil list | grep $1
echo "Name: $2"
sleep 10
diskutil unmountDisk force $1
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/$1 bs=1024 count=1024
diskutil partitionDisk $1 GPT JHFS+ "$2" 0g

So this creates a journaled HFS+ filesystem with GPT table, after which disk utility offers all FS to format onto it.

I'm grateful for any hints or ideas, on how to make this device readable again. Creating an image with dd or other tool of the raw device might not work either, since man pages explained about APFS, it needs it's container to be readable. But was does the container store, besides a "link" to it ?

  • It's completely unclear what you are asking! I don't think there is any APFS bug but simple user errors! It's impossible to interpret your results without knowing the commands you executed previously. – klanomath Nov 1 '17 at 14:49
  • ok. I repeat in short: I used the bash script mentioned above to format my SSD: (diskutil partitionDisk disk3 GPT JHFS+ <name> 0g ) Then I formatted the disk with disk utility to APFS. As mentioned above, no APFS container was created. It says "Apple_APFS 499.8 GB disk3s2" and cannot be mounted or read. I repeated the same steps with USB stick now, after upgrading to MacOS 10.13.1. As mentioned above, disk utility creates the proper APFS container as it should, and it works. That's why I suspect a bug here. – jimster686 Nov 1 '17 at 15:52

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