I am thinking to put an external Time Machine backup (HFS+ files) from my old HDD on a newly installed SSD in my MacBook Pro mid 2012. Is this possible? Will the SSD recognise and accept this backup? Or is it possible or advisable to install the new SSD with the old HFS+ system instead of the new APFS. All in High Sierra. How to go about?

2 Answers 2


There's 2 ways to do this, I prefer the first since it ensures you start with a macOS install.

  1. Install the blank SSD in your Mac.
  2. Boot while holding ⌥⌘R for Internet Recovery.
  3. Follow the steps to download and install macOS on your SSD.
  4. During Setup Assistant, when prompted if you'd like to transfer your files, choose to transfer from a Time Machine backup.
  5. Follow the steps to important your content and settings from your Time Machine disk.

Alternatively you can use the Time Machine backup for the initial macOS install.

  1. Install the blank SSD in your Mac.
  2. Connect your Time Machine backup disk.
  3. Boot while holding ⌥ and choose your Time Machine disk from Startup Manager.
  4. Follow the steps to install macOS on your SSD using the Time Machine disk.

You cannot just copy the Time Machine backup onto an SSD and expect to boot your Mac to the point of the last backup.

You must first install MacOS on the SSD, then install the SSD into the MacBook Pro. Finally restore from the TimeMachine backup (you will be give this choice when you first boot from the OS on the new SSD).

The trick is how to install MacOS on the SSD to begin with.

My solution was to get an external USB to SATA adapter, then boot from the existing disk into recovery mode and perform a new OS installation on the external disk. You may first need to format the external SSD using Disk Utility which you can do when you boot in Recovery mode.

Once the the new OS is on the external SSD replace your internal disk with it, and boot up. During initial configuration it will ask you if you want to restore from a Time Machine backup.

  • Thank you. I understand. What I would like to know is if there are potential problems with the transfer because of one type of files (hfs+ from Time Machine backup) onto newwhich uses
    – Christina
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:12
  • cont’d .. new SSD which will be using APFS since it has OS High Sierra installed. Will such a transfer be ok?
    – Christina
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:27

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