I have macOS High Sierra installed on my MacBook Pro already with the APFS format.
However, I would like to know the steps involved to perform a clean installation of macOS High Sierra with the APFS format?
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This can be done by downloading the High Sierra installer from the App store and use it to create an installation USB media.
Run the following command in the terminal:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
Where MyVolume is the name of your USB flash drive.
Leave the USB drive plugged in and reboot your Mac while holding the option key (ALT) down.
A more detailed explanation can be found on the Apple support page: How to create a bootable installer for macOS
To be clear, if boot from a usb high Sierra installer, and format your disk with the new apfs format, you cannot install high Sierra, you get an error that’s it not a os extended disk. To make matters worse, you no longer have the option to format the disk and anything but apfs in disk utility.
The work around is to do a disk partition in disk utility and make that partion an OSX Extended Partion. This will erase the disk and give you back the option to erase as a Mac OS extended drive in disc utility.
Just perform a routine erase install and you are set with apfs on SSD only.
There’s no difference in the result whether you use internet recovery, bootable media or a bootable Mac drive with recovery.
To Erase everything on your Mac, and setting up as a new one,
hold down (Command + R) immediately after pressing power button when starting up.
This will take you to Recovery mode and will take some time than usual which is normal.
From there you can erase the partition to APFS and install the latest version of macOS.
Had the same problem on old Macbook Air 2011. Erased the MacOS Extended (Journaled) formatted SSD, formatted it in APFS as I thought it was logic to use the format that High Sierra would generate automatically when installing, then same problem: High Sierra on the USB-Drive would not want to install on a APFS formatted drive in Recovery Mode. Changing format would not work, as APFS stays the only option. Then tried Internet Recovery (CMD+R). After half an hour of a rotating Earth, the same Recovery screen appeared, with "Install OSX LION" instead of MacOS. I then went into Disc Utility where finally I could format in Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Install from High-Sierra USB drive working like a charm afterwards. Good luck!