I have a MBP 2012 I upgraded from High Sierra to Mojave after it came out as GA. I don't recall if I was asked about upgrading to APFS when Id id that, but at this time the main volume is Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

My current About This Mac...version is Mojave 10.14.1 (18B75). Now, when updates are advertised from the App Store, I'm unable to upgrade because 10.14.3 is required.

No OS updates show in the App Store, and when I searched for the updaters (10.14.2 Combo, etc), I can't install because the installer reports "macOS 10.14.2 Update can't be installed on this disk. This Mac can only install macOS on APFS-formatted drives."

I tried the search results recommending to boot in Recovery Mode and use Disk Utility, but APFS is not available as a type.

I have good backups and I can reformat the boot volume if I need to, but I have not done this before. Should I get a 10.14.3 installer to do this and boot from an external drive? The only guies and message boards I've found just keep saying to install 10.14.3 (I can't) or convert the disk in Recovery Mode (APFS is not available as an option.)

Any known-good ways to get my 10.14.1 upgraded so I can keep getting App Store updates?

4 Answers 4


I had the same problem. After multiple searches, the only way I found to get the drive updated to APFS was the following:

  1. Full clone of internal drive to external drive using SuperDuper! (Carbon Copy Cloner would also work from what I've read)
  2. Reboot from external drive
  3. Reformat internal drive as APFS
  4. Full clone of external drive to internal drive using SuperDuper!
  5. Reboot from internal drive

It feels like there should be an easier way to do this, but I couldn't find it.

  • Thanks - for step 2, should I boot from the external in recovery mode, or just boot as normal and use Disk Utility?
    – lonstar
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:53
  • 1
    I booted normally from the external drive (just hold down the option key during boot). It might work if you boot into recovery mode, but I didn't try that.
    – danliebke
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:36
  • Followup - I followed this procedure and it worked as advertised.
    – lonstar
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 18:16
  • I searched to download SuperDuper!, I found it from macupdate.com is it the original website?
    – Shayan
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 14:10

I had to try a different route, since when i cloned back from my external drive (using CCC both directions), the newly updated internal hard-drive (erased and updated to APFS) wasn't bootable.

What i did instead, from being in my Mojave stuck in beta Mac:

  1. Create a full Time Machine backup onto external backup drive #1.
  2. Using CCC, create a fully bootable copy of my Mac onto external drive #2.
  3. Reboot to Recovery mode (Cmd-R), and erase/reformat the internal drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  4. From there, switch over and reinstall the OS. This put me all the way back at Mavericks (10.9.5). Important NOTE: make sure you know your Apple ID and password, and if you have two factor auth setup, make sure you have your second device ready to go.
  5. From Mavericks, update the OS to Sierra (this is where the two factor verification came in).
  6. From Sierra, update to Mojave, which will update the file system to APFS.
  7. From Mojave, run Migration Assistant under Applications > Utilities, and copy over all your apps and files from the Time Machine backup (ext drive #1).

You're good to go!

Technically the second backup drive is not needed, but i am paranoid, and i was glad to be able to boot to that while i figured out all the steps. The above worked well.


I had Mojave 10.14.1 installed on a solid state drive with Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

  • I keep regular Time Machine backups, if you don’t, find a way to make your backup first, you’ll need it.
  • I shutdown my Mac Pro and unplugged my Apple Tower (which I choose to connect via LAN, instead of WiFi.
  • I booted into recovery mode, opened Disk Utility, and erased my drive using Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • I closed Disk Utility, choose to install new OS and on my machine it defaulted to Sierra.
  • After the install and auto-reboot, I went to the apple site to upgrade and Catalina was offered. I knew I could find High Sierra, but chose adventure instead. I downloaded Catalina and was allowed to choose my drive and install. The process said nothing of APFS.
  • After the Catalina install and auto-reboot, I opened Disk Utility to check the drive format. The drive was APFS.
  • I then shut down, reconnected my Apple Tower, restarted in recovery mode, went to Terminal and turned sleep off for everything, chose to restore from time machine backup, entered my time machine password, chose the backup to use (which reflected the old OS version), selected my HD, and clicked Erase Disk when prompted.

  • After my time capsule recovery was complete, I did have to re-upgrade to Catalina.

  • Hi @Denah! I formatted the answer a little bit and removed some extraneous commentary while preserving macOS details. tour and help center can better explain why I did that. Thanks for the answer though!
    – anki
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 21:17

Yes, you can go for APFS, even any old flash drives, for example, 4gb or 8gb.

You can convert it into APFS, done through Disk Utility.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different and thank you for your answer. :) Unfortunately, short answers such as this don't really provide enough detail or context to help many users. If possible, it'd be good if you could add some more info, such as how to actually use Disk Utility to do this, rather than just telling the user to do a Google search? Also, you may want to read How to Answer for tips on providing good answers here.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 23:09

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