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My 2015 MacBook Pro has become unbootable after software update for 10.14.5 failed to install. Because I do not have a recent backup, I would like to create a disk image of the entire boot disk. However when booting an external device, mounting the MBP in target disk mode, and selecting New Image from the file menu of Disk Utility.app, the option is grayed out. As seen in the screenshot shown below. Can anyone suggest why it is unavailable?

https://imgur.com/a/CVzvWfU

  • If I select my main disk, I am getting the same disabled entry. So it might be an APFS thing, because it's encrypted or just because of the way it's mounted. – Eric Darchis May 31 at 9:51
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You can not create a disk image of a APFS volume. Your closest two alternatives are as follows.

Note: Under the View pulldown menu in the Disk Utility window, make sure Show All Devices is selected, as shown below.

  • The first alternative would be to image the APFS container of the APFS volume. All volumes in the container must be unmounted in order to image.

    In the image shown below, Macintosh HD is a APFS volume. With the Macintosh HD volume highlighted as shown below, click on the Unmount button.

    The image below shows the Macintosh HD volume as unmounted.

    After highlighting this volumes's APFS container, this container was select to image from the menu bar, as shown below.

    In the popup shown below, the file name for the image was changed to Macintosh HD. (The actual file name will be Macintosh HD.dmg.) The location for the image file was changed to the Documents folder. Also, the format was changed to compressed.

    Click on the Save button to create the image.

    Note: The commands given below could have been used in place of the Disk Utility application.

    diskutil unmountdisk disk2
    hdiutil create -srcdevice /dev/disk2 ~/Documents/Macintosh\ HD
    
  • The second alternative would be to image the root folder of the APFS volume. The volume must be mounted in order to image.

    Select to Image from Folder... from the menu bar, as shown below.

    In the popup, highlight the Macintosh HD volume, as shown below. Next, click on the Choose button.

    In the popup shown below, the location for the image file was changed to the Documents folder. The format should be compressed.

    Click on the Save button to create the image. In this case, you may be prompted for your password.

    Note: The command given below could have been used in place of the Disk Utility application.

    hdiutil create -srcfolder /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD ~/Documents/Macintosh\ HD
    
  • For several minutes I was very confused by your advice, because my Disk Utility is showing only the un-image-able volumes, not the devices or containers. But apparently there's an option in under View in the Disk Utility toolbar which allows you to view everything, which I guess must be set to volumes by default. Upon changing, I get a list like yours and can image the disk. So basically that's solved. Thanks! (But in case others may end up in my shoes, maybe your answer could also mention this) – ziggurism May 31 at 14:10
  • @ziggurism: Done. Thanks for the input. – David Anderson May 31 at 14:27

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