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I had a major hard drive failure, so I have replaced the HDD on my MacBook mid 2012 13" model with another 1TB. I was running latest version of "Mojave" MacOS.

I go to restore from the time machine (TM) backup and I am being told that it will only now restore to an SSD drive because APFS systems can only be restored to SSDs. I wasn't even aware that my Time Machine was doing backups in APFS.

So I am really stuck here. Is this Apple's very unsubtle way of telling me to buy a new MacBook with an SSD drive to be able to keep using TM backups and other system features? Like planned obsolescence? Or have I done something wrong? The full message that comes up when I do the CMS + R recovery boot and try to restore from TM:

The system can't be restored onto this disk because APFS systems can only be restored to internal SSDs. Reinstall MacOS on this disk and then use Migration Assistant to transfer data from your backup instead.

  • Did you try what it said? Install the OS first via Internet Recovery, then migrate from Time Machine as part of the initial setup. – Tetsujin Jun 21 at 8:19
  • I did try that and it failed. Strangely enough, I attempted internet recovery mode and then tried a TM restore and it worked! Just that my keychain login entry was screwed when I logged in my account and computer now just freezes/hangs. – Ryan Coolwebs Jun 22 at 6:20
  • That is odd, because TimeMachine can only do backups onto HFS volumes at the moment: support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/… – n1000 Jun 24 at 9:35
  • @n1000 tell me about it! I ended having to create a new Admin account and moving all the files over. Such a mess dealing with all the configurations and such. My Apple ID is now also messed up and does not want to sign in. On my minimac, no issues though. Right now, I think I'd completely jump to Linux if it wasn't for developing in iOS. – Ryan Coolwebs Jun 24 at 15:48
  • Sorry to hear. So the sentence "I wasn't even aware that my Time Machine was doing backups in APFS." seems to be wrong. Maybe ask another question about the issues that you encountered with the Migration Assistant. In the past I have been quite impressed with the good job it did migrating my data. – n1000 Jun 24 at 15:54

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