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Just bought a mid-2014 MBP from ebay and I tried to update to Catalina but it said I need APFS to do that. I tried disk utility but the option is greyed out. I NEED a way to do it non-destructively. I have no way to backup my stuff as of right now.

Current OS - Mojave

Trying to update to - Catalina

Tried - Disk-Utility -> Edit -> Convert to APFS (Greyed out), lots of googling. Tried using diskutil apfs convert command but gave the error -69546

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    If you bought a MBP from ebay you really should do a clean install not try to upgrade it. – lx07 Oct 15 '19 at 20:26
  • To add to @lx07 ‘s warning… right now nothing on the Mac currently belongs to you, not even the OS itself. If the original owner ever changes their password or worse, locks the Mac remotely, you stand to lose more than if you clean install now. – Tetsujin Oct 15 '19 at 22:31
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You should be able to convert to APFS from HFS+ non-destructively through macOS Recovery - if your Mac has the required recovery partition. The usual method to boot to recovery is to hold down ⌘-R immediately after a power-up or reboot. Disk Utility will then become available through the Recovery mode GUI.

This site claims that the conversion will be non-destructive when done through Recovery mode. It covers High Sierra as the latest macOS because APFS was introduced with High Sierra and this was germane to users back then. I cannot find anything to contradict this assertion.

Your milage may vary.

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