What's the recommended formatting for a startup HDD Mac drive? I guess HFS+ is a better option as APFS is more suited for SSDs?

Any recommendations much welcome.

  • IIRC macOS Mojave and later will only install to APFS, so you do not have choice as it converts HFS+ to APFS during the install. macOS High Sierra can run from an HFS+ volume; however it will not install to HFS+ on an internal drive, you have to install it to a small HFS+ Flash Drive, and start the install from the command line passing it the right argument not to convert, then image it to the internal drive. When I say small, it's one that is not much bigger than what it takes to install it. As to any other previous versions, I wouldn't run them as my primary OS anymore, so I have not tested. Dec 9, 2019 at 23:54
  • Thanks for your answer. Are you sure you can't install High Sierra to HFS+ on mechanical HDDs? I think it's just SSDs that would unavoidably convert to APFS. Dec 12, 2019 at 20:29
  • There used to be a --converttoapfs NO option for ../Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall but it did not work for me on my MBP, but installing to a small external flash drive it did, so I then cloned the external drive to the internal drive to keep HFS+. YMMV Dec 12, 2019 at 20:44
  • I mean just doing a normal install, not using Terminal etc. All I'd like to know is if you're given the option to preserve HFS+ during 10.13 install or upgrade. Thanks :) Dec 12, 2019 at 22:04
  • NO, you are not given an option! Dec 12, 2019 at 22:12


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