I have just newly bought an external drive (not SSD), and was planning to create several partitions on it, for example to keep my files separate from Time Machine backups.

However, when browsing through the Disk Utility help guides, I found the following paragraph:

However, with APFS, you shouldn’t partition your disk in most cases. Instead, create multiple APFS volumes within a single partition.

I don't need the files or the disk to be compatible with any other operating system – in that case, would it be the recommended option to set the disk format to APFS and then create "multiple APFS volumes" instead of a partition?

Or does the recommendation in the help guide not apply to regular external drives?

  • 1
    You'll need to format as HFS+ for Time Machine always, plus APFS is more meant for SSDs than HDs, unless you have a specific use case for using APFS? Commented May 15, 2020 at 20:09
  • Is this drive going to be used for backing up files manually or Time Machine? Also, the best thing to do with APFS is to use APFS Space Sharing within one APFS Container. support.apple.com/en-sg/guide/system-information/sysp560a2952/…
    – Todd
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 21:35
  • @Todd I wanted to do both on one disk, which is why I was planning to create a partition.
    – Run_Script
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 10:08
  • @At0mic No, there's no reason why I would need APFS in particular. I just read that recommendation in the help guide and also heard that it was easier to change the size of an APFS volume than the size of a partition, so wondered if this was now the recommended method. But if APFS is meant more for SSDs, I'll probably stick to partitions (which I have more experience with).
    – Run_Script
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 10:11
  • 1
    @Run_Script You should format your External Drive as HFS+ and you should convert your internal drive to APFS, if it wasn’t already. Then you can use APFS space sharing on the internal drive and partitions on the HFS drive.
    – Todd
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 16:21


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .