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After moving from macOS to a Linux-based distribution, I benefit from deciding to have most of my backups on HFS+ partitions (with journaling disabled using a program that changes the value of kHFSVolumeJournaledBit later) early on during system configuration.

Unfortunately, I still decided to use some of my back drives as APFS and it contains two volumes. They (as of now) are not manipulable in GParted and I need to shrink the drive as I need to migrate data off a drive. This is all done on a Linux system as I no longer have the privilege of using a macOS system.

My first thought would be to convert it to HFS+, conversion clearly being possible due to the existence of Paragon's APFS to HFS+ Converter (which as of this writing is no longer available for download) and the fact that I don't think deduplication would have affected my files too much so space occupied shouldn't be too different.

I was considering running Paragon's tool within Darling but running alpha-level software to manipulate my (sole) backup is not on the top of my list and as far as I know, the converter does not have a CLI-only interface.

That being said, is there a (better) way to convert an APFS drive to an HFS+ (non Journaled) partition on Linux?

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Paragon Software has a product called APFS for Linux. This would allow read/writing to APFS without have to convert to HFS+. Evidently, you have to build and install the driver. So this would in theory work with any current Linux distribution. The only drawback is the APFS container would have to be pre Big Sur. In other words, the APFS container would have to never had Big Sur installed. Currently, Paragon Software is working to overcome this limitation.

Update: In a comment, the OP posted there exists a read-only FUSE driver (apfs-fuse) available that might be Big Sur compatible.

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  • Ick! I used Big Sur! I was looking for in-place conversion to HFS+, so I could convert it to NTFS, so that I could finally convert that to BTRFS (yes, it's convoluted and risky) and if I wanted to read APFS partitions, I'd use sgan81's apfs-fuse. But for those who want to daily drive APFS drives shared between Linux and macOS, Paragon Software's offerings would do excellently – Kittywhiskers Van Gogh Apr 28 at 7:56
  • It's problematic that reliable filesystem (due to their long-lasting nature and it's place as a central component) manipulation is platform-locked or reliant on third-party software from a small group of entities who specialize in it. The fact that FAT32 is the only near-universal filesystem (exFAT != FAT32) is disheartening. Making the specification public for something that could outlast support for the OS is important. The entire "convert to one format from another by copying, formatting and copying again" approach needs to be lost to history, not everyone has spare drives lying around – Kittywhiskers Van Gogh Apr 28 at 8:05
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    A spare drive does not cost that much. For the cost of APFS for Linux by Paragon Software, you could purchase an external Toshiba 1 TB HDD. I would just use sgan81's apfs-fuse to copy from APFS to whatever format you desire. – David Anderson Apr 28 at 8:13

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