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Trying to create an external USB thumb drive to run macOS Monterey from but first needs to be APFS, using macOS 10.12.6 Sierra; I don't have an option from Disk Utility to format with APFS. I followed instructions using this code:

diskutil apfs createContainer /dev/nameofmydisk

but I got an error:

diskutil: did not recognize APFS verb "createContainer"; type "diskutil apfs" for a list

I did type list and got:

Usage:  diskutil [quiet] ap[fs] <verb> <options>
        where <verb> is as follows:
     list               (Show status of all current APFS Containers)
     deleteContainer    (Delete an APFS Container and reformat old disks to HFS)
     deleteVolume       (Remove an APFS Volume from its APFS Container)
     unlockVolume       (Unlock an encrypted APFS Volume which is locked)
diskutil apfs <verb> with no options will provide help on that verb

I am not sure what to do from then on and what this all means.

Basically, I do not want to update my OS on my computer, I want to run Monterey from an external drive USB thumb since it'd be easier to transport, and basically, because this is what I have at the moment because I don't actually care about having a new version of OS except for the fact that there are some tasks I can't perform on my Mac because of the OS is too old, and those tasks are not as relevant to me as it is to preserver my current system as it is.

As an example, I can't connect/transfer files to my new iPhone 13 through the Mac because the iPhone 13 requires to have at least a specific version of iTunes that I can't install on Sierra and a few other ones.

My machine is a MacBook Pro 2016 15".

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  • Let's go one step back. I suspect you have presented an issue (APFS formatting under Sierra) which may not be relevant to your overall aim. What is it you want to do with this thumb drive? And one step further back, what is your overall task?
    – Gilby
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 10:33
  • Also, most Macs needed a firmware update between Sierra & Mojave, which would be applied at the time of original update. idk what happens if that's not in place. [I also would very seriously re-consider the choice to run an OS from a USB stick. To call it glacially slow would be doing a disservice to the speed of glaciers, which would be comparitively scampering down the valleys ;) Geologically slow might be closer.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 11:18
  • Could the title be changed to I have a Mac and want to take it from sierra to Monterrey and I have an external USB drive if needed? It seems you are asking about a first step and didn’t explain the end goal. If that is your end goal, if you tell us you have a 2017 MacBook Pro (or whatever model) that will help us help you.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 11:49
  • Yeah so basically i do not want to update my OS on my computer, i want to run Monterey from an external drive, USB Thumb since it'd be easier to transport and basically because is what i have at the moment, because i don't actually care about having a new version of OS except for the fact that there's some tasks i can't perform on my mac because of the OS being too old, and those tasks are not as relevant to me as it is to preserver my current system as it is.
    – julianlede
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 15:41
  • As an example, I can't connect/transfer files to my new iPhone 13 through the Mac because the iPhone 13 requires to have at least a specific version of iTunes that i can't install on Sierra, and few other ones.
    – julianlede
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 15:41

1 Answer 1

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I understand this is not what @julianlede is wanting. I will seek a bit more clarification before redoing this answer.

APFS in Sierra was pre-release, not to be used except for experiments and tests. Have a read of How to format APFS on Sierra.

It includes sections:

  • Why You Probably Don’t Want to Use APFS Yet
  • APFS Limitations in macOS Sierra
  • How to Format a Drive as APFS in macOS Sierra

The last section does tell you how to format as APFS using diskutil. But I don't think it will be much use as a system disk for Monterey.

But two alternatives:

  • Boot into Internet Recovery and, from there, erase the external disk and install Monterey.
  • Download Monterey installation app and create a bootable USB flash drive (at least 16GB). Boot that to erase the external disk and install Monterey. This is what I would do.

And you really need a true external SSD (not a thumb drive) to run Monterey.

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  • Thanks but I'm not sure I understand, I don't intend to use mac OS Sierra on the USB thumb, I'm actually trying to format it as APFS because it's required in order to instal Monterey onto it, as I understand. In fact, I have downloaded the Monterey installer and when I try to install it on the USB Thumb drive i get a message saying "This drive is not formatted with APFS" hence that's why I'm trying to format it this way. Why is it that you say: you really need a true external SSD (not a thumb drive) to run Monterey? and But I don't think it will be much use as a system disk for Monterey.?
    – julianlede
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 7:35
  • Do you want to boot Monterey from a thumb drive, or just put the installer on it? If the former, it will be a terrible experience, just not quick enough. Is it really a thumb drive or an external SSD? You really need to clarify your intentions in your question, not in comments. Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 11:57
  • Thanks you I added a comment and updated the post explaining the goal and the reason.
    – julianlede
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 15:48

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