I'm trying to erase the internal SSD on my Mac as when the computer boots up it goes haywire and stops responding. I've got a Mac installer on USB, but I cannot erase the drive.

When I try to erase the disk it says You cannot manually format an existing APFS Container disk

I've tried deleting the APFS Containers and Volumes as much as I can

Please look at the screenshot of terminal for what it says. I'd be really grateful if anyone can help.

enter image description here

  • 2
    From the screenshot it seems that you booted from the internal disk, so you can't change it. Try to install macOS on an internal drive first, and boot from there; or boot into Recovery.
    – nohillside
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 10:42
  • Could you try to copy/paste what you see in Terminal instead of adding a screenshot? Some parts are not really readable
    – Thinkr
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


Type: diskutil apfs list to find all the containers on your disk.

Once you have them, use diskutil apfs deleteVolume /dev/disk[NUM]s[NUM] to delete volume.

then, diskutil apfs deleteContainer /dev/disk[NUM].

If everything is working properly, your disk's file system should now be back to JHFS.

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