Backing Out Of APFS

Apple introduced their new APFS file system in the High Sierra OS. It had a lot of bugs, but is very much improved in the new Mojave OS. However, according to some people, there is still room for improvement to APFS even in Mojave. This has led people to remove APFS formatting from their drives and back installing the older HFS+ file system. If you have an APFS formatted drive you would like to re-format, read on. There is a bit of a trick to it.

Disk Utility & APFS

For the most part Mac people use the builtin Disk Utility App for disk management. It has had it’s up’s and down’s over the years, but is suitable for most peoples needs. When people want to re-format an APFS drive they typically go to Disk Utility and then click on the “Volume” that they wish to format:

Disk Utility Volume

Then they click on the “Erase” command and are taken to this window:

Erase Window

But, when they click on the Format drop down they are only offered choices for the APFS format. There is a very simple solution for this. Remember, the APFS formatting system is structured in Volumes (lowest level), Containers (next level up) and Physical Devices (top level). To re-format an APFS drive to HFS+ you have to select the outer most Physical Device:

Physical Drive

Then, when you click on the Erase Tab and choose Format in the next window you are allowed all kinds of formatting choices. By the way, you do drive Partitioning at the Physical Device level as well.


I am sure many of you know this or have know it. However, sometimes when we get into the thick of it we forget the little things that work. Overall, I am satisfied with the APFS format, but if you are not, then you can always move back to HFS+ until APFS matures a little more.