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[Tutorial]How to Add APFS Volume to Container on Mac

Updated on Tuesday, May 7, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


[Tutorial]How to Add APFS Volume to Container on Mac

Summary: This is a stepwise tutorial on how to add APFS volume to container in macOS. It also tells the difference between adding an APFS volume and partitioning an APFS volume on Mac.

add APFS volume

By default, there is only one APFS container that comes with the built-in SSD of your MacBook Air/Pro/iMac, and three are 6 volumes resident in the APFS container, but only the Macintosh HD, divided into Macintosh HD the system volume and Macintosh HD - Data the data volume, can be accessed by Mac users. 

All the files you created on Mac are kept in the Macintosh HD volume. And macOS allows you to add APFS volume to the container so that you can store files to the newly added volume to sort out data, install a different version of macOS on the volume to boot from it, etc. We will guide you on how to add AFPS volume to the container in this post.

APFS format explained

APFS(Apple file system) is a file system developed and deployed by Apple Inc. It applies to macOS High Sierra and later, iOS 10.3 and later, tvOS 10.2 and later, watchOS 3.2 and later, and all versions of iPadOS. 

APFS replaces the previous Mac OS Extended file system on Mac and becomes the default file system of internal SSD of MacBook Air/Pro/iMac. APFS features full disk encryption and file encryption, files and directories clone, space sharing within a container, etc.

Whether you can add APFS volume to the container

APFS introduces a new concept that is the container as the top-level entry on your MacBook SSD. If you want to add an APFS format volume to the container, it requires the container, and the whole drive should be formatted with APFS. 

Check whether it is an APFS container 

  1. Head to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
  2. Double-click Disk Utility to open it.
  3. Click on the View button and choose Show All Devices.
  4. On the left sidebar, choose the AppleAPFSMedia, the default name of the container.
  5. Check the details in the right column, the type should be APFS container if the format is APFS. 

The Macintosh HD volume group and other volumes inside the APFS container are all formatted with APFS. If so, you can proceed to add an APFS volume to the APFS container on your Mac.

Perhaps, the current file system of your Mac drive is not APFS, but the Mac OS Extended(HFS+), then you need to convert Mac OS Extended to APFS so that you can add an APFS volume to the container. But before that, you should make sure your Mac is running in macOS High Sierra and later versions.

Check whether the macOS is compatible with APFS

  1. Click on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner.
  2. Choose About This Mac from the Apple Menu.
  3. Select the Overview tab on the toolbar. It tells the current macOS installed on your Mac.check macOS version

If your Mac is running on a macOS older than macOS High Sierra, you can update macOS

  1. Open the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. Choose Software Update on the pane.
  3. Wait for automatically checking for updates. 
  4. Click Update Now if there is an available update.

Convert HFS+ to APFS  

If you want to change the file system of your Mac drive, you need to format the drive and assign APFS to it. However, formatting a drive will erase all the contents, you should back up your Mac to avoid data loss. After that, read the guide to converting HFS+ to APFS.

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How to add APFS volume on Mac step by step

To add APFS volume to the container on Mac, you will need the macOS built-in tool Disk Utility, where you can also delete APFS volumeerase APFS volume, repair disk error with First Aid, etc. Let's dive into the details.

  1. Open Disk Utility from the Launchpad App.
  2. Tap the View button and choose Show All Devices.
  3. Choose the APFS container on the left sidebar.
  4. Click the + button above the Volume on the toolbar.
  5. Enter a name for the new volume.
  6. Choose an APFS format, including APFS, APFS (Encrypted), APFS (Case-sensitive), and APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted).choose name and format for volume
  7. Click on the Size Options button to set the minimum storage for the volume, and limit the maximum storage the volume can allocate.size options
  8. Click on the OK and Add button to add this volume to the container.

Once the process finishes, the added volume shows up in the left sidebar under the APFS volume. Then you can store files on it, install another version of macOS on it, etc. 

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Difference between adding volume and partition

Before the advent of APFS, Mac users can only partition a drive, which divides the drive into several parts and allocates fixed storage for each partition. It causes a problem when you want to store a large file on one partition which the available space of it is not enough, but you can not "borrow" the free space on another partition. 

However, when you add volumes to the APFS container, all the volumes share the available storage space within the container. In this way, it maximizes the use of the disk space. The space sharing feature is one of the highlights of the APFS format. 


When you want to add APFS volume to the container, you can follow this guide. It needs your Mac to run in macOS High Sierra and later versions and format the internal Mac drive, usually the startup disk, as APFS format. Adding volume will not affect the data on the drive, but it is always recommended to back up your Mac before you take any further action on your drive.

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