How to fix 'checking APFS fsroot tree stuck' error on macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra?

Summary: Disk Utility reports "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" when performing First Aid on the APFS drive? Here is how to fix this issue without losing data with the assistance of iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

By Juno | Posted to Mac Data Recovery Tips, updated on March 20th, 2019 |

When you are checking APFS drives with Disk Utility on macOS High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina, one of the most common errors that Mac users may include "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" and "fsroot tree is invalid" error in First Aid. What does this mean? How can you fix this error without losing data if you encounter such problem? This article will go in detail about this error and share an easy method to fix "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error with you.

Table of contents
1. What is the "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error in macOS?
2. The best solution to “checking APFS fsroot tree stuck” error
3. Bottomline

"I ran a quick First Aid with Disk Utility today just to make sure everything is running smoothly on my Mac. Unfortunately, the Disk utility got stuck, so I gave Disk Utility a good 10-15 minutes before I decided to force shut down my Mac. Nothing is changed when I reboot it. Can any Apple genius tell me what happened and how can I fix “fsroot tree is invalid” error when checking APFS fsroot tree stuck?"

--Question from Apple Communities

Now, let's start with the First thing:

What exactly the "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" means in macOS?

Disk Utility is a system utility for performing disk- and volume-related tasks on the macOS operating system by Apple Inc. This tool is useful when Mac users need to partition a disk, create a disk image, check for and repair errors on your disks and volumes. Its convenience is performed by First Aid in particular. However, you may have met this "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error during checking your APFS SSD or HHD. Then, what is this mysterious fsroot tree?

checking APFS fsroot tree stuck

In the file system of an APFS drive, there is a root directory (fsroot directory) which is the first or top-most directory in a hierarchy. It can be likened to the trunk of a tree, as the starting point where all branches originate from, that's to say, all users-created directories will be subdirectories.

When you check and repair an APFS drive, First Aid will verify the directories of this drive. But if your screen is stuck with checking APFS fsroot tree too long or even received the message that "fsroot tree is invalid", it means that the macOS is failed to find the subdirectories and consequently, you will not be able to access data on this drive.

But don't worry. Your files stored on this APFS drive are still there and waiting for your recovery.

The best solution to "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error

Since this issue is connected to file system, the best solution would be reformatting which fix this error by assigning a new file system.

Warning: Reformatting will erase all your data on this drive, so please make sure that you have a copy of your important data backup before reformatting.

If you have no backup of this drive and you want to lose these important files, you still can recover your inaccessible data from the APFS drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, and then fix this "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error by reformatting.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is one of the best APFS data recovery software that can recover deleted/lost files from APFS drives, recover lost data from formatted APFS hard drives, inaccessible APFS drives, unreadable APFS drives, corrupted APFS drives, encrypted APFS volume, and recover deleted/lost APFS partitions, etc. This tool performs well in recovering data from unmountable/inaccessible hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, etc. Mac data recovery is allowed in macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Step 1:Recover lost data from the inaccessible APFS drive

1. Download and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer.

install APFS data recovery software

2. Select the inaccessible APFS drive in the drive list and click on the "Next" button to start scanning for your data on this drive.

select the APFS drives to recover

Tips: If you don't find the desired APFS partition in the first interface, you can click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the upper right corner to find more APFS partition.

3. Preview the searching results and choose files you want to get back.

preview files in this APFS drives

4. Click on the "Recover" button to get your files back and save them to another healthy drive.

5. Go and check the recovered files to ensure you have regained them all.

Step 2:Fix "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error by reformatting

1. Go to Utilities and launch Disk Utility.

2. Click "View all devices" in View option and then select the dumb APFS drive on the left part of the window.

3. Click Erase on the top of the Disk Utility window.

4. Complete related information (name, format, scheme) as the wizard asked.

5. Click Erase to finish reformatting.


If losing files on this APFS drive is not a hassle for you, you can simply jump to Step 2 to fix this "checking APFS fsroot tree stuck" error. But if you're afraid of missing anything important in the future, backing up important files is always more economical and secure than recovering with software.

You may also meet these problems:
• How to fix 'APFS object map is invalid' error
• How to fix 'fsroot tree is invalid' error
• How to fix 'APFS volume superblock is invalid' error
• How to fix 'APFS snapshot metadata tree is invalid' error

Still have questions?