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Convert to APFS Option is not Available or Greyed Out in macOS

Updated on Friday, June 24, 2022

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

The "Convert to APFS" Option is Greyed Out or not Available, How to Fix it?

Summary: This article will show you how to fix the "Convert to APFS" option greyed out or not available in the Disk Utility issue. Before fixing and converting your drive to APFS, please make sure that you have backed up all important data. You can also free download iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac computers to get lost data back.

Convert to APFS option not available

Table of Contents:

Overview of Apple File System (APFS)

It's hard to believe that Apple's speedy Macs have used a file system that was developed more than 30 years ago. In 2017, Apple released macOS 10.13 High Sierra. One of the notable features of the macOS High Sierra is the introduction of the APFS file system, which has replaced HFS+, also known as Mac OS Extended (Journaled ), as the default file system of Apple Mac.

APFS on mac

APFS is a modern file system for all Apple products, such as iPhones and iPad. Yeah, pedal to the metal. APFS has a number of features that set it apart from older file systems, including clones, volume, full disk encryption, space sharing, sparse files, etc. It is also optimized for future use, like smarter backups and faster updates.

How can you convert to APFS?

Many people want to convert to APFS and enjoy its benefits. There are two ways to convert to the APFS file system. If your device supports upgrading to macOS Monterey, High Sierra, Mojave, or Catalina, your internal disks will automatically convert to APFS. 

If the automatic conversion failed on the internal hard disk or you want to convert an external device to APFS, you need to take some additional measures via Disk Utility to convert to APFS manually. You can simply right-click the volume and choose the "Convert to APFS" option in the Disk Utility window.

Problem - Convert to APFS is greyed out or not available in Disk Utility

But there are times when the “Convert to APFS” is greyed out on Mac, or there is no "Convert to APFS" option. Let's start with a true example:

Hi, I installed High Sierra on a 2012 Mac Mini this morning and it did not convert SSD to APFS. Did a few searches and found that if you restart with Command + R and select Disk Utility the Edit sub-menu offers the chance to convert. Unfortunately in my case, the Convert to APFS option is greyed out and (obviously) can't be selected. Anyone have any ideas what to do to convert the SSD to APFS?

Actually, there are numerous reasons why the "Convert to APFS" is not available or greyed out in Disk Utility. What to do if this happens? Just keep reading!

How to fix the Convert to APFS is greyed out or not available issue?

There are some restrictions to convert drives or volumes to APFS on Mac. In other words, the "Convert to APFS" option is not available or it is greyed out for all types of drives/volumes. There are some basic rules.

Case 1: "Convert to APFS" option is not available for a disk conversion

Apple enables us to format/erase the entire disk to APFS. When comes to Convert to APFS, we are talking about single volumes in that drive. So, the "Convert to APFS" is only available when you right-click on a volume, otherwise, the “Convert to APFS” will be greyed out or not available.

Solution: Select volumes one by one rather than a disk to convert to APFS.

Step 1: Insert the disk you want to convert to the APFS file system.

Step 2: Launch Disk Utility on your Mac.

Step 3: Locate the disk you inserted in the left menu bar of Disk Utility.

Step 4: Right-click one volume of the disk, and select Convert to APFS… in the dropdown menu.

convert to APFS in Disk Utility

Case 2: "Convert to APFS" option is available for Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volumes

Until now, Apple only supports converting Mac OS Extended to APFS, i.e. converting HFS+ to APFS. If your drive is formatted with other file systems, such as NTFS, FAT, and exFAT, there is no Convert to APFS option or APFS format option on Mac is not available.

Solution: To fix the "Convert to APFS" not available or greyed out issue, you need to first confirm whether it is formatted with Mac OS Extended. If not, you need to format it to Mac OS Extended and then implement the APFS format work.

  1. Insert the disk and launch Disk Utility on your Mac.
  2. Locate the right-click volume you want to erase to Mac OS Extended.
  3.  Select Erase… button in the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter the volume name and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) in Format.format to macOS Extended Journaled
  5. Click Erase to proceed with your action.

 Note: Formatting a volume will permanently erase all data stored on it, please make sure you have backed up all important information before formatting. If you format the volume before backing up, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a superior tool to rescue your data.

Case 3: Convert to APFS is available for GPT drives

HFS+ can exist on both MBR and GPT drives, but APFS is only for GPT drives. So if you have an HFS+ drive with the MBR schedule, when you want to convert one of the volumes of the drive to APFS, there is no "Convert to APFS" option on your Mac.

Solution: Under this circumstance, you will have no choice but to reformat the MRB drive to a GPT drive and then convert the volumes of the external drive to APFS.

  1. Insert the external drive and back up your all crucial files.
  2. Run Disk Utility on your Mac computer and right-click the external drive.
  3. Select Erase… in the dropdown menu.
  4. Type the name and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) in the Format box.select macOS Extended Journaled when Erase drive
  5. Select GUID Partition Map in Scheme.select GUID Partition Map in Disk Utility
  6. Click Erase to confirm your action.

 

Case 4: Convert to APFS is available for mounted volumes

If one volume can't be mounted, its file system of it might have been corrupted and can't be recognized by the Mac operating system. As a result, the "Convert to APFS" option will be not available or greyed out, and you are not allowed to convert to APFS. In this case, you need to erase or reformat the volume to APFS, which will wipe out all the data stored on it.

Solution 1: Reformat your drive to APFS

If you have no important data in that volume, you can reformat it to APFS directly.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility. And then click the "View" menu in the upper left corner and choose "Show All Devices".

select Show All Devices in Disk Utility

Step 2: Find the drive that you want to format to APFS and select it. Click "Erase" at the top of the window.

Step 3: Select "GUID Partition Map" at Scheme, then complete the name and choose the format (APFS).

Step 4: Click "Erase" and wait until the conversion process finishes.

Solution 2: Recover lost data and then reformat it to APFS

If you have important data in that volume that is not mountable, or unfortunately you have lost data in the process of fixing this issue, here is the solution to recover the data.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery deserves the best APFS data recovery software which offers the most comprehensive solutions for APFS data recovery. This all-in-one data recovery software can recover lost data from encrypted drives, recover lost data from formatted, unmountable, unreadable, inaccessible hard drives, external hard drives, and USB flash drives and recover lost data from deleted/lost partitions as well.

Tutorial to recover lost data from APFS drives with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

Tips: If you lost data on the startup drive, you should find an external drive and download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to avoid overwriting the original data.

Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac and select the APFS drive that you have lost files.

Recover lost data from APFS drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

Step 3: Click "Next" to search for all lost files on the drive.

choose a APFS partition and click Next to recover data

Step 4: Preview the listed files, choose those you want and click the "Recover" button to get them back.

preview the lost data and recover the data

Step 5: Have a check to ensure you have got the lost files back. In addition to, APFS data recovery, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can also recover deleted/lost documents, videos, audios, emails, and pictures from HFSX, HFS, HFS+, exFAT, and FAT32 drives on macOS 12 Monterey/macOS Big Sur 11/10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7 and works fine on M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max Mac.

Case 5: Hardware restrictions (not confirmed)

Technically, APFS conversion doesn't have any hardware restrictions. Apple developer claims in the FAQ: "Apple File System is optimized for flash/SSD storage, but can also be used with traditional hard disk drives (HDD) and external, direct-attached storage". But it's still controversial as many people have complained the "Convert to APFS" option is only available for SSDs, instead of fusion drives or HD.

Conclusion

This article has analyzed why the "Convert to APFS" option is not available or greyed out and how to solve this issue. This is not a transcend issue but it happens with a disk from any manufacturer. As APFS is a new file system, the conversion to APFS is unstable and restricted. What you should do is follow these rules strictly.

If this article helped you solve this problem or you have any other solutions to fix this issue, then please share with us. Thanks a lot!