"Convert to APFS" option is not available or greyed out, how to fix?

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on June 6th, 2018

Summary: This article will show you how to fix "Convert to APFS" option not available or greyed out in 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 Mac Data Recovery to get lost data back.

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?

Since macOS High Sierra, APFS has replaced HFS+ as the default file system of Apple Mac. When you install macOS High Sierra on SSD, it will be automatically converted to APFS from HFS+. If you meet the issue that the startup volume can't be converted to APFS automatically, or want to convert external drives to APFS, you can manually click "Convert to APFS" option in Disk Utility.

But there are times when the "Convert to APFS" option is not available or greyed out in Disk Utility. Then, how to fix it?

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

There are some restrictions to convert drives or volumes to APFS in Disk Utility. In other words, the "Convert to APFS" option is not available 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 a whole disk to APFS. When comes to Convert to APFS, we are talking about single volumes in that drive. So, the "Convert to APFS" option is only available when you right-click on a volume, otherwise, it will be greyed out in Disk Utility.

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

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, the "Convert to APFS" option will be greyed out or not available.

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

Case 3: "Convert to APFS" option is available for MBR drive

HFS+ can exist on both MBR and GPT drives, but APFS is only on GPT. If you have a MBR drive and want to convert to APFS, you will have no choice but to reformat MRB drive to GPT drive and then convert the volumes to APFS.

Case 4: "Convert to APFS" option is available for an unmounted volume

If one volume can't be mounted, the file system of it might have been corrupted and can't be recognized by 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 in it.

Solution 1: Reformat your drive to APFS

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

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

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 name and choose format (APFS).

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

Solution 2: Recover data and then reformat it to APFS

If you have important data in that volume which is not mountable, or unfortunately you have lost data in the process of fixing this issue, here is the solution to recover 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 data from encrypted drives, recover data from formatted, unmountable, unreadable, inaccessible drives and recover data from deleted/lost partitions as well.

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

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

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

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

Recover data from APFS drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

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

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

Step 5: Have a check to ensure you have got lost files back.

Except APFS data recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can also recover deleted/lost documents, videos, audios, emails, pictures from HFSX, HFS, HFS+, exFAT and FAT32 drives on macOS Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 and OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Case 5: Hardware restrictions (not confirmed)

Technically, APFS conversion doesn't have any hardware restrictions. Many people have discussed the "Convert to APFS" option not available or greyed out issue in different forums. Apple developer explains in 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".

Still have questions?