"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.

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. Until 2017, Apple released macOS 10.13 High Sierra. One of the notable features of macOS High Sierra is the introduction of the APFS file system, which has replaced HFS+ as the default file system of Apple Mac.

APFS is a modern file system for all Apple products, such as iPhone 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, and things we haven't even thought about yet.

How can you convert to APFS?

Many people want to convert to APFS and enjoy its benefits. There are two ways to convert to APFS file system. If your device supports upgrading to macOS 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 Disk Utility.

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

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

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 drive to APFS.

Case 4: "Convert to APFS" option is available for mounted volumes

If one volume can't be mounted, the 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 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 the format (APFS).

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

Solution 2: Recover lost 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 lost 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, USB flash drives and recover lost 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 lost 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. 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 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 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. Apple developer claim 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.


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 to 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!

Still have questions?