[Solved] ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on December 20th, 2018 |

My machine is a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012) with APFS formatted Kingston 480Gb SSD, running the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. Yesterday, the machine couldn't be started. When I tried to reboot a few times and it showed me the same prohibitory symbol. I decided to boot into verbose mode and the last message I got is: "ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle".

Lots of people ask for help because their Mac won't boot and get error message in verbose mode: "ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle". If you are suffering from the similar problem, here's your solutions.

This article talks about:
Part I: Why APFS system volume handle could not be found?
Part II: How to recover data after getting "ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle"?
Part III: How to fix "ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle"?

Why APFS system volume handle could not be found?

When "Could not find APFS system volume handle" error pops up, it indicates your Mac can't locate and mount the APFS system volume. APFS system volume contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to start macOS. If it is lost due to some reasons, your Mac won't boot. This error frequently happens after macOS Mojave or High Sierra update. The causes can be virus attacks, sudden power failure, damaged file system, etc.

How to recover data after getting "could not find APFS system volume handle" error

Please don't worry about your data, as the data remains intact on the Mac computer. But your data is fragile, even the file system repair process will damage them. So it's high time to recover data from unbootable APFS system volume.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is one of the best APFS data recovery software, which is able to recover data from unbootable Mac computer, recover data from corrupted APFS boot drives, etc. It can create a bootable disk from which you can regain access to your Mac computer and then recover data.

Besides, iBoysoft Data Recovery also recovers data from HFS+, HFSX, exFAT, FAT32 hard disk, external hard drive, SSD, fusion drive, USB drive, flash drive, SD card, memory card, etc. It is compatible with almost all macOS and OS X, ranging from macOS Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13 and OS X 10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Solution 1: If you have only one unbootable Mac computer

If you have only one Mac computer, please directly run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery in recovery mode and recover lost data from the unbootable Mac computer.

  1. Reboot this Mac and press Command +Option +R keys.
  2. Click Utilities and select Terminal from the drop-down menu.
  3. Recover Data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server

  4. Type in the following command and press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.
    s='/private/var/tmp/boot.sh' && curl -o $s http://boot.iboysoft.com/boot.sh && chmod 777 $s && $s
  5. Recover Data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server

  6. Follow the wizard to recover your data from the Mac hard drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Solution 2: If you have two Mac computers

Step 1: Download iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on another Mac computer.

Step 2: Install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 4: Insert a USB drive into your Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: Follow the wizard to create a bootable recovery drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: After that, please insert iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable USB drive into the unbootable Mac computer, and then press the Power button and Option key (⌥) to start the computer up.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 7: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options.

Step 8: Follow the wizard to scan for lost data on the APFS system volume.

Step 9: Choose the files you want to get back, and then click Recover button.

How to fix "ERROR! Could not find APFS system volume handle"?

After retrieving lost data from APFS system volume, you can repair the volume and reboot the Mac computer.

Solution 1: Run First Aid in Recovery Mode

Step 1: Restart your Mac, press and hold Command+R keys till it starts up.

Step 2: From the Utilities menu, select Disk Utility.

Step 3: Select the disk or partition that you installed macOS High Sierra.

Step 4: Click on First Aid on the top.

Step 5: Click Done and restart your Mac.

Solution 2: Erase the APFS system volume and reinstall macOS

Step 1: Boot to Recovery OS by restarting Mac and pressing & holding down Command + R keys at startup.

Step 2: Launch Disk Utility from Utilities.

Step 3: Select the APFS system volume and click "Erase" on the top.

Step 4: Provide a name and a format to format the drive.

Step 5: Wait until the process finished.

Step 6: Go back to Utilities, choose Reinstall macOS and follow the guidance until the re-installation completes.

Katrina

Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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