As the latest file system of apple, APFS is still not immune to unexpected crash. Even a volume/disk formatted with APFS, you will find it crashed/dead/failed sometimes. What's worse is that the APFS system volume fails for any unknown reason. As a result, your Mac won't boot at all and you are unable to get access to all data on the computer.
In fact, that happens quite often after an unsuccessful system update or system crash. The Mac system provides a system recovery option, while such an operation may write over the original data and permanently destroy it. So before repairing the system, it's reasonable to recover important files back.
This passage will give you step-by-step guidance on how to recover lost data from failed/damaged/dead/crashed APFS system volume.
How to recover lost data from failed/dead/damaged APFS system volume?
It's not easy to find an APFS data recovery program that can recover lost data from unbootable Mac computer. iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a powerful bootable data recovery software as well to boot your Mac without running OS and help recover lost data as much as possible. It can recover lost data from failed/dead/damaged APFS system volumes, recover lost data after Mojave update failed, recover lost data from failed internal Mac hard drives, recover lost data from corrupted APFS boot drives, recover lost data from unmountable APFS boot volumes, etc.
Besides, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac works well in different APFS data loss scenarios, which is able to recover lost data from APFS encrypted volumes, recover lost data from formatted APFS drives, recover lost data from unmountable APFS drives, recover lost data from inaccessible APFS drives, recover lost data from corrupted APFS drives, recover lost data from deleted/lost APFS partitions, etc. It also supports data recovery from HFS+, HFSX, FAT32, exFAT file systems.
Solution 1: If you have only one unbootable Mac computer
Have only one Mac computer? Don't worry. You can easily run iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac in macOS Recovery mode and recover lost data from failed APFS system volume. This method is highly recommended as it saves your time and effort.
Step 1: Click the Power button to turn on the Mac, and immediately press COMMAND+OPTION+R keys until you see the spinning globe. This will boot your Mac into macOS Recovery mode.
Step 2: Choose a network for your Mac. You need to make your Mac connected to the Internet all the time.
Step 3: Go to Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar to open Terminal.
Note: If your Mac hasn't connect to internet, you need to choose a WiFi network in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Step 4: Type these command lines as below and press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac through iBoysoft Server.
sh <(curl http://boot.iboysoft.com/boot.sh)
Step 5: Once you launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, you need to choose the failed APFS system volume and click the "Next" button. This program will start scanning for lost files on the drive.
Step 6: Preview the scanning results, and choose the files you want to get back.
Step 7: Click the "Recover" button. You need to specify a different location to store the recovered files.
Solution 2: If you have two Mac computers
Step 1: Download iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac below on another Mac computer.
Step 2: Install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.
Step 3: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".
Step 4: Insert a USB drive into your Mac computer and choose it to create a boot drive.
Note: This process will erase all data on the USB drive. So please be sure to make a backup if there're important files.
Step 5: Click "Make bootable" and the creation process will start immediately.
Step 6: After that, please insert iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac bootable USB drive into unbootable Mac computer, and then press the Power button and Option key (⌥) to start the computer up.
Step 7: Select iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac from the boot options.
Note: If you're running macOS Mojave or earlier, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac will launch immediately when your Mac boots up. But, if your Mac is running macOS Catalina, you need two additional steps to launch this program.
Step 8: Wait for your Mac to boot up, open "Terminal" application from "Utilities" drop-down menu.
Step 9: Run the following command:
Step 10: Follow the wizard to scan for lost data on the failed/dead/damaged APFS system volumes.
Step 11: Choose the files you want to get back, and then click Recover button.
How to fix failed APFS system volume?
After data recovery, you may think about how to fix the failed APFS system volume. Just follow the solutions below:
Solution 1: Run First Aid in macOS Recovery mode
Step 1: Boot to macOS Recovery mode by restarting Mac and pressing and holding down Command + R keys at startup.
Step 2: From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility.
Step 3: From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility.
Step 4: Select the failed APFS system volume.
Step 5: Click First Aid on the top menu bar.
Step 6: Click Done and restart your Mac.
Solution 2: Use fsck in Single User Mode
Step 1: Restart your Mac and, before the Apple logo appears, hold down Command and S keys. This will boot your Mac into Single User Mode.
Step 2: 2. Type in: /sbin/fsck -fy.
Step 3: If you see "File system was modified", then re-type in the command again until you see "The volume _ appears to be OK".
Step 4: Type in reboot to restart your Mac.
Solution 3: Reformat the failed 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.
After re-installation, your Mac computer can be used again and you can restore your recovered files to the volume again.