How to recover data from unbootable APFS partition on macOS Mojave/High Sierra?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on May 24, 2018 |

I previously was dual booting macOS and Windows 7 on my MacBook but I also needed a Linux partition. So I tried to resize my Windows partition and made a new partition for Linux. When I booted back to macOS and added the unallocated space to the Mac partition (APFS), there was an error which said I couldn't create a new partition. So I restarted the computer, but I could only boot Windows (no Mac option). The bad news is that I haven't made any backup before. Can anyone tell me how to recover unbootable APFS partition on High Sierra?

Some advanced users always have multiple operating systems installed on a single Mac so that we can enjoy all functionality and professional features of different systems on one computer. But there are many drawbacks of having multiple operating systems. The major one is that one of operating systems becomes unbootable. Just like what happened above, due to the APFS partition not bootable issue, we can't turn on Mac operating system and all data on Mac is lost.

Apart from the above situation, APFS partition not bootable problem also occurs to anyone at any time. We are possible to meet it when installing High Sierra, or during our Mac computer startup, even when we don't make any change to Mac. This issue is caused by virus infection, human error, corruption of head file, bad sector, catalog files node corruption, failed hardware, etc.

How to recover data from unbootable APFS partition?

Most of us tend to panic when we face unbootable APFS partition, but we should make it clear that our previous data still on our hard drive and data recovery from unbootable APFS partition is so easy with a professional APFS data recovery program. iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, as the best APFS data recovery software, is high recommended to recover data from unbootable APFS partition.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is the best APFS data recovery software that can easily recover data from unbootable APFS partition, hard drive, Macintosh HD, external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card, etc. Besides, it can recover deleted/lost data from APFS partition, recover data from deleted APFS partition/container, etc. More importantly, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is the only one in the world that supports to recover data from encrypted APFS boot/startup drive.

Solution 1: Recover data with iBoysoft server

If you only have the Mac computer that refuses to work right now, you still can recover lost data from the unbootable APFS partition with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery online server.

  1. Reboot your Mac and press Command +Option +R keys immediately.
  2. Click Utilities in the top menu and select Terminal from the drop-down menu.
  3. Type: curl -o /tmp/ && chmod 777 /tmp/ && /tmp/ and press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.
  4. Recover Data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server

  5. After launching iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, please select the drive you want to recover data from and click Next button.
  6. select the unbootable APFS drive

  7. Preview and choose the files you want to get back and click Recover button.
  8. preview and recover data from Mac with iBoysoft Data Recovery bootable media


Solution 2: Recover data with iBoysoft bootable media

If you have another healthy Mac computer, there is another way to recover data from the unbootable APFS partition. All you need is a usable USB flash drive and another compatible Mac.

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.

Note: This process will erase all data on the USB drive. So please be sure to make a backup if there're important files.

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 unbootable APFS partition.

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

Aside from APFS data recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery also supports to recover data from drives formatted as other file systems (HFS+, FAT32, exFAT, etc.). With this tool, we will no longer be annoyed by data loss, no matter losing data are documents, videos, audios, pictures, etc.


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

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