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Updating from 10.13 to 10.15, is APFS now mandatory? Keeping HFS+

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in the past I updated my macos systems using that "keep hfs+" switches with the system updater (forgot how to do exactly).


I really want to keep my HFS+ partition scheme, because AFPS would totally mess up my backup system, too! I absolutely do not need the system partition separation either.


I read that mojave still worked on a "regular" HFS+ partition. Is this true for 10.15 and 10.16, too? Does anybody have experience with this?


Thanks for infos!

or you don't change macOS or if you switch to catalina or big sur you will necessarily have to adopt APFS

Mojave and later only support installation on APFS drives/partitions and no longer offer and support the no-conversion mode for HFS+; if you target an HFS+ partition during an installation of Mojave or later, it'll be automatically converted to APFS during the installation process.


Afaik, Mojave could be made to run on an HFS+ partition by imaging&restoring or cloning an initial (APFS) installation to an HFS+ partition or by using the trick of modifying the freshly installed minstallconfig XML file on 1st installation reboot (by booting the USB Installer again). Dozens -if not hundred- of existing topics/discussions on this matter on Mac and/or Hackintosh forums, just look it up really.


Since Catalina, macOS uses 2 x separate APFS volumes for increased security: 1 x locked system volume and 1 x unlocked data/user volume. Afaik, what was possible for Mojave is not for Catalina and later. These newer macOS versions only boot from APFS volumes. Some people spent substantial time on getting Catalina to work on MBR/HFS+ and, if they somehow got it to work, it was limited, buggy and prevented all OS updates. Again, you can look this up on Mac and Hackintosh forums where it was previously discussed. But wisdom dictates to consider this a dead-end.


APFS uses volumes within a container when HFS+ operates on partitions created directly on the disk. Several APFS volumes may exist within a single container or in separate containers. You could consider that containers are like physical partitions on the disk and volumes are like logical & dynamic drives within the containers, sharing the disk space offered by their parent containers.





Please note that, from a disk perspective -if I may use that term-, HFS+ is a partition/format type, not a partition scheme, like GPT and MBR are. As such, you'll find that HFS+ partitions and APFS containers can perfectly co-exist on a same (GPT) disk:









Can't see what makes you say that "APFS would totally mess up" your backup system; please elaborate...


NB: Big Sur is macOS 11, not 10.16.

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Thanks for those detailed infos! Very helpful.


I am using a 1:1 copy of multiple drives to a backup drive with CarbonCopyCloner. It 1:1 copies the whole system drive, and then some specific user dirs from other drives. As a result, I have a bootable backup drive, which is super helpful, if the system drive does not work anymore. Then I can simply boot the backup and 1:1 copy all files back. I think I did not install freshly since 2010 or so :P Sometimes I clean the system though, but I know what to do here.


I wonder if this way of backupping still is possible with those separated APFS partitions? 


Also HFS+ is easily readable with "disk doctor" tools, once the drive has failed. I think this is not the case with APFS?  Maybe it is nowadays... I don't like how Apple locks the user from his/her own data in general.


And then APFS seems to run SLOWER on my Samsung SSD than HFS+. And it does not show the correct free space either. I don't like APFS, so if I can, I would like to avoid it. But since you wrote that Big Sur does not even boot from HFS+ anymore, I guess I have no choice.


@Hervé Are you sure that Big Sur even is not booting a GPT EFI HFS+ drive anymore?  I don't use MBR btw. :)



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