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ashleykaryl 04-23-2020 10:42 AM

New drive for SuperDuper - No APFS option
I have recently ordered a new Mac mini with the idea of putting the Mac Pro into semi-retirement and I decided to order three new external drives for mini.

There will be a 1TB SSD for general data, a 1TB USB 3 for SuperDuper and a 2TB USB 3 for Time Machine.

I first tried the SSD in disk utility and found no option in Mojave to format as APFS, so I tried on my daughter's MBP running Catalina and there it appeared as an option by right clicking on the drive with a warning that the the drive would not be able to run on an older system, so I left it for the moment. The same option in Mojave was greyed out.

I have yet to look at the drive destined for Time Machine, which will remain as Mac OS extended, however I have the same issue in Mojave of not being able to erase and convert this to APFS for SuperDuper. I have followed the thread at, however it does not seem to work that way.

The mini is still being shipped, so no huge rush on this but I am a little perplexed, because I had no difficulty before converting drives to APFS, whether internal or external.

dnanian 04-23-2020 11:10 AM

First, I would use a 1TB SSD for SD - about $150 US for 1TB.

Second, Disk Utility can be confusing. But, to format as APFS:
  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Choose "Show All Devices" from the View menu
  3. Select the destination drive hardware (above the existing volume)
  4. Click Erase
  5. Choose the "GUID" partition scheme (2nd pop-up), THEN "APFS" formatting (1st pop-up) and name appropriately
  6. Click Erase
That works in 10.13 and later. It definitely works. :)

ashleykaryl 04-23-2020 12:08 PM

I see where I was going wrong now. When you open it defaults to Master Boot Record as the scheme and that doesn't allow APFS as an option.

I assume you suggest using an SSD for SD because it could then serve as a fast start up drive, rather than USB 3.

dnanian 04-23-2020 12:14 PM

Fast startup and fast backup, plug it works better with APFS. I mean an external SSD - which would still be USB3/USBC...

ashleykaryl 04-23-2020 12:29 PM

Yes that all makes good sense. I guess I was just just trying to keep the costs down after all the other expenses without thinking it through enough. I imagine the SSD would likely be more reliable as well.

dnanian 04-23-2020 12:39 PM

Yes, I think it likely would, and their prices are down low enough that it makes sense for "reasonable" sizes.

ashleykaryl 04-23-2020 12:53 PM

My main drive is only 512gigs and one of the reasons I bought the 1TB SSD was to store data that doesn't necessarily need to be on the startup drive, therefore I could probably get away with a smaller 512 SSD as well for SuperDuper.

I'll check out what is available on Amazon. I went for a Samsung T5 previously, which isn't thunderbolt, but it is USB 3.1 2nd generation, so that is reasonably fast.

In addition to all of this I'll also use BackBlaze, having learned that you can never have enough backups wen things go wrong. I have an app installed called Smart Reporter that should tell me in theory if a drive is about to fail but I don't think it is much use on external drives.

dnanian 04-23-2020 01:48 PM

I've been pretty happy with the WD MyPassport SSDs. I wouldn't let the size get too tight - never hurts to have too much, and as I said, the price isn't high.

ashleykaryl 04-23-2020 03:36 PM

I was just looking at the WD on Amazon and somebody asked about using it as a bootable drive on a Mac. WD responded rather strangely:

"This SSD Model is not suitable to use as a bootable drive. It is not recommended and it voids the warranty of the drive."

It looks good and I have no doubt you would have tested this, so I don't know why they would say that. Sometimes the answers provided by customer support at large companies can be truly mystifying.

dnanian 04-23-2020 03:38 PM

That's dumb.

My guess is that they're trying to say "don't use this as your permanent startup drive drive", which I would agree with! But "never boot from the drive" is silly, and definitely a rep overgeneralizing.

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