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How to Repair APFS Formatted SSD and Recover Data

Vishal  | Updated on February 19, 2021 | Mac hard drive recovery   | 4 Comments   | 4 min read

Summary: Repairing an APFS SSD might sound technical but trust this it isn't. This blog offers helpful APFS repair methods to fix several issues of New Apple file system on your own. Further, you will come to know about APFS data recovery on SSD or HDD.

How to Repair APFS Formatted SSD and Recover Data

Table of Content

The blog outlines 2 crucial methods to repair APFS storage media & recover the lost data.

Method 1: Repair APFS with Disk Utility
Method 2: Recover APFS with Stellar Data Recovery software

APFS is a file system released with macOS High Sierra; it is optimized for the solid-state drive and flash storage. After the initial release of the file system, data loss was a common problem; however, since then, Apple has addressed it and fixed the bugs. But as it happens with software, you fix one bug and then a new problem emerges. Similarly, with APFS, there are new issues that may cause data loss.  

Problems Encountered with an APFS SSD

  1. Data Loss when Writing a Disk Image – SSDs formatted with APFS on macOS High Sierra suffers from a vulnerability, which in some cases leads to the loss of data while writing a disk image.
  2. Partition Problem with APFS Containers – There are problems encountered while trying to merge two APFS partitions.
  3. Unable to Create Pre-Boot Volume – While trying to install the new macOS High Sierra on the SSD, the error ‘Could not create a pre-boot volume for APFS install’ appears.
  4. APFS Volume Superblock Is Invalid – While checking the drive using Disk Utility many users get the error ‘APFS volume superblock is invalid’.

Repair your APFS SSD Using Disk Utility

Even with the array of problems arising with an APFS formatted SSD, most of these issues can be resolved using the Disk Utility in Mac. Disk Utility can help with problems related to start-up issues, drives unmounting, and a wide range of other errors. Follow the steps shown below to check and repair the SSD using Disk Utility:

  1. Launch Disk Utility through Applications > Utility

Note: Enable the sidebar to display all devices; it will also display APFS Containers

  1. Select the volumes to repair and click on the First Aid button
  2. Click Run on the drop-down sheet to initiate First Aid on the selected partitions

Once you have successfully conducted the operation, repeat the operation on other drives if required. To verify the disk, follow the same instructions; if a repair is required, First Aid will notify you, and you need to follow the instructions provided on the screen. In a similar fashion, you can repair APFS start-up disk with the Disk Utility application.

Recover Data from an APFS SSD if Disk Utility Fails to Repair

If the Disk Utility fails to repair your APFS Solid State Drive, you can recover your important photos, videos, emails, documents, and more with the help of an APFS data recovery tool like Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac. The software works cleanly on macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave with the Apple File-System (APFS) based hard drives and Solid State Drive. It can recover your valuable data with a few clicks of the mouse. Thanks to the user-friendly interface and powerful recovery engine; the Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac software recovers data from deleted, formatted, and encrypted SSDs.


Moreover, the software is compatible with other file-systems such as HFS, HFS+, FAT, ex-FAT, & NTFS. Follow the steps mentioned below to recover your lost data from an SSD formatted with APFS:

Install and Run the Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac software.

Stellar Mac data recovery

Select a particular file type to recover or recover everything and click Next.

Customize Scan

Select the SSD drive and click Scan.

Select the Location

Note: You can toggle-on deep scan in case the drive is severely corrupt, but this will prolong the recovery process.

Toggle-on preview during the recovery process to view the recoverable files.

Select the files to recover and click Recover. Further, activate the Mac recovery software to retrieve deleted files.

Choose the location to save the files and click Save.

This completes the successful recovery of files from an APFS SSD. But what about repairing and reusing the APFS SSD further?  For this, read on the following solution:

Use Disk Utility Erase and Reuse the SSD Drive

After you have successfully recovered all the data you require, erase, and reformat the SSD drive for further usage. Follow the steps mentioned below to reformat the hard drive:

  1. Choose View and Show All Devices.
  2. Eject each volume displayed in the sidebar by clicking the Eject button.
  3. Select the SSD drive and click on the Erase button.
  4. Choose APFS from the volume pop-up menu.
  5. Enter the name for the volume. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted) to prevent the files from being recovered again.
  6. Click Erase and Done.


APFS is designed to be compatible with SSD drives; however, after the release of the file system, many people lose their data due to bugs & corruption in the APFS. Since then, Apple has brought several updates addressing the issues in APFS. Nevertheless, users are still unable to access their data. This blog will help you recover data from an APFS formatted storage drive. Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac supports the APFS file system and is capable of recovering your entire Solid State Drive with just a few clicks of the button.

Compare the available editions of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac software.

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