‘Couldn’t create a preboot volume for APFS install’ [Solved]

This error is not very common with the users and appears only if the user is trying to erase their Macs and reinstall macOS High Sierra. If you are getting this error message “could not create a Preboot Volume for APFS install” when you are trying to reinstall macOS High Sierra, in this article we will show you why this error occurs and how to fix it.

Error Message
Error Message

First of all, we should explain what does it mean when your Mac is saying that “could not create a Preboot Volume for APFS install”. This error means that the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) cannot be installed on the APFS volume. The main reason that you cannot install the preboot is caused by something (that Apple hasn’t figured it out yet) wrong with the APFS or Apple File System, the new file system that Apple is introducing in High Sierra to replace the 20-year-old file system or HFS+.

AFPS Volume
APFS Volume

The new system APFS has improved the security also it is faster and more compatible with SSD, but the problem occurs with the OS X that is not compatible to it and also with macOS that is older than High Sierra. And when you are trying to reinstall the High Sierra using Recovery Mode, it doesn’t work because of the Apple File System partition type.

There are two possible solutions or methods in our case when you are not able to reinstall macOS High Sierra and you are getting the “could not create a Preboot Volume for APFS install” error message, and they are: delete the partition or volumes on your Mac or install Sierra on Internet Recovery Partition. We will walk through this methods step by step.

Method #1. Delete Your Partition (Volume).

Note: We must tell you that this method is the most effective in order to fix “could not create a Preboot Volume for APFS install” error.

  1. Turn Off your Mac.
  2. Reboot your Mac into Recovery Mode. Press and hold the Power button and in the same time command + R until you see the Apple logo.
  3. Utilities menu will appear.

    macOS Utilities
    macOS Utilities
  4. Select Disk Utility. All drivers on your Mac will show up.
  5. Select the internal drive and click Erase. This will delete the drive.
  6. Close Disk Utility.
  7. Now you have two options:
  • Re-open Disk Utility and select the internal drive and format it as “Mac OS Extended”. And then you can reinstall macOS.
  • Or you can turn off your Mac and the reboot it. Press and hold Option + Command + R keys to enter the Internet Recovery Mode. And Select Disk Utility. You will see a drive, and reformat it as “Mac OS Extended” and name it “Macintosh HD”. If you are not seeing the drive, create one and format it as “Mac OS Extended”. And then, you can exit the Disk Utility and click Reinstall macOS.

    Erase Disk
    Erase Disk


Deleting this drive will cause removing the APFS system which is the problem and causing the error and you can reinstall macOS.

Method #2. Enter Internet Recovery Mode.

  1. Reboot your Mac.
  2. When your device is rebooting, press the Command + R + Alt/Option in order to put your Mac into Internet Recovery Mode.

    Internet Recovery Mode
    Internet Recovery Mode
  3. You should select the WiFi and enter the Utilities
  4. Click Reinstall OS and it should install the original operating system on your computer.

If you want to install High Sierra you can install or update from the App Store when the process is finished.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.
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