How To Recover a Deleted APFS Partition?

A file system controls how data is stored or retrieved from your computer. Apple File System (or APFS) is a special kind of file system designed for macOS and iOS. It was released for macOS High Sierra (10.13) and later and It improved optimization for Flash and SSD storage, with a core focus on security and encryption.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how you can recover an APFS partition if you have accidentally deleted it or lost it. Our primary goal here is to recover the lost data and not recover the partition itself because recovering the partition(and its structure) is not possible once it gets deleted. However, we can create a new APFS partition and then copy the data there.

Recover Data

Method 1: Recover Using Time Machine

If you are a Mac user you might already be familiar with Time Machine. It’s a software provided by Apple to backup your Mac data. It also helps to restore any data in case you lose it or it gets deleted. Follow the steps below to restore your data through Time Machine and then dump it into a new APFS partition.

Note: The steps below will only work if you’ve already set up Time Machine backup drive.

Restoring Data

  1. Press Command along Spacebar to open Spotlight.
  2. Type and open Time Machine.
    Time Machine
  3. Once open, you will see a Timeline at the right of your screen.
  4. Select the date(time) from the timeline when the partition/data was not deleted.
    Time Machine Timeline
  5. Now select the Time Machine backup file and press Restore. It will restore your data from the lost partition and will move it to another drive.

For more information about restoring Backup click here.

Creating A New APFS Volume

If you have successfully restored your you can then transfer it to a new drive. Follow the steps below to create a new APFS volume:

  1. Press Command along Spacebar to open Spotlight.
  2. Type and open Disk Utility.
    Disk Utility
  3. Now from the top left of the window, click View and select Show All Devices.
    Show All Devices
  4. All drives will be shown in the top left bar. Select an APFS volume.
  5. Click the Add(+) button to add a partition.
    Add Volume
  6. Now enter the name of the new APFS volume. The format should be APFS.
  7. Click Add to add the volume.
    Add Volume Box
  8. Now once it’s created, copy your data to the new partition.

Method 2: Using A Third-Party Software

Many people don’t enable Time Machine backup in their Mac’s. If you are one of those people then you can use any third-party software tool to help you recover your lost data. You can try using any of the tools mentioned below here.

Stellar Data Recovery Professional

  1. Firstly, download and install Steller Data Recovery Professional For Mac using this link.
    Download Stellar Data Recovery For Mac
  2. Launch the app and select the type of data to restore.
    Select Data Types
  3. Then press Next.
  4. Now choose ‘Can’t Find Volume’ from the Select Location window and press Next.
    Can’t Find Volume
  5. Afterward, select the partition which was lost and check Deep Scan written in the left bottom.
    Deep Scan
  6. Then click Scan.
  7. Now go through the scanned files and select the lost files which you want to restore.
  8. Lastly, click Recover and provide the Save location.
    Recovering Data
  9. After recovering completes, go to the saved location to see your data.
  10. You can always create a new APFS partition and copy the data there. Check out Method 1 ‘Creating a New APFS Volume’ to create a new partition.

iBeesoft Data Recovery For Mac

  1. Firstly, download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery software using this link.
    Download iBeesoft Data Recovery
  2. Launch the app and select the type of data to recover. You can directly check ‘All File Types’ in the bottom to select all file types.
    All File Types
  3. Afterward, click Start.
  4. After the searching is done, you will be able to see the deleted partition. Select that partition.
    Select Deleted Partition
  5. Now, click Scan to scan the data from the lost partition.
  6. Next, you need to select all the lost files which you want to restore.
  7. Click Recover to recover the data.
  8. If you want to copy the recovered data to a new partition then follow Method 1 ‘Creating a New APFS Volume’.

Some other popular Recovery Tools you can look onto are Disk Drill Pro and EaseUS.

Method 3: Repairing Corrupted APFS Volume

There is a possibility that your APFS partition was not completely deleted. It might just have become corrupted and not readable. We can try repairing the corrupted volume using Disk Utility. Follow the steps below to repair errors on a corrupted volume.

  1. Press Command along Spacebar to open Spotlight.
  2. Type and open Disk Utility.
  3. Now select the corrupted APFS volume from the sidebar.
  4. Click the First Aid button shown on top of the window.
  5. A dialogue box will open. Click Run.
    First Aid Disk Utility
  6. It should repair and recover the data in the corrupted volume.

Method 4: Reinstall macOS

This method is only viable for those extreme cases where the user has accidentally deleted/erased the Startup Disk. This usually happens when the storage is full, or the user is wiping off the data and as it happens the user accidentally deletes the entire startup disk from Disk Utility. In such scenarios, you can try a couple of options:

  1. You can try recovering the data using some Recovery Software or using Time Machine if you have made a backup.
  2. If that did not work out then the best way is to reinstall macOS.
  3. Find another Mac or borrow a macOS installer on a USB flash drive. To create a bootable installer for macOS check out this official Apple Support link.
  4. If you don’t have access to a Mac or a bootable installer, then there is another option. You can use macOS Recovery to reinstall the macOS. You can follow Apple’s Official Support link to effectively reinstall macOS.
    macRecovery

If you are unable to recover your data even after trying all these methods, then you can always try contacting Apple Support. Check if your laptop is already under warranty by clicking here. Afterward, contact Apple Support by clicking here.

TIP: if you successfully recover the data, avoid writing anything to the drive with the deleted partition. It can produce abnormalities and subsequently cause loss of data if you are writing to it.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How To Recover a Deleted APFS Partition?

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