APFS create new volume under Container

Adding a volume to an Apple File System (APFS) container on your Mac is a pain-free process and comes with one significant benefit over traditional disk partitioning. With Space Sharing, volumes contained in the same container can grow or shrink as needed, thereby maximizing your device's storage. Something like this wasn't possible during the days of disk partitioning. Let's learn more about adding a volume to an APFS container.

What is APFS?

APFS is the default file system on Macs with solid-state drives. By definition, it features secure encryption, space sharing, snapshots, fast directory sizing, and improved file system fundamentals. You can also use APFS on older Macs that include traditional hard drives and external, direct-attached storage — beginning with macOS Mojave, APFS also supported Fusion drives.

APFS was first introduced with macOS High Sierra and replaced the older HFS+ file system. APFS made its debut on iPhone and iPad with iOS 10.3. It's also the file system on Apple Watch and Apple TV.

APFS and storage

For macOS users who use partitions, AFS fixes a long-standing limitation. APFS sidesteps the issue of one partition running out of space when there's free space elsewhere on the drive-by creating a container around all the partitions. If a partition needs more space, it can claim it from the container, regardless of whether or not that space is physically adjacent to the partition.

Adding a volume to an APFS container

Before adding a volume, you should back up your Mac as a precaution. From here, follow these steps to create a new volume on your computer:

  1. Select Go on your Mac's Toolbar.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Choose Disk Utility.

    Mac utilities

  4. Click View at the top left of the Disk Utility screen.
  5. Select Show All Devices.
  6. Choose an existing APFS container in the sidebar. In this example, it's called Container disk1.

    Mac container

  7. Click the Add Volume button.
  8. Enter a name for the new APFS volume.
  9. Click the Format pop-up menu, then choose a file system format. See below.

    format apfs volume

  10. Tap Size Options if you want to manually manage APFS volume allocation. The optional reserve size ensures that the amount of storage will remain available for this volume, while the optional quota size limits how much storage the volume can allocate.
  11. Click OK when done.
  12. Choose Add
  13. Click Done.

    finish apfs volume creation

You can now use your new volume just as you would any other on your Mac.

Different APFS formats

The different APFS formats are:

  • APFS: Uses the APFS format
  • APFS (Encrypted): Uses the APFS format and encrypts the volume.
  • APFS (Case-sensitive): Uses the APFS format and is case-sensitive to file and folder names. For example, folders named "iMore" and "IMORE" are different.
  • APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted): Uses the APFS format, is case-sensitive to file and folder names, and encrypts the volume.

Removing a volume to an APFS container

If you decide you no longer need a volume on your APFS container, you can delete it using Disk Utility.

  1. Select Go on your Mac's Toolbar.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Choose Disk Utility.

    Mac utilities

  4. Click View at the top left of the Disk Utility screen.
  5. Select Show All Devices.
  6. Right-click on the volume you want to delete.
  7. Click Delete APFS Volume.
  8. Choose Delete.

    Delete APFS Volume

The APFS volume is now deleted.

Any questions?

Let us know below whether you have any questions about APFS or macOS.

macOS Catalina

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