I started up the Disk Utility and tried to Erase the disc and make it HFS+, then convert it to APFS. But after I get HFS+ I noticed that the “Convert to APFS…” option is for some reason deactivated. It is visible but it is greyed out and can not be selected.

What I have:

What causes this issue

This is not a Transcend issue. It can happen with a disc from any manufacturer. But this is not a problem with the disc at all. It’s all about the brand new APFS file system. The Disk Utility app cannot convert to APFS as the volume is not HFS+ extended.

This may also be due to an update macOS to version 10.13.3 as before there was no such a problem. But this is only an assumption.

How to solve it

Critical! The instructions in the article below are designed to help repartition and format a hard drive. This process is data destructive and cannot be undone. Once the process begins, all the data on the drive will be lost!

Be careful working with disks in the terminal. Incorrect actions can lead to data loss and even computer failure.

To solve this issue, we will use the Terminal app and the two tools diskutil and dd. Both tools are built-in in macOS, so we do not need to download or install anything. First, we format the disk in the HFS+ in the Terminal app, and then convert the HFS+ into APFS using the Disk Utility app.

Launch the Terminal app from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.

Firstly we need to identify the mount name of our disk (hard drive):

diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *121.3 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                 Apple_APFS Container disk1         121.1 GB   disk0s2

/dev/disk1 (synthesized):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      APFS Container Scheme -                      +121.1 GB   disk1
                                 Physical Store disk0s2
   1:                APFS Volume Macintosh HD            105.5 GB   disk1s1
   2:                APFS Volume Preboot                 21.0 MB    disk1s2
   3:                APFS Volume Recovery                509.9 MB   disk1s3
   4:                APFS Volume VM                      3.2 GB     disk1s4

/dev/disk2 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk2
   1:                  Apple_HFS Transcend               1.0 TB     disk2s1

There are two types of devices (methods to communicate with devices):

  • raw devices /dev/rdisk*, communication is direct with the disk.
  • buffered devices /dev/disk*, data transit via buffer.

When using dd or other duplication programs, always use raw device.

The below commands assume this is disk2, but replace disk2 with the correct disk if it’s something different.

Before any operations on the disk we must unmount it:

diskutil unmountDisk force disk2
Forced unmount of all volumes on disk2 was successful

Warning! Do not forget to replace the disk2 before pressing the key Enter.

Now we will write zeros to the disk (this will erase the entire disk):

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1024 count=1024

Warning! Do not forget to replace the rdisk2 before pressing the key Enter.

This command will prompt us to enter our computer password. Enter your password and then watch the magic happen…

Note! It’s normal that the password you enter is not displayed. This is how the password is entered on the command line. Just enter your password, and then press the Enter key.

1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1048576 bytes transferred in 2.448794 secs (428201 bytes/sec)

Let’s now partition the disk. This will be the GUID Partition Table (GPT) and the Journaled HFS+ format of file systeme:

diskutil partitionDisk disk2 GPT JHFS+ "Transcend" 0g
Started partitioning on disk2
Unmounting disk
Creating the partition map
Waiting for partitions to activate
Formatting disk2s2 as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with name Transcend
Initialized /dev/rdisk2s2 as a 931 GB case-insensitive HFS Plus volume with a 81920k journal
Mounting disk
Finished partitioning on disk2
/dev/disk2 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk2
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk2s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Transcend               999.9 GB   disk2s2

Note! Replace “Transcend” with the name that you want to give to your hard drive.

Note! To get Master Boot Record (MBR) instead of GUID Partition Table (GPT), simply replace the “GPT” mention to “MBR”. That should work.

Warning! Do not forget to replace the disk2 before pressing the key Enter.

Looks good. Our brand new hard drive prepared for the APFS format.

Finally, we can use the Disk Utility app to convert our hard drive from HFS+ format to APFS format. You can read more in this article.


That’s it, you’re done. So simple isn’t it?

If you are having trouble fixing this problem with the instructions above, but are being able to solve this problem with any another method please describe it in the comment section below. Thanks!

If this article has helped you solve the problem then please leave a comment :smiley:

Thanks for reading!