APFS containers and volumes for backup drive

I am using a new MacBook Pro that came with Catalina preinstalled, so I am making some adjustments in my workflow.

Previously I have used SuperDuper to back up to external HDDs, each divided into two 500-GB partitions. One of the partitions is for a clone of my internal drive and the other is for archived data that I don’t keep on my internal drive.

Now with APFS, I have erased the external drives and on each of them created a container with two volumes.

Is that better than two containers on each drive?

Thank you,


I have an internal drive with 4 volumes (with different versions of MacOS) in a single container. Also an external drive with 2 containers with just one volume in each. I haven’t noticed any difference. A single container should be more flexible regarding the use of the total space on the drive.

Thanks for the info.

Was there any special reason you used one method or the other?

It was mostly accidental. Both drives were hfs+, one with one partition and other with 2, and I converted everything to apfs replacing partitions with containers, knowing I could put as many volumes in them as necessary.