Still No APFS repair tools?

Hi - First off - Of course I have Backups - I keep an attached SSD for Local Storage - Photos (in the cloud these days) are dowloaded to this disk, as is Music, and a lot of audio/sampler stuff that didn’t go in /users/shared - My drive was offline this morning, restarted - it came up then unmounted again.(did this a few times) and now it’s completely hosed. Disk Utility didn’t help at all! Drive does show generically somewhat but really this appears to be SCROOTCHED (and without warning etc…). (snide comment: I boot a 30 year old IICI off a 25 year old scsi drive in the other room)

Is the ONLY APFS repair stuff actually " Good Backups?" I’m not finding anything APFS useful out there. My USB started acting up with the latest 13.2.1 release and since this is my onwn disk it makes me nervous. A few years ago (pre APFS days) I did a ton of work in recovery - and while I have pressed ALL my customers to have backups -Forensic tools are part of the kit. I have a bunch of HFS+ stuff, but nothing except DU for APFS - ( the relationship between HFS+ and APFS is not very good either). I would hate to refer folks to Recovery Places unless it’s a crisis -

This is a question not actually a rant…

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I’m not a reliable techie, just a long-time Mac user, so take what I say FWIW.

I’ve got an M2 MBAir and Ventura. I haven’t had a major problem in years. And good, reliable backups (I make clones and use Time Machine - actually 2 of each regularly, and everything I’ve got is local) are probably still the best way to protect your data. Unfortunately, Disk Warrior’s dead as far as APFS is concerned. But I’ve used 3 utilities regularly for years, which I believe have done a good job keeping me reasonably safe and working smoothly. The first 2, OnyX and CleanMyMac just unclutter things. But TechTool Pro, which is a genuine repair utility, goes deeper, and works with, and to a limited extent on, APFS. If I were you, I’d try all three. But you sound pretty experienced and probably already knew about my recommendations, and since what you’ve already tried hasn’t worked, you may be unable to get your drive back.


I’ve also used TechTool Pro. But if Disk Utility cannot fix the drive, probably nothing else will. But that’s just my experience. Your mileage may vary.

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I can’t say for certain that it’s the only approach, but it’s by far the best one. It’s just never worth trusting anyone other than Apple to repair the logical structure of a disk. That’s especially true with APFS, where documentation has been slow in coming and may not be complete yet.

I see very little logical corruption of drives these days anyway. When drives have problems, the issue is usually physical, and backups are all that’s going to help then.


I would mostly agree, except for the assertion that only Apple is trustworthy for file system repair. The engineers at Alsoft have, IMO, produced a product that does a far better job than Apple’s Disk Utility/First Aid/ckfs software.

Unfortunately, Apple has refused to publish enough information to permit any third-party repair tools. And it’s quite frustrating because I’m sure the Alsoft people would be able to produce a better tool for APFS as well, if they would be permitted access to the information necessary for developing such a tool.

Fortunately, APFS doesn’t seem to develop problems the way HFS+ did, so it’s less important today than it was in the past.


Certainly maintenance tools are useful. But this disk (which was an Inland 1tb SSD) just fell off the (USB) bus.

If Apple doesn’t supply useful tools or is generous with APFS information (so many disk tools closed shop or - like DW - are format specific) then there is no developer opportunity, just a closed system. I was hoping for ZFS before APFS showed up.
Well, I’m gonna buy a new ssd since this one is kaput. There are many communities of software builders and file system maintenance is important and should be more democratic. In the HFS days Disk Warrior (one of a few tools I used for disk problems) indeed saved many of my customer’s files despite backup guidance. Apple’s tools NEVER did that and they still don’t… If you rely on Time Machine as your only backup system you’re asking for trouble. (Fortunately there’s CCC) I feel there needs to be better tools for disaster despite how you feel about integrity - I woke up this morning to a dead disk and no recovery for it but a backup. If i didn’t have that….

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8 posts were split to a new topic: Mac IIsi won’t boot

Most ‘experts’ suggest a second back up off the premises incase of fire. But I don’t either.

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In the old days, emphasizing the need for good, reliable backups, we used to say “there are those who have already lost all their data, and those who have not yet lost all their data”. Despite the fact that big-time catastrophes, hardware and software, seem to happen less frequently today (even back then they didn’t happen too often), that’s as valid as it ever was.

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Fortunately (and surprisingly), neither of these things are true! Alsoft is going to support APFS in a future Disk Warrior update:

  1. The next major release of DiskWarrior will include the ability to rebuild APFS disks.

  2. Click here to join the Mailing List to be notified of progress regarding Apple File System (APFS) support and updates to DiskWarrior.

DiskWarrior 5.3 & APFS — ALSOFT

I read somewhere (can’t remember where unfortunately) that Alsoft has said Apple does now provide sufficient APFS documentation. It has taken many, many years, which isn’t good, but at least we’re getting there.


DiskWarrior was sometimes criticized as being only a one-trick pony. Maybe it was, but they did that trick, which was a very important trick, better than anyone else. So I hope you’re right. But though they’re apparently not dead, they’ve been in a coma so long that I can only say I’ll believe it when I see it.


My issue is not backups but recovery integrity from an SSD running APFS. I’m recopying things to the new drive now (it’s an overnight affair) and prevents me from doing stuff in Logic (since some of my sample libraries live on this drive).

Alsoft has updated their HFS stuff and my copy of DiskWarrior was actually used on some drives, for fun! (well, to check the directories on the drives) I have floppies of Disk Express and Disk Express II around here (from way back when there were separate apple programs for Formatting and Utilities). in the 2000’s I did a lot disk repair/file salvage and recovery -while i do that a lot less (actually I just recovered a bunch of Zip disks for someone and that was NOT a pretty thing- half of the Zip drives work half the time and half of the Zip disks don’t work…) Anyhow even when I barely know a customer I hate to see data loss. And when my own disk goes belly up and Nothing sees it enough to “fix it” or “copy it” I get really annoyed about the lack of good tools.

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If the drive isn’t showing up on the USB bus at all, then no amount of disk repair utilities will help. If I understand your original message, you’re seeing a generic USB device, not a mass-storage device. Which tells me that the SSD controller chip has failed.

I saw something similar with an OWC SSD installed in a 2011 MacBook Air. When under heavy use, it would overheat and then fail. The Mac would freeze, and (after booting from an external drive), I would see (in the system profiler) a generic device where the SSD should be. After it cooled down, it would start working again. (We exchanged the drive for a new one, which exhibited the same problem. Then we gave up and put back the smaller Apple SSD, which never had a problem.)

You have to select your backup strategy based on what you think will be necessary. Off-site storage is important because the building could get damaged or destroyed (fire, hurricane, tornado or other reason). Even if you can get the drive later (e.g. if it is in a fireproof safe), you will probably want to buy a new computer and restore that backup to get up and running before you have a chance to sift through the debris looking for your drive.

That having been said, I’m not using an off-site backup either. I keep three backup devices. A Time Machine volume, and two (CCC-created) clones that I update manually every few weeks. The CCC-clones are kept powered off except when I’m explicitly accessing them.

Alsoft has been saying this for quite a long time. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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What may take even longer will be for Alsoft to establish a reputation for its ability to work with APFS, as it had with HFS.

Not only has APFS been undocumented, I believe I have heard rumors that it continued to evolve after it came into use. If/when Disk Warrior for APFS is released, the market will expect it to flawlessly read and replace directories of these earlier versions, as well as the then-current documented version.

To meet that high expectation will require very thorough testing. This level of quality control will add considerable time before an APFS version can be released.

Thus the exceedingly long time before release of an APFS-capable Disk Warrior is probably due to the high quality we all expect, compounded with other acknowledged factors.

From what I’ve heard—from SoftRAID author Tim Standing at MacTech 2019, I believe, the constant evolution is precisely why it hasn’t been documented. Apple doesn’t want developers to write something that will break when the underlying code is updated.


Wow! We’ve all been beta-testing a file-system for ~9 years?


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2019 was a pandemic lifetime ago! If you build an operating system I would think you’d want a very stable File System to work with it. I suspect intel/silicon transition may have something to do with the way APFS rolled out. I used to set up 'nix boxes a lot and partitioning those things was a form of Black Magic (well, Partition Magic). I must say I was a little surprised to see the containers of APFS - when HFS+ was very easy to manage -but even TIME MACHINE is dodgy and that’s not good. I don’t mind if a file system is proprietary - but it should have given me a warning since data recovery from SSDs is much more dodgy than mechanical drives.

I have heard from several developers that the reason there are not any 3rd party recovery or repair tools for APFS is because Apple will not release the necessary information about APFS to allow them to develop them. My view on this it is just more evidence of Apples migration towards totally closed systems effecting placing a firewall around Apple users, using the excuse to protect them but in reality, it seems to be a paradigm to maximize their profits by isolating the from their competitors. The end result is that it is getting more and more difficult for Apple users to integrate and exchange information with other systems along making it significantly more expensive to use Apple products. Such is the result of Apples paradigm shift from the putting profits first instead of the customer/user experience which seems to have happened with the tragic loss of Steve Jobs. The only workaround I have found to resolve such issues is to erase and reinstall macOS and restore the User and App files from backups.

According to some developers’ comments, APFS also has a number hidden issues/bugs that can result in drive corruption that cannot be repaired with Disk Utility. My solution to this is keeping my user created data on a separate drive with HFS (no macOS on it), and using aliases on my primary drive to access it. Unfortunately, this cannot be done with a number of Apple Apps such as Notes, Mail, Contacts, Reminders, Messages and remote/cloud services as they reside in the user library and are often integrated with iCloud. I also believe that one of the reasons for this is to coerce users to purchase more iCloud space-i.e. profits. This is why I have migrated to using some other products for those items that can take up a lot of iCloud space such as Notes, and reminders. For these I use MS OneNote and ToDo. As it turns out ToDo is much more powerful than Reminders and also automatically syncs to it. It also supports Alexa which allows me to add tasks to my ToDo list using Alexa Auto in my car while driving and retrieving them later either in ToDo or Reminders.

Every so often I additionally make backups of my complete User Folder and Applications Folder to another drive. This can be challenging to do if you include user libraries as some of the folders, most related to cloud servers, are protected in such a way that doesn’t allow Finder to copy them. So, what I land up doing when making such backups is to separately copy the contents of my primary user library contents separatly to the backup drive minus the cloud folders in it. Since the contents are on a cloud server, they actually do not need to be backed up locally.

One of the issues I have found with Ventura is that Apple now prevents you from accessing the System partition from Disk Utility. This means it seems no longer possible with a corrupted System to boot to Recovery; erase the System partition; and reinstall MacOS into it preserving the data on the drive. My experience is you can reinstall macOS onto the drive again but it now goes into the data partition and you lose the former System partition space unless you backup, and erase the drive first. Thís might have been some glitch or failure on my part to do this correctly as I have never found any documentation on doing this and Apple Support is of no assistance in doing this as they claim it is beyond the level of support that they can offer.


I am truly sorry for your data loss and know first hand how it feels. I’ve modified how I now feel about backups because of my own experience.

I’ve never had a main computer drive go bad on me. Never. I have, however, had 2 very expensive backup drives fail on me such as yours did. These were both Samsung 2TB SSD external USB drives. They both failed in the same way and no utility would revive them.

From this point onward, I will only backup individual files and folders that I know are not already backed up in iCloud or Google (I use both). And I do those backups inside an encrypted disk image on a thumb drive. I won’t go back to doing a clone of my internal drive. Ever.