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Irl 04-05-2018 11:10 AM

New Mac with APFS backing up to ext HFS+?
I split my new MacBook Pro's APFS internal SSD into three volumes (MBOSX, the system disk; MBUserData, with all user account data; and MBExtra, which is scratch I won't ever back up). These are all in the single container on that internal SSD.
I plan to continue the same backup strategy I did with my previous, non-APFS, MacBook: I back up MBOSX (used to be a partition, now an APFS volume) to a separate partition on the external HD, which I want to be bootable. I back up MBUserData (ditto) to one of several sparsebundles on a separate, large, partition on the same external HD. Are there any gotchas in this plan, in particular, backing up an APFS to a non-APFS drive? Do I need to worry about which snapshot gets backed up? (I don't know whether there are any snapshots; I haven't gotten my mind around how those work as yet.)

dnanian 04-05-2018 11:25 AM

I strongly -- STRONGLY -- suggest writing to a separate volume, NOT to an image. Create an APFS container and use APFS volumes for each. They're more flexible and reliable than bundles, especially APFS images...

Irl 04-05-2018 11:55 AM

The external HD has 3 partitions: one for backing up MBOSX, one for Time Machine, and a large one containing half a dozen sparsebundles including my Userdata backup. I think you're saying to do the following on the external HD
1. reformat the whole thing as APFS (it doesn't seem to be possible to change a single partition to an APFS container)
2. make a volume for my MBOSX backup, in Disk Utility
3. As needed make more volumes for the other backups I do from time to time
4. ... but what about Time Machine? Maybe have its own HFS+ partition, and the remainder of the device being APFS? Is that possible?

dnanian 04-05-2018 12:10 PM

So, I'd suggest partitioning into two volumes. The HFS+ for Time Machine (you choose the size) and the rest as an APFS container, inside of which you can create as many volumes as you want. You can definitely do that.

Irl 04-06-2018 05:59 PM

Dave, thanks for the advice, which I followed. Everything seems to be working. A couple questions/comments: If I want to create a new backup, it appears that I need to use Disk Utility to create a volume on the external APFS device, rather than using the File dialog within SD as was possible with sparsebundles. Also: when I test booting from the external HD backup of my internal SSD system volume, via shutdown and then power up holding Option, the external disk usually doesn't show up until I unplug it and then plug it back in. The external device is a Western Digital 1 TB MyBook purchased in 2009. (I know, run do not walk to buy a new drive, right?)

dnanian 04-06-2018 06:05 PM

Correct. If you want to create another volume use Disk Utility. It's basically one click.

With regard to Option+boot….well, there are worse things to have to do, and at least you know what to do in your case. But, well, a more recent drive wouldn't be a terrible idea.

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