macOS High Sierra Adventure

I installed macOS High Sierra Beta on my external Beta drive today. It was quite an adventure. I will take you through the install. Then I will take you through how I blew up the install!

High Sierra Beta Install

I just want to emphasize, do not install this beta on your main Mac. I guess that goes without saying, but I though I would mention it to be safe.

The install for the Beta is pretty straight forward. Obviously, you have to be signed up for Apple’s Beta program. My Beta install used to be on an external USB hard drive (used to be?, more on that in a minute). I booted into the drive and and used the Mac App Store to do the upgrade. Here is what High Sierra looks like in the App Store:

When you click on the “Download” button the install does the usual things. It downloads the install, then you are taken to this window:

When you click continue you will be taken here. You can install it on a different disk if you wish, but of course I want to update my Sierra OS drive:

So, it does the usual install, rebooting a couple of times. It you have other things to do, go do them. The install takes quite a while. Once it is finished you are left at the login window. After logging in you are on High Sierra:

One of the main reasons I installed High Sierra was to see how the new APFS file system would work out. So, immediately after installing I went into the System Information area and checked under “Storage”:

What!! It was still in the HFS+ format! What is up with that. Then I remembered that you could manually switch from HFS+ to APFS and that was where the trouble began. To do that you boot up in Recovery Mode (Command “R”) and go into the Disk Utility app. Once in there go into the “Edit” menu and select “Convert to APFS”:

I am not going to bore you with the details, but it goes through the motions of converting the HFS+ to APFS. Then you restart onto the new OS, but when I tried that it gave an error. I tried to boot into the new OS manually, but that erred out as well. So, what was going on. It took me a bit, but I finally figured it out. MacOS Hight Sierra is really designed for SSD drives! My Beta is installed on an external USB. It is a spinning HD. The APFS install did not like it and that is why the HFS+ format was installed in the first place. Now, this is 10.13 Beta 2. This may change with time, I do not know. But, here is the remedy.

The Remedy

I went on to my main drive and tried to resurrect my Beta drive but it was hosed. Very disappointing for sure. Then I remembered the Apple SSD that I was not using. When I split my Fusion drive apart to install a full SSD I was left with the Apple SSD. It is 120 GB, plenty of space to install a Beta OS and a few apps to test.

I had to install macOS Sierra onto the Apple SSD first. After I did that, then I had to update it to the latest version of Sierra. And then, I was able to install macOS High Sierra on the Apple SSD. It installed flawlessly. Here is what I saw during this install that I did not see in the original install:

There was not a box for selecting the APFS format. You can choose to turn that off if you wish and HFS+ will be installed.

Even though the internal Apple SSD is not terribly fast, at least it is an SSD and APFS likes it. Currently, I am busy installing several of my main applications that I use the most in my workflow, rebuilding my new “Beta” drive. I will make more observations of High Sierra in the near future.


I want to leave you with this advice. If you are trying to upgrade a spinning Beta hard drive, I would wait a bit. Or, if you have an extra SSD laying around, put it on that. This probably goes without saying, but DO NOT install High Sierra Beta on your main Mac!!