Formatting a Samsung T5 SSD to APFS

When buying an SSD, the last thing I want to do is use FAT32, I want to just use APFS, because I’m only using Apple devices. I’ve done this twice now, and it works fine, but it’s not as straightforward as many web postings make it out to be. So, I’m posting this as a step-by-step.

Open Disk Utility. Make sure in the upper left, the View button, choose Show All Devices. Now you can see to erase the default drive. Feel free. Notice you don’t have any APFS choices. How do we get those?

Next, you need to use Terminal. This is the hard part, but well worth it. It’s not too bad.


diskutil list

This will give you a list, like this:

/dev/disk0 (internal):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER

   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                         1.0 TB     disk0

   1:                        EFI EFI                     314.6 MB   disk0s1

   2:                 Apple_APFS Container disk1         1.0 TB     disk0s2

/dev/disk1 (synthesized):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER

   0:      APFS Container Scheme –                      +1.0 TB     disk1

                                 Physical Store disk0s2

   1:                APFS Volume Cambeo                  197.4 GB   disk1s1

   2:                APFS Volume Preboot                 19.0 MB    disk1s2

   3:                APFS Volume Recovery                517.8 MB   disk1s3

   4:                APFS Volume VM                      1.1 GB     disk1s4

/dev/disk2 (external, physical):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER

   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk2

   1:                  Apple_HFS MyT5                1.0 TB     disk2s1


Notice the last one is my external, and that’s the T5. In this case, it’s disk2. Note which disk number it is. I recommend you disconnect any other external drives to avoid confusion. Once you do this, it can’t be undone, so be careful.

Now type, replacing the “#” with your disk number, like “disk2”, like so:

diskutil partitionDisk /dev/disk# GPT JHFS+ New 0b

It will do it’s magic. Should only be a few seconds, maybe ten.

When that’s done, you can go into Disk Utility, and select the new device. It will say it’s a Container Disk, with a number. If you select it, you can now see the SSD is APFS. Now when you choose erase, the drop-down choice includes all the APFS options you didn’t have before. That’s it!

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