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How do I recover uninitialized disk on Mac?

After upgrading Mac to High Sierra, my external disk becomes uninitialized (don’t know the exact cause) and is not working as before. Please provide me the solution to fix this uninitialized disk and how can I restore data from it.

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10.13 uses a new drive structure called APFS. If it is not a recognised format, a boot drive will need to be reformatted before it will recognise as a boot source.

Is the external drive for just data storage, or is it a boot drive as well?

If it is just an external drive for storing files, then the old partition structure is still recognised, in which case you likely have a fault with your external drive.

try it in a different machine to be sure, but you may have to look at data recovery if your hard drive is failing.

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@thebookyard - Jon, I think he upgraded the external to APFS by mistake and his system is still using an older MacOS as the boot drive and it can't read the disk. If he had then both types of drives should be readable in High Sierra.

Apple claims Sierra can read APFS I have yet to test that. Mostly as I haven't updated any of my external SSD's yet.


Good point. I hadn't thought of it being formatted the wrong way around. usually externals are left in original formats and its boot drives that get auto formatted.

On a side note, we've not seen an earlier OS that can recognise an APFS drive so far. We do our diagnostics from external test drives, and a clear indication that a machine is running 10.13 is that the drive wont mount its partition on earlier OS versions. But perhaps they've patched the OS recently and it now does it?


@thebookyard - Jon, Sierra is the first claimed by Apple to read APFS.


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Hi Sylvie,

What brand is your external hard drive? There might be some compatibility issues with the macOS High Sierra. And if not so then, your external hard drive file system seems to have become corrupt hence there is no recognizable structure on your drive. Your data is still present on the external hard drive, but due to the corruption of the structure, you won't be able to access it. Please be cautious - don't format your external hard drive until unless you have extracted your data from it. After data restoration, you can navigate to the Disk Utility and select your hard drive for initializing. On your macOS High Sierra, you can format the external hard drive to APFS, HFS, HFS+ however if you plan to use your external hard drive as a Time Machine then let it be HFS or HFS+. Here is a guide which might help you recover your data

Helpful read

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Hi Vishal, how can I restore data from the drive before initialising? Any recommendation for softwares?


Try Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.


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If you have another mac available, TARGET MODE is the best way to go. Start the bad mac in target mode and use the other one to initialize it. This is also the best way to do new installs in my opinion.

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Sylvie zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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