Restore 2018 MBP from HFS

Trey M

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Long story short my 2017 MBP was taking too long to get repaired via Apple so they replaced my machine with a 2018. Pretty sweat deal.

Anyways, before I sent off my 2017 for repair, I created a backup using Carbon Copy Cloner to an external HDD (not a solid state). The only format it would allow me to use was HFS+ for the backup, even though the MBP was running High Sierra on APFS.

I just took the 2018 MBP out of the box and it's running Mojave on APFS. I'm trying to figure out how I can restore the new MBP using my HFS+ backup as the source of the restore. In Disk Utility now, when I try to restore the MBP internal SSD to my HFS+ Carbon Copy backup, it does not give me the option to select the bootable Carbon Copy HFS+ backup.

I also believe I should be able to convert to APFS once the restore is complete, but my main focus is just trying to close my existing backup to the new MBP internal SSD.

I also may be over-looking some kind of weird T2 complication, so I'd appreciate any advice anyone could provide.
 
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oatman13

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You are correct; the T2 ship prohibits Macintosh from booting on anything other than APFS.

My advice would be to take that image you have and push it to a non-T2 chip MBP; then use System Migration to transfer your files to your 2018 MBP.

There is no way to image and boot that HFS partition onto your 2018 MBP. You can image it to an HFS partition, but you won't be able to boot it.
 

mikzn

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Anyways, before I sent off my 2017 for repair, I created a backup using Carbon Copy Cloner to an external HDD (not a solid state). The only format it would allow me to use was HFS+ for the backup, even though the MBP was running High Sierra on APFS.

I just took the 2018 MBP out of the box and it's running Mojave on APFS. I'm trying to figure out how I can restore the new MBP using my HFS+ backup as the source of the restore. In Disk Utility now, when I try to restore the MBP internal SSD to my HFS+ Carbon Copy backup, it does not give me the option to select the bootable Carbon Copy HFS+ backup.

I also believe I should be able to convert to APFS once the restore is complete, but my main focus is just trying to close my existing backup to the new MBP internal SSD.

I also may be over-looking some kind of weird T2 complication, so I'd appreciate any advice anyone could provide.
You can use the existing Mojave APFS installed OS on your new MBP and use "Migration Assistant" to copy the data and apps from the back up HDD drive even if the CCC clone is HFS+
 

Weaselboy

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You can use the existing Mojave APFS installed OS on your new MBP and use "Migration Assistant" to copy the data and apps from the back up HDD drive even if the CCC clone is HFS+
Yep... OP that is what I did when I setup my 2018 MBP. Just use the CCC clone as the source of the import during system setup. DO NOT setup the system with an account then try to import later with Migration Assistant. This will cause all sorts of account permissions issues.
 
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Trey M

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I'm running into some issues...unfortunately I jumped the gun and wish I had just brought everything over via the Migration Assistant as has been recommended above...

Now here's the new issue I have. Basically I went into Disk Utility using macOS Recovery Mode and I reformatted the MBP internal drive from APFS to HFS+, then I was able to erase/restore that volume from my external drive (which is HFS+, High Sierra). The restore works and I'm able to login to my Mac will all my settings, users etc from my backup.

However, the issue is that I'm now unable to get into MacOS Recovery Mode at all. I think I may have created a headache as I never disabled the T2 ban on booting from external drives prior to erasing the APFS volume. From what I read on other posts I may have 'bricked' my 2018 MBP, though not truly as I can get into MacOS, just not MacOS Recovery Mode. I have tried CMD-R, the Internet Recovery prompt starts, I provide my network details, and the globe spins infinitely. I left it open for 8+ hours last night and it was still a spinning globe this morning.

I really need to get into Recovery Mode to disable the ban on external boot and also to upgrade to APFS. I am stuck on High Sierra as Mojave won't allow you to upgrade using an HFS+ volume. It requires APFS first, which requires using the Disk Utility in MacOS Recovery mode.

Any suggestions for how I can get into Recovery Mode would be appreciated...I did a PRAM and an SMC reset but that didn't seem to help. I also tried booting from an external volume which has a Recovery partition, but it said my MacOS needs to be 'upgraded' and the upgrade fails after a couple of reboots. I suspect it's failing because, again, I like an idiot did not disable the T2 ban on booting external devices prior to erasing the APFS volume.
[doublepost=1542562888][/doublepost]I should also add: CCC gives you the option the either create a Recovery volume on a backup disk, or not. It's worth noting I did NOT create the Recovery volume in CCC originally, which I realize is a mistake I've made. However, I've since added a Recovery volume to that backup using CCC on another computer, so if I am able to somehow get into Disk Utility successfully, then I will wipe my existing MBP drive and restore it with my backup again, though this time it'll contain the Recovery volume and I should no longer have any issue. Sort of confusing :)
 
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mikzn

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did you try the internet mode? press and hold Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R at startup

Looks like you did?
 
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Weaselboy

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Try command-option-r to force Internet recovery and see if that works. You need to get the drive formatted back to APFS then reinstall. I'm worried you borked it by formatting to HFS like you did. :(

Edit: Ninja'd by @mikzn :)
 
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mikzn

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yeah if you can get disk utilities open first thing I would do is format the internal drive back to APFS as per Weaselboy's suggestion
 
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Trey M

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You are correct; the T2 ship prohibits Macintosh from booting on anything other than APFS.

My advice would be to take that image you have and push it to a non-T2 chip MBP; then use System Migration to transfer your files to your 2018 MBP.

There is no way to image and boot that HFS partition onto your 2018 MBP. You can image it to an HFS partition, but you won't be able to boot it.
I don't believe it's true T2 restricts booting from HFS+. That's what I'm currently running
Try command-option-r to force Internet recovery and see if that works. You need to get the drive formatted back to APFS then reinstall. I'm worried you borked it by formatting to HFS like you did. :(

Edit: Ninja'd by @mikzn :)
Yeah if I can by a miracle get back into Disk Utility one time I'm just going to reformat the internal drive back to APFS and probably just download Mojave so I can run the Migration Assistant.

I just don't know how I'm going to get into Disk Utility...I've tried CMD-R, CMD-Option-R, and CMD-Option-Shift-R and none have been successful after waiting like 20 minutes each time.
 

Weaselboy

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https://www.apple.com/mac/docs/Apple_T2_Security_Chip_Overview.pdf

I recall reading in a thread earlier there is come sort of secure certificate hidden on the APFS drives on these T2 Macs and if that certificate is gone, the T2 won't let it boot if the default secure boot settings are enabled. If you scroll down to pages 8-10 on the linked PDF it talks about this. I think by formatting to HFS you erased that info from the drive. So I think you are in a Catch 22... you need to boot to recovery to format back to APFS, but the firmware security settings won't let you do that. And since you cannot boot to recovery, you have no way to change the firmware settings.

I see a visit to the Apple Store in your future. :(
 

Trey M

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https://www.apple.com/mac/docs/Apple_T2_Security_Chip_Overview.pdf

I recall reading in a thread earlier there is come sort of secure certificate hidden on the APFS drives on these T2 Macs and if that certificate is gone, the T2 won't let it boot if the default secure boot settings are enabled. If you scroll down to pages 8-10 on the linked PDF it talks about this. I think by formatting to HFS you erased that info from the drive. So I think you are in a Catch 22... you need to boot to recovery to format back to APFS, but the firmware security settings won't let you do that. And since you cannot boot to recovery, you have no way to change the firmware settings.

I see a visit to the Apple Store in your future. :(
I just thought of Target Disk Mode...

Do you think I'd be able to put my 2018 MBP into Target Disk Mode and erase that whole drive and reformat to APFS? I'm not sure if you can reformat using Target Disk Mode but it is at least giving me the option.

I still don't know what I would do because I'm not sure how I would then get an actual MacOS volume on there. I don't think just have an APFS volume would allow me to go into MacOS Recovery mode unless I'm wrong.
 

Weaselboy

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I still don't know what I would do because I'm not sure how I would then get an actual MacOS volume on there. I don't think just have an APFS volume would allow me to go into MacOS Recovery mode unless I'm wrong.
It is worth giving TDM a shot, but I suspect you will hit the same roadblock because of what you mentioned here.
 

Trey M

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It is worth giving TDM a shot, but I suspect you will hit the same roadblock because of what you mentioned here.
I'm getting creative here, I'm desperate to figure this out lol.

What I'm doing now is using CCC to migrate my HFS+ backup to an external SSD which is in APFS. So now I should have the same backup file but on my SSD in APFS.

I'm hopeful this will work, since this is how CCC explains APFS and macOS Recovery mode:
"APFS volumes require special 'Preboot' and 'Reovery' helper partitions to function as a startup disk. Because these helper partitions are required, CCC automatically archives them on source APFS volumes and automatically creates and populates them on destination APFS volumes."

My hope is that I can put my 2018 MBP into target disk mode, then use my other Mac and the APFS External SSD to first erase/reformat the MBP drive to APFS then attempt to copy my new APFS backup over. Am I crazy?
 

Weaselboy

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My hope is that I can put my 2018 MBP into target disk mode, then use my other Mac and the APFS External SSD to first erase/reformat the MBP drive to APFS then attempt to copy my new APFS backup over. Am I crazy?
My concern is that firmware security is set by default not to allow a boot from an external drive, so I dunno if it will block what you are trying. No harm in giving it a go though.
 

Trey M

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My concern is that firmware security is set by default not to allow a boot from an external drive, so I dunno if it will block what you are trying. No harm in giving it a go though.
I actually have decided against trying TDM since I actually have a working device right now. I’ve been suffering at work without a MBP the last couple of weeks. I plan to keep things as is and go into an Apple Store next weekend to give them 1-2 days to look at it. Honestly unless they’re able to essentially ‘flash’ it back to factory settings somehow, I think it will end up having to be replaced.
 
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Fishrrman

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Trey M wrote above:
"Now here's the new issue I have. Basically I went into Disk Utility using macOS Recovery Mode and I reformatted the MBP internal drive from APFS to HFS+, then I was able to erase/restore that volume from my external drive (which is HFS+, High Sierra). The restore works and I'm able to login to my Mac will all my settings, users etc from my backup."

Hmmm...
although you have done so inadvertently, you've just answered an important question I have about t2-equipped Macs.

That question is:
Can a Mac that comes with a t2 chip have its internal drive re-formatted to HFS+ ??

You did it -- and I wouldn't be surprised if you are the first person anywhere to have done this!

Unfortunately, you ran into a few problems, but I think you can "work those out".

I'll try to help.

You still have the CCC backup drive that remains "unmolested", is this correct?
If that's the case PROTECT THIS DRIVE. It has your stuff on it.

I very much agree with Weaselboy in reply 10 above -- I think what you need to do at this point is visit an Apple Store genius bar and have them "reset" the MPB drive back to "factory fresh" -- i.e., an "untouched" state, as-delivered by Apple, ready-to-be-setup by the user.

I could be wrong on what follows, others please jump in and correct me.

Seems to me, with a brand-spanking-new OS install that hasn't had user account established yet...
... when you press the power-on button for the very first time, it should drop you into setup assistant.

So... after you have it reset at the Apple Store, do this, in the EXACT order presented:
1. Bring it home, put it on the desk, open the lid but DON'T press the power on button yet.
2. Connect the CCC cloned backup.
3. NOW press the power on button. You should get to setup assistant.
4. Go through the initial setup steps. At the appropriate moment, setup assistant should ask if you wish to migrate from another Mac or drive. YES, you want to do this, so....
5. "Aim" setup assistant at the CCC backup. Give it some time to "digest" everything (might take a minute or two, or longer, depending what's on the backup).
6. Setup assistant will present you with a list of choices to migrate (apps, accounts, settings, data).
7. I would "choose them all", then let setup assistant "do its thing". It's probably going to take some time (again, depending on HOW MUCH STUFF is on the backup).
8. When setup assistant is done, you should see the login screen.
9. Login with your [old] password and "look around". Things should pretty much look "as they looked before".
10. You -may- find that some older apps no longer run, or run but have problems. In this case, updating them is needed.
11. You may see "32 bit warnings" about some older software. Just "click through" these warnings -- in my experience, just about all of it still works.

Again, I could be wrong, but I think setup assistant will let you access an external drive without having to go to the "Security Setup" app in the recovery partition and tinker with those settings regarding the t2 chip.

And again, thanks for proving my theory -- that IT IS POSSIBLE to reformat the INTERNAL drive on a t2-equipped Mac to HFS+, if one wishes to do so.

I suggest you print this out and check off the steps as you go.
Good luck!
 
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Trey M

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My concern is that firmware security is set by default not to allow a boot from an external drive, so I dunno if it will block what you are trying. No harm in giving it a go though.
Happy to report that I have resolved the issue! Thanks Weaselboy for the support- you made me realize the most important thing was just to get APFS back on the internal drive.

CCC allows you to create a Recovery Partition, or not, on an HFS+ volume even after you've created an existing backup. APFS automatically will come with a Recovery Partition by inheritance from the APFS container which your 'Macintosh HD' lives within. Originally I did NOT include the Recovery Partition on the HFS+ , so luckily CCC offers this feature.

I added a Recovery Partition on external HDD which had my HFS+ High Sierra backup on it. I then booted up my 2018 MBP and held Option, which allowed me to select the 'Recovery' partition which was just added to my external HDD. Surprisingly it worked! It allowed me to boot, though it gave me some error right away about how my software needed to be updated; this is some weird issue with 2018 MBP and macOS 10.13.6 since Apple delivered a weird series of software updates specifically for the 2018 MBP (a unique build of 10.13.6).

I was able to essentially quit out of the Software Updater and it returned me to the Recovery screen, allowing me to access Disk Utility again or to reinstall MacOS! I risked it and reformatted my (sort of working) HFS+ internal drive to a blank APFS volume. I then reinstalled macOS and migrated everything over using Migration Assistant.

Honestly it sort of seemed like a bug that I was able to even do any of that because the T2 had Secure Boot enabled on the MBP and it was configured to NOT allow booting from external devices. Unwisely, I never changed the default settings before erasing the original APFS volume. But thank god it all worked out. I've since disabled all these T2 securities, I think they're much more of a headache than they're worth.

Now I have a WORKING 2018 MBP 32GB/2.9 i9/560X beast running on APFS! CMD-R is working again and everything has been perfect using the computer all of this morning.

Thanks to everyone for the support in getting this to work! I spent 10+ hours but finally figured out a way to both run an HFS+ volume on the 2018 MBP and find a workaround to access Disk Utility on the T2 chip even without having access to a local macOS Recovery reference volume.
[doublepost=1542654854][/doublepost]
Trey M wrote above:
And again, thanks for proving my theory -- that IT IS POSSIBLE to reformat the INTERNAL drive on a t2-equipped Mac to HFS+, if one wishes to do so.
Thanks for the advice. Yes it is certainly possible, the macOS volume was 100% working just not the Recovery volume. I suspect that had I originally made the smart decision to actually include the Recovery Partition as part of the CCC backup which I used as the source for my MBP HFS+ volume that the setup would've worked flawlessly including a functioning Recovery partition. So it certainly seems like HFS+ is fully supported on T2-based machines, though certainly frowned upon.

Apple is moving quickly by HFS+, which is signified by the fact that macOS Mojave drops support for flash storage volumes running HFS+ whatsoever. This was the reason I couldn't just install Mojave, which would've solved my problems.
 
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Fishrrman

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OP Trey --

That was kind of "an amazing journey" you went on.
Congratulations on getting it worked out on your own!
 
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