Wiping an APFS volume?

Valued Contributor

Hi Folks,

We are beginning to explore the use of [https://www.jamf.com/jamf-nation/discussions/25509/macos-high-sierra-upgrade-methods-options](link URL) and so far so good on existing Sierra Macs, HFS+ Journaled.

The problem comes around when attempting to run this on existing Macs that are on High Sierra and had their drives changed to APFS. In our testing, we are wanting a rock solution to remotely wipe dozens of lab Macs. We could go back to NetBoot/NetInstall to do this, but I would prefer to march down this new path in order to get these done, especially if NetBoot's days are numbered.

The section for doing a storage check is failing.

Any of you attempting to wipe and install APFS volume? Are you successful in getting this to work in some fashion? I have a portion in the script to use the new erase install command for 10.13.4.

Just curious what are others doing to wipe an APFS volume and lay down a new OS.


Valued Contributor III

Personally I am using NetInstall, given we have moved completely to deployments and no longer have JAMF Admin Configurations at all it mostly works...
Next year (we redo our labs every January) I am intending on pre populating with the macOS installer and using the --eraseInstall option as a policy out of Self Service, possibly with a NetInstall option as backup, although depending on how Caching Servers are behaving relative to macOS installers at the time, possibly using that instead.

Esteemed Contributor II

In APFS, volumes all share space in a container, shouldn't need to wipe any volume in a container, would only need to delete the volume, and add a new volume. Unless I'm missing something.


Valued Contributor

On our netboot image we run an applescript that checks the disk format for corestorage/apfs etc. before offering the user an option as to whether to wipe it in favour of HFS+ then launches casper imaging app. I can share this script if you want so you can try and automate it.

Valued Contributor

Thank you all for your replies. What I may do for the short term is continue with the NetInstall component until we can iron out the details of our workflow. Thank you all again!


I use this script in deploystudio that will find an APFS volume and erase it


#get disk identifier

disk_ID=$(diskutil list | grep synthesized | cut -f 1 -d ' ')

if [[ $disk_ID -eq "" ]]
    echo "ERROR: Sythensized volume not found!"
    exit 1
    echo "Disk found: " & $disk_ID
    diskutil apfs deleteContainer $disk_ID

exit 0


@mconners We are opposite of most shops which use Jamf Pro. We offer a completely setup machine with everything students would need. We hand them a case and they walk out ready on minute one.

What if Districts like ours did the same summer procedures as last year for 10.12 and then simply upgraded to High Sierra as the last step? Target Mode Imaging, Wipe, Install 10.12.6, Setup a local standard user, computer name from .csv file, add all the .pkg files, scripts, etc. The last step would be to launch the High Sierra installer upgrade policy to upgrade and then the Mac would be done.

These are 12th grade Macs repurposed to incoming 9th graders so we nuke and pave 300 machines each summer.