Computers, Laptops & Tablets Apple Apple Partition Types: How and When to Use Them Understanding partition schemes for your Mac By Tom Nelson Writer Tom Nelson is an engineer, programmer, network manager, and computer network and systems designer who has written for Other World Computing,and others. our editorial process Facebook Twitter Tom Nelson Updated February 02, 2020 Apple Macs iPad Tweet Share Email Partition types, or as Apple refers to them, partition schemes, define how the partition map is organized on a hard drive. Apple directly supports three different partition schemes: Apple File System (APFS), Mac OS Extended, and MS-DOS (FAT)\ExFAT. With three different partition maps available, which one should you use when you format or partition a hard drive? Instructions in this article apply to macOS 10.13 High Sierra and later. Understanding Partition Schemes Apple File System (APFS): The primary file system used by macOS 10.13 or later. It is the default file system for macOS. There are several types of APFS. APFS: Uses the APFS format.APFS (Encrypted): Uses the APFS format and encrypts the partition.APFS (Case-sensitive): Uses APFS format and has case-sensitive folders and filenames.APFS (Case-sensitive, Encrypted): Uses APFS format, has case-sensitive folders and filesnames, and encrypts the partition. Mac OS Extended: This file system is used by macOS 10.12 or earlier. Within Disk Utility, it has 4 different modes as well. Mac OS Extended (Journaled): Uses the Mac format Journaled HFS Plus to safeguard the integrity of the hierarchical file system (HFS).Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted): Uses the Mac format, encrypts the partition, and requires a password.Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled): Uses the Mac format and has case-sensitive folders.Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted): Uses t he Mac format, has case-sensitive folders, encrypts the partition, and requires a password. MS-DOS (FAT) and ExFAT: These are file systems uses with Microsoft Windows. ExFAT: This is used for Windows volumes that are 32 GB or less in size.MS-DOS (FAT): This is used for Windows volumes that are over 32 GB in size. Selecting and Changing the Partition Scheme Changing the partition scheme requires reformatting the drive. All data on the drive will be lost in the process. Be sure and have a recent backup available so you can restore your data if needed. Launch Disk Utilities, located at Go > Utilities. In the list of devices, select the hard drive or device whose partition scheme you wish to change. Be sure to select the device and not any of the underlying partitions that may be listed. Select Partition. Disk Utility will display the volume scheme currently in use. Select the + (Plus sign) under the volume graphic. Select Format to select one of the available schemes. Enter a name for your new partition in the Name field. Select a size for your new partition by either entering a number in Size or by moving the resize control on the graphical image. Select Apply when you're satisfied with your settings. At the confirmation screen, select Partition. Disk Utility will begin the partitioning process. If you want to see what it's doing, select Show Details. You will be asked if you want to use the partition for a Time Machine. You can Decide Later, Use as a Backup Disk, or if you have another use, select Don't Use. Select Done to finish.