Using Apple File System (APFS) with your virtualized Mac

Apple has just released the macOS High Sierra with new features, one of them is the brand-new Apple File System (APFS) that is optimized for flash storage which newer Macs enjoy. If you happen to be using macOS in a virtualized way, e.g. with VMware, you may have trouble getting the new OS to work as the upgrade forces conversion of the boot partition to APFS which the VMware UEFI does not support.

To solve the problem, we need to let the VMware UEFI know APFS and luckily the APFS driver can be extracted from the High Sierra installer as a UEFI driver executable. We can then slip the driver to the UEFI BIOS that bundles with VMware Player itself and everything should work.

Getting Started

We’ll need 3 things before modifying the VMware UEFI BIOS. They are listed below:

To simplify things, you can download my modified UEFI BIOS (tested on VMware Workstation Pro 14, may work for other versions too). If that ROM doesn’t work for you, go after these steps to get a modified BIOS with APFS support.

Use UEFITool to open EFI64.rom located at [VMware Installation Folder]/x64/, select File > Search and choose GUID tab. Type in 961578FE-B6B7-44C3-AF35-6BC705CD2B1F and double click the result inside Message section. Leave this screen for now.

Extract the FFS tool to the same directory as the APFS driver file. Open your command prompt, change directory to that place and run this command: GenMod apfs.efi .


Go back to UEFITool, right-click the selected item and choose Insert After, then select apfs.ffs from the FFS directory. The screen should look like this.


Save the modified ROM with the name efi64_apfs.rom to your VM directory.

Applying the new UEFI BIOS

To get the modified UEFI BIOS to work, use a text editor to open the VMX file. Ensure the file contains the following lines.

firmware = "efi"
efi64.filename = "efi64_apfs.rom"

Save the VMX file and start your VM, your macOS High Sierra will now boot as expected with an APFS volume. Voila!

9 Replies to “Using Apple File System (APFS) with your virtualized Mac”

  1. Thanks for this. It was working well for us, until this weekend when the VM was restarted. Now it boots the blue “Boot Manager” screen, where we can’t get any of the boot options to work 🙁
    Was there an Apple update that might have been applied, that could have broken this?

    VMware ESXi, 6.5.0, 16389870
    VM version 11

  2. I am unable to start the VM. I get a dictionary error. If I remove

    firmware = “efi”
    efi64.filename = “efi64_apfs.rom”

    from the .vmx, I am able to start the VM and the Mojave installer from a USB stick

    Is there something different needed for Workstation 14?

    I tried the premade efi64_apfs.rom and created one (even tried with the Mojave APFS.efi)
    Thank you

  3. You are my hero!

    ESXI 6.5.0 (Build 4564106)
    unlocker v2.1.0

    OSX El Capitan Install first; upgrade to High Sierra would not boot. This fixed it!!

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