Free APFS Reader for Windows
Linux Reader lets you read APFS-formatted disks for free, as well as other file systems, including exFAT, RomFS, Reiser4, Ext4, etc. All popular types of storage are supported: SSDs, HDDs, SD cards, other memory cards, etc.
DiskInternals products support APFS only in reader mode, because of APFS’s particular design.
What makes APFS special
APFS is Apple's file system for its devices. Created in 2014, the first devices with APFS were computers running MacOS Sierra. This file system is free from the flaws of HFS+ and is configured primarily to protect user data through a unique encryption process.
Due to encryption on APFS, which consists of the destruction of the decryption keys the moment allocated space is released (i.e., becomes unallocated), iOS data recovery is impossible.
How to read APFS on Windows
There is currently no analogue to the Linux Reader application, which is completely free to use.
The upgraded version, Linux Reader Pro, has extra features, but Linux Reader has been and remains free.
If you need to access an APFS-formatted disk on Windows, DiskInternals can help solve the issue.
Here's how to deal with this situation:
Download DiskInternals Linux Reader and then install it on the computer.
You will have up to four options to help you use Linux Reader as an APFS reader.
These options are:
- 1 - Use an APFS disk image.
- 2 - Connect a physical APFS-formatted disk (SSD or HDD) — this is less likely to succeed due to the structure of the disk, but still worth a shot.
- 3 - Connect via SSH to APFS-formatted storage
- 4 - Dual boot (two different operating systems on the same computer, with one of them being iOS)
Linux Reader: an APFS reader on Windows
Let's take a closer look at each option to access APFS files using DiskInternals Linux Reader:
- 1. If you have a disk image, follow these steps:
Launch DiskInternals Linux Reader and select the “Disks” tab.
Next, click the "Mount Image" button (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + M).
Open the RAW disk image.
After that, click Next and go to the image. Select the image and attach it, then update the list of disks in the software (by pressing F2).
- 2. If you are connecting a physical drive:
Initially attach the drive to the computer and start DiskInternals Linux Reader.
Then select the drive (double-click the left mouse button and it will open).
- 3. When dual-booting, do the following:
Launch DiskInternals Linux Reader and select the required drive.
Double-click on it and it will open.
- 4. If you are using an SSH connection:
For SSH connections, you need to use Linux Reader Pro.
Launch the software and click on the “Disks” tab.
Then select “Connect to remote SSH” (or press Ctrl + N), and fill in the fields “Address”, “Username” and “Password”.
Next, update the list of disks in the software (by pressing F2)
NOTE! When you use an SSH connection, the disk should not be in use. This means that the moment you connect via SSH, the drive should not be used by iOS.
Is Linux Reader the only Windows APFS reader?
Currently, yes. It is the only free Windows APFS reader. But there are other DiskInternals products that can be used as an APFS reader in Windows, such as:
Any of these products can read APFS disks. Which one is best is up to you.
Linux Reader is 100% secure software
Using DiskInternals Linux Reader, you will get read-only access to disks, bypassing security policies. The source files will remain unchanged; reader mode lets you browse or copy files, but not change them. So privacy and data protection remain absolutely important.