can't change the name (and disk ownership in APFS)!


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I have several APFS partitions on my newly-reformatted-to APFS external drive for my Big Sur M1 iMac, and I am unable to change the name of them when displayed in the Finder. I highlight the name under the disk icon, click on it again, and I don't go into name editing mode. Works fine on non-APFS partitions. When I bring up Get Info on those APFS partitions, the Name and Extension field is dimmed, and I can't change it there either. Force quitting and restarting Finder doesn't help. This is nuts. What's going on? Oh, I can't do it as Administrator either.

I have a suspicion that, somewhat curiously, I am not actually the owner of this partition, though I am listed as having Read & Write permission for it. I am unable to right click on my name in that list and assign ownership to myself, as I used to be able to do.

Disk Utility is not help. First Aid doesn't fix it, and Disk Utility doesn't seem to offer any means for assigning disk ownership.

How do you change disk ownership in APFS???
 
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OK, what I didn't say is that the disk I'm trying to change the name of us a backup startup volume. Evidently, when the startup volume is created, the disk is locked, and NO ONE is allowed to mess with it. This seems to be something new with APFS. I have another machine on MacOS Extended, and on that one, I can change the names of startup volumes with no problem.
 
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How did you make the startup volume backup? Time Machine, or Carbon Copy Cloner, or some other app? Hopefully you didn’t just drag copy in Finder.

If you want to rename any volume in macOS, you need to use Disk Utility. Select the volume name (under Container) and right-click to select Rename. Renaming macOS volumes, even in Disk Utility, can be tricky. Depending on the macOS version, the data sub-volume might not take on the name of the system volume and you may have to rename each separately after unmounting them.

You may need to be booted off of the system volume that you wish to rename in order to achieve this. In any case, I suggest doing this in Disk Utility, or if you are familiar enough with it, Terminal.
 
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I used SuperDuper to make the startup volume.

Now, the plot thickens. I upgraded from 11.3 to 11.4 last night, then did a backup. On THAT newer APFS backup I can change the name easily. That's the system I'm using now. Whaaa? The APFS backup (in another partition) that I did yesterday in another partition still can't have its name changed. Not clear if 11.4 fixed something, or if the 11.3 backup I did yesterday was just screwed up somehow. Maybe I have to actually be booted onto that startup volume to be able to change the name of it? But I'm not booted into a much older backup (Mac OS Extended, El Capitan), and I can now change that name easily.

On that latter APFS volume that I did yesterday in 11.3 that I can't change the name under the icon, I also can't change the name in Disk Utility. The Rename option is dimmed.
 
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I maintain paid copies of both SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner and use one or the other depending on how each performs at any given time. However, for the latest versions of macOS I don’t trust either to make (trouble-free) bootable clones. I still rely on Time Machine for restoration/migration.

I think what you experienced with renaming the startup drive was due to the fact that you were renaming the active drive. Disk Utility will allow that. If you wish to rename an inactive (Catalina or Big Sur) drive, you must unmount the volumes (system and data) before renaming them. I have not done this before but you may have to rename the volumes separately (e.g. “Macintosh HD” and “Macintosh HD - Data”) AFTER unmounting them.

I don’t think that the difference was between 11.3 and 11.4.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to reboot into recovery and open Disk Utility. Renaming volumes should be a lot easier that way.

One last thing… Big Sur, or for that matter, Catalina users probably have something to look forward to: macOS Monterey seems to be way better than the previous systems. I was having so much trouble with Big Sur 11.5 that I decided to upgrade my production system to Monterey beta 2. Aside from several apps and utilities not functioning 100%, everything seems to be way more stable. This is the earliest stage of macOS beta when I decided to update my main production system. I do maintain double CCC clones as well as dual Time Machine backups, so I feel confident that no matter what, I can always revert back if need be.

For the purpose of performing a clean reinstall of macOS, you can always get a fresh copy of the installer from the App Store.
 
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OK, that's interesting. So far, the SuperDuper 3.5-beta3 is working very well for me.

Now, you say I can rename a startup drive if I unmount it and use Disk Utility on it. For the startup disk that I made yesterday, that doesn't work. I unmount it, and Disk Utility will not let me rename it. The Rename function is blanked out. Something just was very strange about that backup. Perhaps that was a SuperDuper issue? Need to ask Dave about it. Subsequent backups seem to be behaving normally.
 
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Did you try booting into recovery and running Disk Utility?

By the way, macOS 11.5 was just issued. Maybe worth a try? I’ve had so much trouble with Big Sur that I decided to try Monterey beta. Never been happier, in spite of some minor (expected) conflicts.
 
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Disk Utility doesn't help, and no, I didn't want to bother booting into recovery. If this was going to be a regular problem, I wouldn't want to consider that an appropriate solution.
 

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