Restoring your Mac to its factory settings will erase all of your hard drive data as well as your personalized preferences and settings. You can solve a number of technical issues by restoring a MacBook to its factory settings, and this is also something you should do before you sell your Mac or give it to someone – you will protect your personal data. and allow the new owner to personalize the device. .
Our simple step-by-step guide will help you erase everything on your Mac, reinstall MacOS, and restore your machine to its original factory settings.
Erase your Mac or MacBook
Step 1: For MacBooks, plug in the AC adapter to prevent the risk of battery drain.
2nd step: Make sure your Mac is connected to the Internet, preferably through a wired connection. Erasing your hard drive is simple, but once erased you’ll need to go to your Mac’s factory settings. Apple stores this data remotely on its servers.
Step 3: Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select Restart from the drop-down menu.
Step 4: After your Mac has restarted, press the button Order + R keys together. Keep holding them until your Mac displays either an Apple logo, a spinning globe, or some other startup screen. This brings you to MacOS recovery.
Step 5: After a few moments, enter your password as requested. The MacOS utilities pop-up appears on your screen. To select Disk Utility in the list and click To continue.
Step 6: Your Mac’s startup disk is listed on the left, usually named “Macintosh HD” by default, unless you’ve renamed it. Another drive is also listed with the word “Data” appended to the end. For example, if your startup disk is Macintosh HD, you should also see a drive labeled Macintosh HD – Data. If you don’t have a data drive, don’t worry, just go to step 9.
Step 7: Select the data drive, click Edit in the menu bar, then select Delete the APFS volume from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, with the data reader selected, you can click the button Less button in the Disk Utility toolbar.
Step 8: In the window that appears, click Wipe off to confirm. Make sure you don’t click Delete the volume group. If you have other data drives, delete them as well, but leave the normal Macintosh HD drive alone.
Step 9: Select your primary volume – again this is usually Macintosh HD – then vslick it Wipe off button. Assign a name (or stay with Macintosh HD) and select a format.
To note: For the file format, you must choose either APFS Where Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Disk Utility displays the recommended format by default – stick to it unless you have a specific reason for another format.
Step 10: Click on Wipe off. You may see a prompt for your Apple credentials.
Finally, it may take some time to erase your Mac’s drive. When finished, close Disk Utility to return to the MacOS Utilities window.
Reinstalling the operating system
With the primary drive erased, you now need to reinstall MacOS. Click it Reinstall MacOS option on MacOS utilities list and click To continue proceed. You may need to click a few confirmations and enter your password before continuing.
Because Apple stores your Mac’s factory settings on its servers, your computer requires an Internet connection to be able to retrieve new settings offline.
To note: This download solution only works with new versions of MacOS. This shouldn’t be a problem for modern devices, which are all designed to download factory settings from the web.
However, if you are working with Snow Leopard (10.6) or earlier, you cannot reinstall these settings from the web. Instead, you’ll need the original macOS installation disc that came with your computer.
Also, when you reinstall macOS, an installation wizard will ask you basic questions about your region etc.
If you’re selling or giving away your Mac, don’t touch the setup wizard. Instead, hold the Order + Q to close the configuration wizard, then click To close. This will shut down your Mac and let the Setup Assistant wait for the new owner.
Alternative: overwrite the installation
If wiping down your MacBook isn’t ideal, you can completely reinstall MacOS without erasing any data. This is the “light” version of a full erase since you don’t need to erase the drive if you just want a clean new install.
This option is useful if you have corrupted data, malware that you cannot isolate, or issues resulting from a faulty update. However, this process can leave data that would be relatively easy to recover, meaning this method is not a good idea if you are selling or giving away your Mac.
Nonetheless, if you go ahead with this method, follow the steps below. As always, be sure to back up all the data and documents you want to keep.
Step 1: Shut down your Mac and restart it as you normally would. Immediately after turning on your computer, hold down the Order + R keys, then release the keys when you see the Apple logo. This will open the MacOS Utilities window in MacOS Recovery.
2nd step: Select Reinstall MacOS on the list. Confirm that you want to reinstall the operating system, which installs the latest version.
Alternative: Time machine
If you already use Time Machine to store backups, you can use it to restore MacOS as well. This is useful if you want to restore particular settings and data instead of your entire operating system, perhaps for the purpose of backing up data while dealing with a bug or similar issue.
Step 1: Shut down your Mac and restart it normally. Once turned on, hold the Order + R keys, then release the keys when you see the Apple logo. This opens the MacOS Utilities window in MacOS Recovery.
2nd step: To select Restore from Time Machine backup on the list. Remember, if you save backups to an external drive or server, your Mac must be connected to those devices to complete the restore.
If you sell or give away your MacBook, be sure to completely remove authorization from your Mac and all connected devices before you restore the original factory settings. This is to prevent anyone from accessing your personal information in the future.
Step 1: Launch Apple Music and click Account in the menu bar.
2nd step: In the drop-down menu, hover over Permissions, then click Cancel the authorization of this computer.
Apple Music will now remove that particular Mac from its list of allowed devices. You will no longer be able to access any of your Apple Music content from your machine, but neither will anyone else.
It’s not enough to just sign out of iCloud, you should also make sure that no local data remains on your computer.
Step 1: Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
2nd step: Click it Apple ID icon in the System Preferences the window.
Step 3: Select the Overview category listed on the left, then click the Sign out button.
MacOS will ask you if you want to keep your current iCloud data on the machine. Since this is not the case, uncheck the boxes for anything you want to remove. Depending on what you decide to do with your MacBook, you can’t uncheck any box.
If you are considering replacing your old Mac with a new one, you might want to sell your old Mac or give it away. Whatever your decision, it’s important to sign out of Mac’s Messages app to keep your messages private. Disconnecting the Messages app from Mac will sever the connection between your old MacBook and your iPhone, preventing you from leaving private information behind. The simple process only takes two quick steps.
Step 1: Open the Messages app. To select messages in the menu bar. Then click Preferences from the drop-down menu.
2nd step: Click it iMessage tab in the window that opens. Then click Sign out.
There are many arguments for backing up your data. You don’t want the new owner of your computer to gain access to your personal or sensitive information, to begin with. Also, emptying your computer before handing it over is a thoughtful thing to do. If you need a little help, check out our guides on backing up data to an external drive and backing up data with iCloud.