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How To Factory Reset MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac
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How To Factory Reset MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac

When selling, trading in or giving away your Mac, you need to do more to guarantee your personal security than simply deleting your files and calling it a day.

We have a solution! To ensure no personal data is available to anyone else, you can download MacKeeper, which will help you to clean your Mac as if it’s brand new. 

How to Reset Mac to Factory Settings

Note: the following sequence is applicable to both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.


Plug in your power adapter. Then follow our guide once your system is copied, and you’ve logged out of your accounts and services. Before you wipe your Mac and erase any hard drive data, the first thing you need to do is start up from the Recovery mode.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen and choose Restart.
  2. When your Mac shuts off and powers back on, press and hold the Command + R keys until you see the Apple logo. Then release the keys. While in Recovery mode, you won’t see your usual login screen. Instead, you’ll see the macOS Utilities window.

macOS utilities menu

  1. In the macOS Utilities window, choose Disk Utility and click Continue.
  2. Choose your ‘Macintosh HD’ startup disk (by default) and click Erase.
  3. For the macOS High Sierra and higher, choose APFS format. For the older macOS versions select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format or Journaled, Encrypted as an extra security option with disk encryption. In this case you'll be asked to create a password. Select GUID Partition Map.
  4. Click Erase.
  5. Wait until the process is finished. When it’s done, go to the Disk Utility menu at the top, then quit Disk Utility.
  6. From the macOS Utilities window, choose Reinstall macOS. Consider installing the latest macOS Catalina.
  7. Press Continue, accept licence agreement and choose a bootable drive for your macOS.
  8. After the installation process, you have been sucsessfully factory reset your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

Steps to do Before Factory Resetting your MacBook

For extra security, it’s crucial to back up all your files before restoring your MacBook to factory settings. That way you’ll be able to make sure that none of your personal details are compromised while your Mac is fully prepared for the new owner.

How to back up your Mac

The easiest way to create a backup of all your files before wiping a Mac is to copy your system with all its components. It is best to use Time Machine, a built-in MacOS utility that will do all the heavy lifting for you. Using this service means you won’t have to manually import the files to another physical drive. When you’re up and running on your new Mac, you can restore everything in a snap.

 

If you are planning to sell or give away your Mac, you may want to erase all your personal data so that the new user has no access to it.

  • Sign out of iTunes
  • Open the iTunes app
  • Click iTunes next to the Apple logo
  • Select Account
  • Find the Authorizations option in the list and click Deauthorize This Computer
  • Enter your Apple ID and password to confirm
  • Click Deauthorize

Sign out of iCloud

For macOS Catalina and later

  • Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences
  • Click Apple ID
  • On the sidebar, select Overview and click Sign Out

For macOS Mojave and earlier

  • Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences
  • Select iCloud and click Sign Out

Sign out of iMessage

  • Open the Messages app
  • Click Messages next to the Apple logo and select Preferences
  • Click iMessage, then Sign Out

Optional: Unpair your Bluetooth devices

If you are selling your Mac but plan to keep your wireless mouse or keyboard, it’s a good idea to unpair them from your old Mac. If you don’t unpair the devices and the new owner of your Mac gets in the Bluetooth range of your peripherals, it can cause inconvenience for both of you.

 

Your keyboard or mouse will try to connect to the old Mac and may  get disconnected from yours. This can result in the characters you type appear on the old Mac’s screen, which is not safe.

 

If you use iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro, you will need to connect a wired keyboard to perform the steps.

  • Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences
  • Select the Bluetooth section
  • Hover your mouse over the name of the device to unpair and click the X button next to it

Reset NVRAM

Resetting NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) will erase certain settings. These include your time zone, sound volume, recent kernel panic information, and configurations of your startup-disk and display. It will also restore security features to default.

 

To reset NVRAM, do the following:

  • Shut down your Mac: click the Apple logo and select Shut down
  • Look at your keyboard and find the following keys: Option + Command (⌘) + P + R. You will need to quickly press and hold these keys together in the next step, so you may want to remember their location
  • Turn back on your Mac and immediately press and hold Option + Command (⌘) + P + R
  • Hold the keys for about 20 seconds and then release them

Don’t forget, you can use these instructions if you’re selling your Mac or if you want to erase your startup disk to reinstall macOS. If you plan on keeping your Mac, you might be interested in our guide on how to make a bootable macOS installer before the factory reset process.

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