How to Factory Reset Your Mac

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After a period of time, you may find yourself looking for ways on how to factory reset your Mac. You may feel like starting out with a clean slate. The good news is you can easily restore your Mac to its factory settings whenever you need to.

However, keep in mind that it will erase all your data and everything you’ve done on it. This will essentially bring your laptop back to its state when you first took it out of the box. Whether you are considering selling your Mac or just want it to run faster, restoring your computer is sometimes a necessary evil.

Why Should You Do a Factory Reset?

If you’re selling your mac or handing it down to someone in your family, why is it important to factory reset your Mac? Number one is, you don’t want to risk identity theft. You need to remove personal information and make sure that there’s a working version of Mac OS installed after you factory reset your Mac so that it’s ready to use by the next owner.

Preparation

Before you do anything, it’s important to make the necessary preparations in order for you not to lose any important data.

  • Create a Backup

    This crucial step is called doing a backup. If you know that you have important files on your Mac, whether it’s for work or personal files like photos, documents, resumes, employment records, etc. make sure to keep a backup.

    You can do this by copying your files to an external hard drive or a regular USB if they’re not that big. Make sure to organize them so that they’re easy to find. Either you can compress them into a zip file or separate them into folders.

    Another way to back up your Mac is by using the Time Machine feature or you can clone your internal hard drive to an external one using an app like Carbon Copy Cloner. It allows you to access your old files.

  • Deauthorize iTunes

    Make sure to remove the authorization from your iTunes store account. Also, include third-party apps like Photoshop and other apps that are locked to your Mac.

  • Disable iCloud

    Sign out of the cloud and don’t forget to disable it. Click on iCould on System Preferences and remove all your personal data by clicking Delete from Mac.

How to Factory Reset Your Mac

Now here are the steps on how to wipe it completely and factory reset your Mac.

  • Connect to the Internet

    First, make sure that you are connected to the internet so you can download the latest version of the Mac OS and be able to run it on your computer. If possible, it should be a hard-line connection but WiFi will work as well.

  • Plug the Power Adapter

    You also need to make sure that you don’t run out of battery power. So either fully charges your mac before you factory reset your Mac or plug the power adapter.

  • Restart

    Now you can restart your computer. Click on the Apple menu and select Restart. Wait for your Mac to shut down and boot back up again. Before you get to the login screen, you will see a gray slate screen and you would have to hold down the Command key and the R key simultaneously once you see this gray screen. This is the way to get behind the scenes.

  • Disk Utility

    Once you’re in, it will open the Utilities pane and select Disk Utility. There could be slight variations on this step depending on the Mac OS version that you’re using but basically, look for the Startup Disk and click on Erase under this option.

  • Format

    Next, go to the Format option and set it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). After that, click again on Erase to successfully factory reset your Mac. This step would take some time.

    When it’s finished, go back to the Disk Utility menu and click on Quit Disk Utility.

At this point, you have successfully factory reset your Mac. But it is not finished yet. Now, you would have to install the operating system to get it to work again. As stated from the steps in the preparation above, make sure that you have downloaded the most current version of the Mac OS or the Mac OS that you prefer to install before proceeding to factory reset your Mac.

Reinstall the OS

So you have erased everything on your Mac and to complete the final process to factory reset your Mac, you would have to restore the operating system.

After you quit the Disk Utility, you will see an option that says Reinstall MacOS. Make sure to select this option and confirm that you want to reinstall, then proceed. Oftentimes, you would have to click through other confirmations before it allows you to start the installation.

For this step, you will need to double check that your Mac is connected to the internet because Apple keeps all its factory setting data on its servers. When you’re connected, your computer will look for its original source material and download a new version of all its settings.

Keep in mind that this download solution only works for the new versions of Mac OS. If you have a very early version of Mac OS, you will have to have the original Mac OS installation disc.

As a final note on the installation, if you are planning on selling your Mac or handing it over to someone else after you factory reset your Mac, you can leave the setup assistant untouched so that the new owner can customize the settings for themselves.

Alternative

Alternatively, you can also fully reinstall a new version of Mac OS without having to erase your past data. Consider it a lite version of a full factory reset. If you’re not planning on selling it, you can just skip the Erase step in the Disk Utility and proceed to Reinstall Mac OS.

If you’re looking for a MacBook Sleeve for your newly restored Mac, here is a guide on the best Macbook sleeve.