If you want to sell your old Macbook or Mac, you have to delete all files from your computer. And in this guide, you will learn how you can reset your MacBook to factory settings.
The year 2021 can be described as the year the Super Macs came. Strictly speaking, Apple’s switch from the Intel platform to its own processors began at the end of 2020, with the iMac M1, the first really new model came in May. And in the second half of the year, we can expect new MacBook Pros and possibly a refurbished Mac Mini as well.
So, for many Mac owners, it is the perfect time to upgrade. Or should it be the established Intel Macs for a few more years, mainly because of their compatibility with Windows programs via The Boot-Camp or virtualization? But then, go to the Apple Store, there are still some interesting devices in stock, while the iMac Pro is the first one that has already disappeared from the range.
Whether your new Mac should be one of the first with Apple Silicon or one of the last with a core chip based on x86: The purchase of a new computer can be financed to a large extent by selling an older device. Apple devices may be a bit more expensive to buy, but their value is stable. Below you will learn how to reset your MacBook and erase all your personal data.
Clean Up Before Giving Away Or Selling
If you want to sell the old computer when you buy a new device, or give it away or otherwise pass it on within your family or circle of friends, the question arises: How do I actually set my Macbook back to the factory settings? In our instructions we clarify how you can reset your Macbook:
For Those Who Know Their Way Around And Only Want A Quick Overview:
1. Copy Your Data: Time Machine users can easily use their backup. After starting a new Mac for the first time, you will be asked if you want to restore your data from a Time Machine backup. This should of course be up to date and contain all data.
Alternatively, you can use an app like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to backup a copy of your internal hard drive to an external hard drive. So you have access to all your old files and the copy can be restored at any time. By the way, cautious people can make a copy using both methods to be safe.
2. Remove Permission: Remove permission for your Mac in iTunes (macOS High Sierra and earlier only).
3. Turn off Filevault (if you are using it).
4. Recovery Mode: Start the Mac in the recovery system (keyboard shortcut Command + R during the boot process).
5. Erase Your Drive Using Disk Utility: Use Disk Utility to erase your hard drive. Click Disk Utility> Next. Select your main hard drive and choose “Erase”. Then quit Disk Utility.
6. Reinstall macOS: Click on “Reinstall macOS” and “Next”. Then follow the instructions to reinstall macOS.
Note: The steps and methods can be different for Intel and M1 macs. In the following, you can find detailed instructions.
Step 1: Clone Your Hard Drive
Before you erase all of your data from your Mac’s hard drive, you should back it up somewhere else. Or rather: clone, because you can easily restore your “backup” at any time. The best way to do this is with a special program like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. You also need an external hard drive. Then simply select your internal hard drive as the source and the external one as the destination in the programs and start the copying process with “Clone”.
You should now also be able to boot from your external hard drive. To test this, restart your Mac and hold the Alt key while it boots. Use the arrow keys to select the external hard drive as the source and confirm by Entering.
The cloned hard drive can also be “cloned back” to the main drive if necessary. These tools can also be used to create a bootable copy of the M1 Macs on an external medium, but this is not a complete clone as no system files are copied. To start this clone you need access to an internal SSD of the M1 Mac, which in this case does not lead to any problem.
Step 2: Remove iTunes Permissions (High Sierra And Older)
Next, you need to unlink your MacBook or Mac from your iTunes account. After all, only five macOS devices in total can be linked to a single iTunes account – and you shouldn’t transfer this permission to someone else. Open iTunes and click Account> Authorizations> Deauthorize This Computer in iTunes / Music. Then enter your Apple ID and password and confirm your choice.
Step 3: Turn Off The FileVault
FileVault encrypts the files on your hard drive and is particularly important for users of mobile computers. Before you can take any further steps towards the factory settings, you must switch off the service, if you have activated it. You don’t need to worry about security, after all, your data will soon be deleted anyway.
Open System Preferences and click Security & Privacy> Filevault. Check whether Filevault is switched off for the hard disk in question. If it doesn’t, click the little lock icon at the bottom left, enter your password, and click Unlock. Then click on “Turn off FileVault”.
Step 4: Restart The Mac In The Recovery System
First, make sure you are connected to the internet as you will need an internet connection to reinstall macOS. Restart the Mac via “Apple> Restart” and hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys at the same time during the boot process. A window with the tools of the recovery system appears.
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Step 5: Erase The Hard Drive
Select Disk Utility and click Next. Now select your main hard drive (usually named Macintosh HD) and click on “Unmount”. Now switch to the “Erase” tab and select “Erase” to format your hard drive. Keep in mind that the deletion process permanently removes all of your data from the hard drive – so do not take this step until you have saved all of the data you want to rescue! When the deletion is complete, exit the program.
Step 6: Reinstall macOS
Now click on “Reinstall macOS” and follow the instructions on the screen. This will install a fresh copy of macOS Big Sur on your Mac. DO NOT enter your Apple ID or password during installation; Leave this step of the installation to the future, for the new owner of the Macbook.
For Professionals Only: Delete The Secure Enclave
New Macbooks with Touch Bar has a special memory chip, the so-called Secure Enclave. A new installation from the recovery partition will delete this data, but a simple reformatting will not. However, you can delete the data stored here using the recovery partition.
Restart the Mac via “Apple> Restart” and hold down the Cmd and R keys at the same time during the boot process. Then enter the command “xartutil –erase-all” via the Terminal utility. After pressing the line feed you have to confirm this command with “yes”. There You Have It!