Whether you want to reset your old Mac for sale or start with a clean slate; in either case, you’ll need to factory reset your Mac so it doesn’t contain any of your data. With the help of this guide, resetting Mac is a snap. This is how you reset your MacBook, iMac or Mac mini to factory settings.
Prepare your Mac for the reset
Especially if you sell your Mac, it is important that you delete all your data. To ensure that this is done correctly, it is wise to first disable certain services and functions. Only then do you reset the Mac to factory settings by erasing the hard drive.
1. Make a backup
To reset your MacBook 2020 or other Mac without losing data, it is important to make a backup, for example via Time Machine. You may have already transferred all your files to a new Mac via Migration Assistant – that’s fine too. Only when you’re sure you won’t lose anything important when you restore, proceed with the next steps.
You can also use iCloud and iCloud Drive to store important files such as photos, documents, and apps. These can then be accessed from all your Apple devices – including your new Mac.
2. Sign out of iCloud
Sign out of iCloud, via ‘System Preferences>Apple ID’. This way you don’t collect devices on your Apple ID that you no longer have. You will now be asked if you want to keep a copy of your iCloud data. Uncheck the options and choose ‘Continue’, because you are going to erase your Mac. The data remains available in iCloud.
If you’re using iCloud Photos, you’ll be prompted to download the photos to your Mac. Choose ‘Remove from Mac’; the photos only disappear from your Mac; so they will still be available in iCloud.
It’s also helpful to sign out of programs that require a subscription, such as Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. In this way you avoid having to make sure that you are logged out in the services themselves later on.
3. Sign out of iMessage
Do you use the Messages app on your Mac? Open the Messages app and choose ‘Messages>Preferences’ in the menu. Click on the ‘iMessage’ tab and choose ‘Sign Out’.
4. Reset the NVRAM
Shut down your Mac, turn it on, and immediately hold down four keys at once: Option, Command, P, and R. Release the keys after about twenty seconds. Resetting the NVRAM clears user settings from memory. It may also restore security features that were changed.
5. Disconnect your Bluetooth devices
Open System Preferences and click “Bluetooth.” Is your Mac still linked to a keyboard, mouse, trackpad, controller, or another device? Then disconnect it by clicking the x next to the name of the device and choosing ‘Remove’. This prevents problems with Bluetooth if the new owner of the Mac is within Bluetooth range.
MacBook back to factory settings
You are ready to erase your Mac! Wiping the hard drive and reinstalling macOS Big Sur will reset your Mac to factory settings. That’s how you do that.
1. Reset MacBook Key Combination
Turn off the Mac; we are now going to reset the MacBook on startup. Then turn on the Mac and immediately hold down the Cmd + R keys simultaneously until you see an Apple logo. You are now in the recovery environment.
2. Disk Utility
Select your language and click the arrow at the bottom right to continue. In the window that appears, select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue.”
3. Erase MacBook Hard Drive
In the top-left sidebar, select Macintosh HD, then click Delete in the toolbar. Then choose ‘Delete volume group’. If you don’t see this button, click Clear. When the erasure is complete, click ‘Done’ to continue.
Also select other internal volumes in the sidebar, if you have them. Then click on the button bar above ‘Volume’ on the minus button (-) to remove the volume.
4. Mac back to factory settings
Close Disk Utility by clicking the red sphere at the top left. Select “Install macOS Big Sur” again and click Continue. Pay attention: Don’t turn off your Mac during this step!
Click through the installation and choose “Macintosh HD” when prompted for a target for the installation. Your Mac will now reinstall and reboot a few times. This installation can take up to half an hour.
Once you get the option to select a language, shut down your Mac. You have successfully reset it to factory settings. The next time someone turns it back on, it starts with the initial setup of macOS — as if it just took it out of the box.
Reset MacBook in macOS Monterey
It will soon be much easier to reset your MacBook, iMac or Mac mini. In macOS Monterey, Apple adds a new option: “Erase All Content and Settings.” You may already know this from the iPhone. With the option, you can reset your Mac to factory settings with one simple click.
The function is only available on Macs from 2017 or newer, such as the MacBook Pro 2018 or MacBook Pro 2020. You need a Mac with the system encrypted by the T2 chip. To activate the feature, open System Preferences. Then click in the menu on ‘System Preferences>Erase All Content and Settings’.