How to Wipe Your Mac and Reset it to Factory Settings

There could be all sorts of reasons why you may want to factory reset your Macbook Pro. Maybe your macOS device has run into an adamant issue that requires you to wipe out all the existing data. Maybe you want to give your computer away to your friend or sell it out as something brand new like the 16-inch MacBook Pro or the powerful Mac Pro has caught your eyes. Whatever could be your story, resetting Mac to factory default is always the right way to go – especially in such situations.

How to Reset Your Macbook Pro to Factory Settings

Before getting straight into the data erasing mode, don’t fail to put all of your files and sensitive info on the safer side. Also, turn off all the security & privacy features so that you can stay in complete control of everything.

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To make things easier for you, we have divided the entire guide into 7 main steps. While the first 6 ones are primarily aimed at securing data, the last one is about erasing Mac’s drive and reinstalling a fresh copy of the macOS. With that said, let’s head into the detailed breakdown!

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#1. Ensure That You Have Created the Backup of Your Mac

I have reiterated it many a time and I would like to emphasize it one more time – never fail to back up your Mac. As all of your existing data will be removed, put everything on the safer side first up. Speaking of the backup process on macOS, it has always been pretty simple.

To back up your Mac using Time Machine, make sure you have an external storage device. Once you have connected the device and set it up as a backup disk, Time Machine will kick in to make hourly backups for the past 24 hours. It takes daily backups of the last month and the weekly backups of all the previous months.

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Upon connecting an external drive to your Mac, a popup may appear asking whether you want to use the drive to back up with Time Machine.

Now, you have the option to encrypt the backup for an extra layer of safeguard. Keep in mind, you will need to enter the password to access the encrypted Time Machine Backup. If you want to do it, check the box for Encrypt Backup Disk. After that click on Use as Backup Disk.

Sticky Note:

  • Just in case Time Machine doesn’t ask you to use your drive, you can add it manually.
  • Launch System PreferencesTime MachineBackup Disk. Now, choose the external drive from the list of available disks.

Click Time Machine in System Preference on Mac

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Create Backup Using Time Machine on Mac

One more thing worth noting is that if your disk hasn’t been formatted, you will get an alert to erase it first. Make sure to click on Erase to continue.

Based on the number of files, the first backup might take a lot of time. So, grab a cup of hot tea and allow the backup process to finish without any disturbance. In the meantime, you can go about doing your work on the Mac while the backup is on behind the scene.

Side Note:

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#2. Deauthorize Your Mac from iTunes Store

Another important thing that you shouldn’t miss out before erasing your Mac is deauthorizing the device from iTunes, ensuring that it is no longer linked to the iTunes account. Furthermore, you are allowed to authorize only up to five computers with one Apple ID. Thus, it’s important to keep the authorization in check.

Wondering how you can deauthorize your Mac running macOS Catalina as iTunes is no longer available in the latest iteration of macOS? Well, needless to worry as Apple has kept the process straightforward – albeit slightly under the wraps.

On macOS Catalina or later, launch Music appPreferences from the menu bar.

Select Preferences in Music App in macOS Catalina

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Make sure the General tab is selected and then check the box for the iTunes Store.

Select iTunes Store in Music App Preferences on Mac

Going forward, the iTunes Store will begin to show up in the stock music app. Now, click on the Account menuAuthorizationsDe-authorize This Computer.

Click on Account Menu in on Mac

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Click on Deauthorize This Computer in iTunes Account on Mac

If your MacBook is running macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunesAccount menuAuthorizationsDeauthorize This Computer. Now, enter your Apple ID password and hit De-authorize. After that, sign out of iTunes.

#3. Unpair Bluetooth Devices from macOS Catalina

Though it’s optional, I would recommend you to unpair the Bluetooth devices. To unpair your Bluetooth devices, launch System PreferencesBluetooth. Now, hover the pointer over the device’s name which you wish to unpair. Then, click on the remove (x) button. Now, click on Remove in the popup to finish.

Unpair Your Bluetooth Device in Mac

#4. Disable FileVault on Mac

Again, it’s not mandatory but I would suggest you disable FireVault. For those unfamiliar, it’s the built-in disk encryption feature that encrypts your Mac’s hard drive using 128-bit AES encryption with a 256-bit key.

Step #1. Launch System Preferences on your Mac. Alternately, click on the Apple() menuSystem Preferences.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac

Step #2. Now, click on Security & Privacy pane.

Click on Security & Privacy in Mac System Preferences

Step #3. Make sure to select FileVault tab.

Select FileVault Tab in Security & Privacy on Mac

Step #4. Click on the lock icon and then enter your administrator password. Then, turn off FileVault.

Click on Lock in FileVault Tab in macOS Catalina

Click on Use Password in Security & Privacy in macOS Catalina

Use Password to Unlock FileVault on Mac

#5. Sign Out from Apple ID on Mac

From the security perspective, signing ou of Apple ID is a must. So, we are going to get it done without fail. One thing worth mentioning is that the iCloud files created on this Mac will be automatically archived into the Home folder. If you want to go for additional safeguards, you can copy them to your backup.

Open System PreferencesApple IDOverviewSign Out. Now, a popup will appear asking, whether you want to keep a copy of your iCloud data on the Mac.

Click on Apple ID in System Preferences on Mac

Sign Out from Apple ID on Mac

If you don’t keep a copy, all the data will be wiped out from this device. However, it will continue to be available on other devices synced with the same iCloud account.

To remove the iCloud data, uncheck the boxes for iCloud Drive, Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders. Then, click on Continue.

Important note: If you are using MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with Touch ID, you will get a prompt to confirm that your payment details will be removed from the Mac.

#6. Sign Out of iMessage on Mac

Just like iCloud, it’s also essential to sign out of iMessage. And if you want to stay on the safer side of the spectrum, make sure to do it.

Step #1. Open the Messages app on your Mac.

Step #2. Now, click on the Messages menu and choose Preferences.

Click on Preferences in Messages Menu on Mac

Step #3. Ensure that the iMessage tab is selected. Click on Sign Out and confirm.


Select iMessage Tab in Messages Preference on Mac

Select Sign Out in iMessages Tab on Mac

#7. Reset Your MacBook to Factory Default With Ease

To make the long process a tad straightforward for you, I have broken it down into three sections: Restarting macOS Utilities, erasing the drive and then reinstalling the macOS version.

Restart Your Mac in Recovery Mode

Now that you have taken care of all the basics, kickstart the macOS Utilities.

Step #1. To enter Recovery Mode on your Mac, click on the Apple() menu and choose Restart.

Step #2. Hold down the Command(⌘) and R keys immediately until the Apple() logo or the spinning globe shows up.

Step #3. If prompted, enter the firmware or administrator password and then click on Continue. You might also be asked to select a language.

When the startup is completed, the macOS Utilities window will appear.

Time to Erase your Mac’s Drive

It’s time to erase your macOS drive.

Step #1. Choose the Disk Utility option and then click on Continue.

Step #2. Now, select the hard drive (generally called Macintosh HD) in the sidebar.

Step #3. Click on the Erase button → Erase.

When Mac’s drive has been cleaned up, exit the program. To do so, go to the top menu and click on Disk UtilityQuit Disk Utility.

Reinstall a Fresh Copy of macOS

Now that you have erased your Mac, reinstall macOS.

Step #1. Assuming you are still in the macOS Utilities, select ‘Reinstall macOS‘ and then click on Continue.

Step #2. Now, you would be informed that your Mac will install the macOS version that it came with. Next, click on Continue to proceed.

Step #3. Agree to the terms and conditions to install the macOS.

Click Agree and then select where you wish to install the operating system i.e Macintosh HD.

Step #4. Click on Install to kickstart the downloading and installation process.

As the installation of the fresh copy of macOS generally takes a lot of time, wait for the whole process to complete patiently.

Step #5. Once the installation is over macOS will restart.

After that, you may have to enter your Apple ID and password. Just in case, you are selling your computer or giving it to someone, leave the setup process.

Wrapping Up…

There you go! That’s how you can give your Mac a fresh stance by resetting it to factory default. As it involves the removal of entire data, it’s always better to tick off all the essential procedures, ensuring your files have the needed shield.

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Jignesh Padhiyarhttps://www.igeeksblog.com
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of iGeeksBlog.com who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.
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