How To Factory Reset A Mac

After around 2-3 years of use, many people tend to sell or donate their Macs in favor of getting some bucks to offset the cost of a new Mac/PC. The thing is, many users forget to clear out their Macs, leaving their precious notebooks/desktops and the info in them vulnerable to misuse. In this tutorial, we’ll tell you not only how to factory reset your Mac, but also how to provide the new owners with a fresh start.

Note: The following method will work for all model of Mac, including Macbook, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and iMac.

Many consider removing their user account from the system itself, and setting up a new administrative account for the new owners. While this is also helpful, the easiest and most thorough way is to simply fully format your system and reinstall OS X.

The first step in any factory reset, whether it be a tablet, mobile or PC/Mac, is to have a complete backup. Backing up your Mac is very easy. You can either do this using Time Machine, or a system cloning tool. Whichever method you choose to follow, you will have a full copy of your files and data which you can restore or migrate to a new system, if needed.

Mac-Factory-Set-Time-Machine

The second step, always be sure to disable any services that are specifically associated with your system. This step can easily be overlooked or forgotten, so always remember to perform it. For example, if you play your iTunes music on additional computers, you will need to authorize them to play any DRM-protected iTunes content. If the Mac you are parting with is one of these systems, then first disable this authorization.

Deauthorizing an iTunes account  on a Mac

Many people tend to upgrade or add expansions to the system for better performance results. We know that RAM and hard drive upgrades are extremely difficult to undo, so it will better to add the cost of these upgrades into the selling price. However, if you have a Mac Pro with PCI express card that you wish to use on your future Mac (or PC), be sure to remove them from the system.

The next and final step is to format your system and reinstall the original operating system software that came with it when you bought it. You can install the latest version of OS X that you purchased from the App Store, but normally, if you dig in a little bit, these copies are registered on your name and account, not the new owners. If you reinstall the original version of OS X that came with your system, you will give the new owners the chance to choose for themselves what version of the OS they would like to install.

Factory-reset-mac-mac-air

Follow the following steps for reinstalling your Mac if it has a disc tray and you have a restoration DVD (comes with Macs that include disc trays).

  1. Insert your restoration DVD into the optical drive.
  2. Reboot with the “C” key held down.
  3. After selecting your language, choose “Disk Utility” from the Utilities menu.
  4. In Disk Utility, choose your internal hard drive. (It’s listed above any volume names contained on it.)
  5. You should now see a Partition tab appear.
  6. In this tab, choose “1 Partition” from the drop-down menu, give the partition a name, set the format to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and Partition.

Follow the following steps if your Mac did not come with a restoration disc:

  1. Ensure you have an appropriate internet connection. OS X will access Apple’s servers and download all the installation tools for the correct version that came preinstalled on your system.
  2. Reboot pressing down the “Option + Command + R” keys to force loading to Internet Recovery.
  3. After selecting your language, choose “Disk Utility” from the Utilities menu.
  4. In Disk Utility, choose your internal hard drive. (It’s listed above any volume names contained on it.)
  5. You should now see a Partition tab appear.
  6. In this tab, choose “1 Partition” from the drop-down menu, give the partition a name, set the format to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and Partition.

Once your system’s hard drive has successfully been formatted, you can continue to run the OS X installer, and wait for the content to download and be set up on the system.

After the installer completes, your system will restart. On booting up, it will show the welcome screen of the OS X setup assistant. Don’t continue, you can now hold the power button to shut off the system. Next time when it will be turned on, the new owners will be bought to the same screen.

Congratulations! Your Mac is now ready for the new owners to turn on and set up, as if the Mac arrived straight from the factory.