If you are planning to gift your Mac to someone else or you want to sell it, deleting your files is not enough. You need to reset Mac to its factory settings to make sure that your hard drive is fresh and clean. Resetting your computer to Mac factory settings involves reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling a fresh copy of macOS or macOS X into your computer. Through this, all your files, personal data, and preferences will be totally erased from the computer and your Mac will be just like when it was new.
The Mac factory reset method is generally the same for every Mac as long as the macOS supports recovery mode. Take note that factory resetting your Mac is different from a simple reinstall of your Mac system software. To reset Mac, you need to clean the drive of all data. It is different from reinstalling the OS X system software, as it doesn’t require you to reformat the drive and all the files are kept intact.
Resetting your Mac to factory settings means that all apps and personal files are deleted, so make a backup first before proceeding with the reset. To back up your files, first, run a 3rd party cleaning tool like Outbyte MacRepair to remove the junk from your computer. This way, you will only be able to copy the files that you need. After backing up your files, log out of your accounts and services. Here are the services you need to de-authorize:
- You can only use up to five Macs for every iTunes account. Don’t forget to de-authorize the Mac you’re about to reset before erasing your disk, so it will no longer be counted by iTunes as part of your account. To do this, open iTunes, click Account > Authorizations > De-authorize This Computer. Type in your Apple ID and password, and then click De-authorize.
- If your hard disk is encrypted using FileVault, turn off FileVault before proceeding with the reset. Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy and then choose the FileVault tab. Click the lock icon at the bottom left, enter your admin password and then click Unlock. Next, click Turn Off FileVault.
- Open System Preferences > iCloud and then click Sign Out Now. If you want to remove all your personal data (which will be deleted anyway when you reset Mac), click Delete From Mac on every pop-up.
To reformat your hard drive and restore your computer to its Factory Settings, follow these steps:
- The first thing you need to do is restart using Recovery mode. To do this, click the Apple button, and choose Restart. This will shut down your Mac and power back on.
- Once your computer turns on, press and hold Command + R.
- Release the key combination when the Apple logo appears. This will open the macOS Utilities window.
- While in the macOS Utilities window, choose Disk Utility. Click Continue.
- Select your startup disk and click Erase.
- Select macOS Extended (Journaled) format, and then click Erase.
- You will see a progress bar that says how much time the reformatting will take. When the disk has been emptied, go back to the Disk Utility and close the window.
Now that your hard drive has been completely emptied and made free of any data. It is now ready for re-installing new macOS. To install a fresh copy of macOS, do the following:
- Go back to the macOS Utilities window and choose Reinstall macOS. If you’re using an older version, choose Reinstall OS X.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to install macOS.
- Your computer will restart once the installation is complete.
Once the installation is complete, your computer will ask for an Apple ID and password. If you’re still going to use your Mac, you can enter your existing Apple ID and password. However, if you plan to give your Mac to someone else or sell it, you can leave your computer as it is. It is now up to the new owner to enter their own information.