If you plan to give away, sell, or trade in your Mac, the first thing you should do is erase the data on it and perform a factory reset. This article shows you how.

macbook notebooks

First, Back Up Your Data

Before you do anything, you should back up the files on your Mac. You could do this manually by copying across files onto an external drive. If you use iCloud, your photos, mail, contacts, documents, and so on should be automatically backed up in cloud storage.

hero timemachineHowever, we highly recommend that you take the time to perform a Time Machine backup of your system using an external drive. That way, the same backup volume can be used by Apple's Migration Assistant during a macOS installation to quickly transfer your applications, files and settings from the old Mac to a new one.

Check out our dedicated guide on how to back up your Mac using Time Machine.

Unlink your Apps

There are certain apps that will need to be manually unlinked from your Mac before you say goodbye to it. Some third-party apps require licenses that only work on a limited number of computers, so think about any licenses you may have purchased.

itunes 12 2 iconSimilarly, you should de-authorize your iTunes account on the Mac, as this removes its access to content that you bought from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or App Store, including things like music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books.

To learn how to de-authorize your iTunes account, check out our dedicated guide.

Sign Out of iCloud

It's also important to disable Find My Mac and sign out of ‌iCloud‌ in macOS. That way you'll know for sure there isn't anything lingering on your Mac that links your Apple ID to this machine. The following steps show you how.

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in the top left corner of your Mac's screen and select System Preferences....
    unlink icloud from mac 1

  2. Click iCloud in the preference pane.

  3. Uncheck all the boxes in the list to remove copies of the related data on this Mac.
    unlink icloud from mac 2

  4. Click Sign Out.

How to Erase and Reset Your Mac

Now that you've taken the above precautionary steps and unlinked your purchases and accounts, it's time to erase your Mac's drive and reset the system to its factory defaults.

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in the top left corner of your Mac's screen and select Restart....
  2. Click Restart.
  3. Hold down the Command and R keys as soon as you hear the Mac tone indicating a reboot.
  4. Wait for the macOS Utilities screen to appear, then click Disk Utility.
    erase you rmac 1

  5. Choose your Mac's system drive, usually named Macintosh HD, then click Erase.
  6. Select the Format option Mac Extended (Journaled) or APFS.
    erase you rmac 2

  7. Click Erase, confirm the action if prompted, and wait until formatting is complete.
  8. Next, close Disk Utility and click Reinstall macOS.
    erase you rmac 3

  9. Follow the installation prompts and allow the procedure to continue until you see the Setup Assistant appear.
  10. Press the keys Command+Q to shut down your Mac.

And that's it. You're now ready to sell your Mac, pass it on, set it up as new, or restore a backup.

Top Stories

imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...
hlh030121feafutureoffitness012 1614286673

A Look Inside Apple's 23,000 Square-Foot Fitness+ Studio

Friday March 5, 2021 10:59 am PST by
Apple Fitness+, the latest service to join the Apple family, integrates tightly with the Apple Watch to offer a comprehensive and growing selection of workout and exercise videos made by a team of professional trainers. Apple Fitness+ Studio (via Men's Health) Apple curates and records all of the videos at a location in Santa Monica, California, and each video features a similar background...
maxresdefault

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
microsoft edge vertical tabs

Microsoft Edge 89 Brings Vertical Tabs and New History View

Friday March 5, 2021 4:06 am PST by
Microsoft has officially released version 89 of its popular Chromium-based Edge browser, bringing its long-trialed vertical tabs feature to Mac for the first time. Vertical tabs are intended to make more efficient use of screen space, and should prove a welcome addition for users browsing on 16:9 ratio displays in particular. Users can click vertical tabs to switch between them and...