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How to factory reset an Intel Apple Mac computer

There are often many reasons why you might want to factory reset an Apple Mac computer back to its original settings.

If you have an older Apple Mac computer that has become slow, or the storage volume has become full of files, and you have a backup of your data, or you are keen to start again with a clean macOS system, then the best way to get back the performance is to simply factory reset the computer.

What to do before you give away, or sell or re-cycle your Apple Mac computer?

If you want to sell or give away your Apple Mac computer. You will need to factory reset the Apple Mac computer, before you give away or resell your Apple Mac computer.

Make sure that you have signed out of your Apple ID account on the Apple Mac computer to avoid the issue of the Apple Mac Activation Lock!

If you also need to factory reset your Apple Mac computer so you can start again follow our guide.

Read this article if you want to factory reset your Apple Intel Mac computer back to a factory condition.

This article is for Apple Mac computer owners that need to either erase their Apple Mac computer back to a factory condition. If you have an Apple M1 computer the way to factory reset the Apple Mac computer is easier to do and perform by using the built in macOS Monterey reset option!

Or you are selling or giving away your Apple Mac computer or you need to recycle your Apple Mac computer.

If you plan to re-cycle your Apple Mac computer, ask Apple if they can help you re-cycle your Apple Mac computer.

You need to ensure that your Apple Mac computer data is fully erased or deleted and that there is no data stored on the Apple Mac computer.

If you have a 2021 Apple Mac computer and you are using macOS Monterey then MacOS Monterey has a new feature to erase and reset the Apple Mac computer without having to re-install macOS.

1. Make a Backup.

Make a backup of the Apple Mac computer to Apple Time Machine.

Ensure that you have a copy backup of your documents • pictures • your email messages.

2. Sign out of Apple iTunes • Apple Music • Apple Messages • Apple FaceTime.

De authorise Apple iTunes or Apple Music from the account settings in Apple iTunes or Apple Music.

3. Sign out of Apple iCloud • choose the option to keep the data on the Apple Mac computer.

• By choosing to keep the data on the Apple Mac computer at this time simply saves time.

• The data will be erased anyway when the Apple Mac computer is erased.

Your Apple iCloud data will be still available on your other Apple devices and into stored in the Apple iCloud.

4. Sign out of Apple iMessage or Apple Messages on your Apple Mac computer.

5. Unpair any Bluetooth devices from the Apple Mac computer Bluetooth control panel.

• If you are giving away or selling your Apple Mac computer with a wireless keyboard or wireless mouse do not remove these.

• Tip you can rename the Apple wireless keyboard or Apple Mouse with a control click to rename the device.

The key task – How to erase and delete all of your data from the Apple Mac computer.

Once you have completed the steps above, you can now start the process to erase and delete the data on your Apple Mac computer. Read these steps carefully as if you are selling a Apple Mac computer you have two decisions to make.

• Do you want to sell or give away the Apple Mac computer ready for a new owner to be able to use the MacOS operating system software so they can setup the Apple Mac computer as a out of the box situation.

Do you want the Apple Mac computer to be totally erased so that the new owner has to download the Apple Mac OS operating system software again?

• This option is not recommended as to setup the Apple Mac computer MacOS operating system software again often requires the same Apple ID to be used to allow the installation of the Apple Mac OS operating system software.

• Only fully delete the Apple Mac OS Base system if you are giving the Apple Mac computer to Apple or a Apple Authorised service provider.

• Tip. When the Apple Mac computer gets to the country or region screen, simply use Command and Q and shut down the Apple Mac computer.

This will leave the Apple Mac computer in a out of the box experience for the new user of the Apple Mac computer.

  1. Follow these steps for a Intel Apple Mac computer the steps are difference for a Apple Silicon Mac computer.
  2. 1. Start up the Apple Mac computer from the Mac OS Recovery Console.
  3. 2. Power off the Apple Mac computer, then switch on the Apple Mac computer with the Command and R keys held down.
  4. 3. Choose the Disk Utility to erase the Macintosh HD.
  5. 4. In the sidebar panel highlight the Macintosh HD or the name of the storage volume
  6. • The internal storage volume is usually the top item in the list.
  7. • Tip – Make sure that you have no external storage devices • USB memory sticks or any SD Cards connected on your Apple Mac computer.
  8. 5. Click the Erase button from the Apple Disk Utilities toolbar menu as shown below.
Click on the Erase button to erase the Macintosh HD

6. Choose the option to erase the Volume Group if this is available, otherwise click on Erase.

7. Keep the same name and the same format as shown. (Name Macintosh HD • Format APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

• Apple sets the name of the internal storage volume to “Macintosh HD” if you see another name like Untitled then name the disk back to Macintosh HD.

• Do not erase the MacOS Base System.

The MacOS Base System allows the Apple Mac computer to startup to the MacOS Recovery Console.

• For Apple Mac computers that are 2011 or newer if the MacOS Base system is erased, the Apple Mac OS computer should startup in another mode called Mac OS Internet Recovery.

• Apart from the MacOS Base System erase any other volumes that you can see shown.

8. Use the File menu and Quit the Disk Utility.

9. Make sure that the Apple Mac computer is connected to a Wi-Fi wireless network or an Ethernet network.

• The wifi icon is at the top right of the Apple Mac computer screen. Enter in your Wi-Fi wireless password.

• The Apple Mac computer needs an Internet connection to Re-Install MacOS

10. Choose the option from the MacOS recovery console windows to “Re-Install Mac OS

• Then follow the onscreen instructions to re-install the Apple Mac OS operating system software on your Apple Mac computer.

• If you have a slow internet connection the Re-Install Mac OS process can take a long time.

• For a Fibre optic broadband connection allow 35 to 60 minutes for the Re-Install Mac OS download to complete.

Tips: For a MacBook Air • MacBook Pro – Use the power adaptor and do not close the lid or try to put the computer to sleep during the Re-install Mac OS process.

• The Apple Mac computer will have to restart several times during the Re-install Mac OS process.

• Allow at least 60 minutes to 75 minutes for the Apple Mac computer to install Mac OS.

• When the Apple MacOS re-install process has finished and the Mac is at the regional location screen –

You can then correctly switch off the Apple Mac computer if you are giving away or reselling the Apple Mac computer, this will give the next owner the best Apple Mac computer out of the box experience.

Choose the option from the Apple Menu to Shut Down the Apple Mac computer.

Do you need to get help and assistance from a Apple Mac computer specialist on helping you to erase, or to factory reset your Apple Mac computer?

  • Complete the online website contact form. (open 24 Hours) with 10:30 am to 21:00 pm response times for completed forms sent to us.
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