How to factory reset a MacBook pro

How to factory reset a MacBook pro. Whether you are giving your Mac to a friend or family member, recycling, or donating it to an organization, you’ll want to erase your personal information and files before parting with it. If you’re looking to sell or trade-in your old MacBook, you’ll want to wipe your personal data from the device. The easiest way to do that is a factory reset.

Below are the steps to do just that. (Make sure you backup your computer and log out of your accounts, such as iCloud and iMessage, before doing so.)

  1. Restart your computer: hold the power button > select Restart when it appears
  2. While the computer restarts, hold down the ‘Command‘ and ‘R‘ keys
  3. Once you see the Apple logo appear, release the ‘Command and R keys’
  4. When you see a Recovery Mode menu, select Disk Utility
  5. Make sure the ‘Macintosh HD’ startup disk is highlighted in your Disk Utility window > select Erase
  6. A pop-up window should appear. Change the Format to macOS Extended (Journaled) > select Erase again
  7. Select Quit Disk Utility in the Disk Utilities menu.
  8. A window will then appear giving you the option to reinstall macOS > select Install macOS
  9. After the new macOS is installed, your computer has been successfully factory reset

Guide on how to successfully reset your MacBook Pro

You need to put your MacBook into Recovery Mode in order to erase all of your data and reinstall macOS. To enter Recovery Mode on an Intel-based Mac, restart it and immediately press and hold Command-R. You can release the keys once you see the Apple logo. 

(If you are already setting an M1-based Mac, then booting into Recovery Mode is slightly different. You simply press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window, then click Options and Continue to get to the utility window.)

Next, you’ll see the macOS utility window. Choose Disk Utility, click Continue and select your startup disk — unless you renamed it, odds are it’s labeled Macintosh HD or something similar. Next, click the Erase button at the top of the Disk Utility window and fill out these two fields:

  • Name: Choose a name for the fresh, new volume. Why not go with the tried-and-true Macintosh HD?
  • Format: Choose APFS. 

If you are trying to sell an ancient Mac that has a mechanical hard drive instead of a solid-state drive, then choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for Format.

Next, click the Erase Volume Group, and after Disk Utility does its thing, quit Disk Utility. (If you don’t see the Erase Volume Group button in the lower-left corner, then click the Erase button in the lower-right corner instead.)

You should return to the macOS utility window. (If not, restart your Mac again, holding down Command-R while it reboots.) From the macOS utility window, select Reinstall macOS and follow the instructions to install the operating system. After macOS has been reinstalled, you’ll be greeted by the Setup Assistant, which you can then quit out of and shut down your Mac. It’s now ready for a fresh start with its next owner.

How to Factory Reset a Mac or MacBook (macOS Monterey)

When you’re looking to sell or trade-in your computer, whether it’s an iMac or a MacBook, it’s a good idea to return it to its factory settings. Factory resetting a Mac has been historically difficult but thanks to macOS Monterey — which Apple rolled out in October 2021 — it’s now a lot easier.

To benefit from the changes, you have to have a newer Mac that either has one of Apple’s silicon chipsets (M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max) or is a newer Intel-based Mac (2017 or newer) that comes with Apple’s T2 security chip. And second, your Mac has to be running the latest macOS Monterey. If your Mac checks both those boxes, here’s what to do:

(Pro tip: Make sure you backup your computer and log out of your accounts, such as iCloud and iMessage, before factory resetting your Mac.)

  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar (top-left corner).
  2. Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select ‘Erase All Contents and Settings.’
  4. Enter your password, select ‘OK.’
  5. Select the ‘Erase All Content & Settings‘ button.

    From here, your Mac will go black and restart (likely several times). Let this process happen — don’t try to turn off, unplug or interact with the computer in any way — and when it’s done you’ll see the familiar “Hello” screen.

    How to Factory Reset Mac or MacBook (pre-macOS Monterery)

    If you have an older Intel-based Mac or want to reset without upgrading to Monterey first, the process of factory resetting your computer is going to be a little more tedious. You’re going to have to factory reset the Mac and then re-install the latest macOS software. Below are the steps to do just that.

    (Again, it’s wise to backup your computer and log out of your accounts, such as iCloud and iMessage, before factory resetting your Mac.)

    • 1. Restart your computer: hold the power button > select Restart when it appears
    • 2. While the computer restarts, hold down the ‘Command‘ and ‘R‘ keys
    • 3. Once you see the Apple logo appear, release the ‘Command and R keys’
    • 4. When you see a Recovery Mode menu, select Disk Utility
    • 5. Make sure the ‘Macintosh HD’ startup disk is highlighted in your Disk Utility window > select Erase
    • 6. A pop-up window should appear. Change the Format to macOS Extended (Journaled) > select Erase again
    • 7. Select Quit Disk Utility in the Disk Utilities menu.
    • 8. A window will then appear giving you the option to reinstall macOS > select Install macOS
    • 9. After the new macOS is installed, your computer has been successfully factory reset

    What to do before a factory reset of your MacBook:

    Sign out of your accounts on your MacBook

    Sign out of your accounts on your MacBook before you factory reset a MacBook pro. After migrating your data to your new Mac or making one last backup to preserve your data, it’s time to remove all traces of yourself from the machine.

    First, you’ll need to sign out of all of your accounts. Years ago, this was done using iTunes, but you now must individually sign out of three apps — Music, TV, and Books. Open up any of those apps and go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. You’ll need to enter your Apple ID and password and then hit the Deauthorize button.

    Next, you’ll need to turn off Find My Mac and sign out of iCloud. Go to System Preferences > Apple ID, click iCloud in the left panel, and then uncheck Find My Mac. Next, click Overview from the left panel and then click the Sign Out button.

    Lastly, you’ll need to sign out of Messages. Open the Messages app, go to Messages > Preferences, click the iMessage tab and then click Sign Out.

    Unpair all bluetooth connections on your MacBook

    Unpair all Bluetooth connections on your MacBook before you factory reset a MacBook pro. If you’re handing down your old Mac to your kid or someone else in your house, then it’s a good idea to unpair any Bluetooth devices from it so your mouse or keyboard controls the new Mac and doesn’t interfere with the old one.

    Go to System Preferences > Bluetooth, mouse over the device you want to unpair, click the X button to the right of its name, then click Remove.

    Reset NVRAM

    NVRAM is the memory to which your Mac saves settings that it needs before loading MacOS: things like screen resolution, time zone, volume level, and startup-disk selection. Sometimes these files can get corrupted, so give your Mac’s next owner a fresh start by resetting the NVRAM. To do so, shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. You can release the keys after 20 seconds or so. That’s it! Your Mac’s NVRAM has been reset.

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