If you’ve started reading, you’re probably wondering, what’s the most efficient way to format a Mac or MacBook computer? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s how to format a Mac or MacBook computer to factory default settings. If your Mac won’t turn on, don’t miss our guide to fix it.
It is important that you understand the importance of formatting and “cleaning up” every gigabyte of your Apple computer before you sell or give it away to avoid being exposed to identity theft (among other things).
You might want to check out the best deals on Mac computers.
Also remember that deleting all files is not enough. You will need to install a new version of macOS after cleaning up the files and gigabytes so that the new owner can use the Mac. If you don’t have installation discs you will be interested in reading: How to Install Mac OS X Without Installation Discs.
The guide that you are going to read next will help you restore your Apple computer to a pristine factory condition, that is, as if it had just come out of the box.
Here is the summary of the steps you will need to follow to format your Mac or MacBook:
- Make sure you are connected to the Internet to be able to descargar the last copy of operating system Mac OS compatible with your Apple computer. (Usually this is macOS High Sierra, but older models may require older versions like Mac OS X Lion or earlier).
- You can make a backup copy from your Mac or MacBook using Time Machine, or “clone” your internal hard drive to an external hard drive, using applications such as SuperDuber or Carbon Copy Cloner. Don’t miss our tips on Time Machine.
- This will allow you to access all your old files, and transfer external hard drive to internal
- Deauthorize your account in iTunes. You should also disavow any other third-party application, such as Photoshop.
- Log out and iCloud is unnecessary.
- Restart your Mac in “Recovery” mode. Hold down Command and R while restarting.
- Use ‘Disk Utility’ to erase hard drive. Click on “Disk Utility> Continue”. Select the primary volume and click “Unmount”, then click “Erase”.
- Click on “Reinstall macOS” and carry on’. Follow the instructions to reinstall macOS.
If, on the contrary, you want to format a Windows computer, click on this link to visit the PCWorld Europe tutorial.
1. Copy your Mac’s hard drive
If you restore your Mac or MacBook to its factory default settings, you can get rid of all the data and information stored on the device.
Obviously, you will need to transfer these files from your old Mac to a new one, but we also recommend that you make a copy of the entire drive and make it available for a while (just in case).
The best way to do this is to use programs like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper (both have free trials available) and an external hard drive. Choose the primary hard drive as “Source drive” and the external hard drive as the “Destination disk”. Then click on ‘Clone’.
You should be able to boot the device from the copy of the external hard drive. To verify that it works, reset your Mac and press ‘Option‘ just start the system. Use the arrow keys to select the external hard drive and press ‘Enter’.
You can buy Mac hard drives from the Apple Store or Amazon for $ 248.26.
The copied drive can be copied back to the primary hard drive in case you decide to restore your Mac, or it can also be used to access the original files on your computer after you clean the internal hard drive.
You may find it easier to create a backup using Time Machine, the Software for Mac backups. If you have a Time Machine backup, it’s very easy to set up a new Mac with all of your files and programs just like you had on your old Mac.
2. “Cancel iTunes authorization”
We continue to teach you how to properly format your Mac:
You need to unauthorize your iTunes account. This means that the Mac will no longer be logged into this account. (As you already know, you can use the benefits of this app on up to five Mac computers, you shouldn’t be interested in granting this privilege to anyone).
The precise method for “disavowing iTunes” varies depending on the version you have. In the latest version, you will need to open iTunes and click “Account> Authorizations> Cancel authorization of this computer”. Enter your Apple ID and password, then click “Cancel Authorization”.
For older versions, you will need to click on “Store> Deauthorize this computer”.
3. Disconnect FileVault
FileVault encrypts the files that are on your hard drive. We recommend that you turn it off to format your Mac before continuing with the restore (you’ll be deleting all files soon, so you don’t have to worry about their security).
Open “System Preferences” and click “Security & Privacy”, then select the “FileVault” tab. Verify that the following message appears: “FileVault is disabled for disk (name of primary hard disk).” Otherwise, click on the lock icon at the bottom left, enter your password and click “Unlock”.
Then click on “Disable FileVault”.
4. Turn off iCloud
Open “System Preferences”, click on iCloud and select “Sign Out”. To remove all of your information, click “Remove from Mac” in each of the pop-up windows.
Deactivating your account will also remove any payment information from Apple Pay, in case you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. This step is very important to properly format your Mac without leaving any traces.
If you have files in iCloud that were created on this Mac, they will be archived in the “Home” folder.
5. Start your Mac in “recovery mode”
The best known method to enter ‘Recovery’ mode is to click on the Apple logo at the top left of the screen and select ‘Restart’, then press the Command and R keys until you see the Apple logo spinning inside a sphere.
Apple recommends that if you are selling or gifting a Mac with OS X El Capitan or earlier, you use the ‘Order – R’ option to make sure the installation is not associated with your Apple ID.
The next screen shows the different uses of “recovery mode”. In the Sierra version it looks like this:
6. Format your Mac’s hard drive
This step is essential to format your Mac. Select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue”.
For versions prior to High Sierra, we recommend that you select your primary hard drive (usually called Macintosh HD). To clean the hard drive, click or open the “Erase” tab and click “Erase”.
Keep in mind that this will permanently erase your data, so don’t take this step if you haven’t copied the contents of the hard drive before or want to regain access to a file on that hard drive.
When finished, exit the program, go to the main menu and select ‘Disk Utility> Exit Disk Utility’.
NOTE: If you are using High Sierra when viewing your Macintosh HD, you will probably also see all of your Macs signed in to your Apple ID, so be careful, as you probably don’t want to erase content on every Mac you own.
7. Reinstall macOS
And now the last step on how to format your Mac:
Select “Install macOS” or “Install OS X” and follow the onscreen instructions. This will download and install an empty copy of macOS on the Mac. MacOS will restart after installation is complete. You may be prompted for your Apple ID and password.
If you are giving your Mac or MacBook computer to someone else, it is recommended that you skip the Startup Assistant to allow the person who buys or acquires your Mac to enter their own information from the start.
If you also want to know how to install MacOS X without the installation discs, click this link so you don’t miss the details.