Your search for how to erase your MacBook might be born out of a need for a fresh start on your system. Or you might be selling it or trading it in soon.
Another reason could be a pesky issue you can’t seem to get rid of and want to reset your MacBook to revert to factory settings.
Whatever the reason, erasing or factory resetting your MacBook is fairly straightforward once you’ve got the essentials locked in. And the process depends on the version of macOS you’re running on your MacBook.
How to Erase a MacBook running macOS Monterey
Erasing all your data from your MacBook is a pretty permanent step. Hence, you should always back up your data to iCloud or a secondary storage device before proceeding.
Starting with macOS Monterey, Apple simplified the factory reset process which used to be quite complicated earlier. To take advantage of the new process, your MacBook should be running the latest macOS Monterey.
Not only that, it only works if you have any one of the new Apple silicon chipsets – M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max – or you have a 2017 or newer Intel-based Mac with Apple’s T2 security chip.
With both of these conditions satisfied, you can use the steps below to erase all your data, settings, and apps from your machine:
- Navigate to System Preferences from the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
- Select Erase All Content and Settings
- Enter your administrator password and click OK
- At this point, you might be prompted to make a backup of your MacBook. You can choose to do so with Time Machine or click Continue without making a new backup.
- Click Continue again to proceed to remove all your settings, media, data , and other listed items.
- You might be asked to sign out of your Apple ID. Enter your Apple ID password and click
- Click the Erase All Content & Settings to confirm your selection.
Your MacBook will now start erasing all your data. You might see a progress bar and your MacBook might restart several times. Make sure not to interact with your device in any way. When the process is finished, you’ll be taken to the familiar ‘Hello’ screen.
How to Erase a MacBook running older macOS (pre-Monterey)
If you have an older Intel-based Mac (pre-2017) or you don’t want to upgrade to macOS Monterey, you need to follow some extra steps to successfully complete the factory reset process.
You need to perform an installation of macOS after erasing all your data. Simply follow the steps below to easily perform both the steps:
- Restart your MacBook by holding down the power button and selecting Restart when it appears.
- While your machine restarts, hold down the Command and R Release them when the Apple logo appears.
- Once you see the Recovery Mode menu, select Disk Utility.
- Ensure the Macintosh HD startup disk is highlighted in your Disk Utility window and select
- Change the format to macOS Extended (Journaled) in the pop-up window and select Erase
- Select Quit Disk Utility when the process is finished.
- Next, a new window will appear. Select Install macOS.
- After the installation is finished, your computer will restart and you’ll be greeted with the ‘Hello’ screen.
And that’s it! You’re now up to speed with the process to erase your MacBook, both on macOS Monterey and the older versions of macOS.