Home How To How To Factory Reset Your MacBook Before You Sell It

How To Factory Reset Your MacBook Before You Sell It

by George Mensah

With Apple releasing incredible technology every year, it’s no surprise that you’d want to upgrade your MacBook, even if it’s still in good working order. Fortunately, there is a healthy second-hand market for used MacBooks. Because of Apple’s strong branding and ecosystem, you’re likely to get a good price for your Mac, even if it’s an older model — but keep in mind that the value of your used MacBook will still be determined by its model, specs, and cosmetic condition.

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However, before you give your old MacBook to someone else, there are a few things you should do to protect yourself and your personal information. One of the quickest ways to ensure that no one else has access to your online accounts, old files, banking information, and other information is to perform a factory reset, which you can do at home in just a few minutes.

What happens when you factory reset your MacBook?

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A factory reset essentially wipes the MacBook’s drive clean, restoring it to its brand-new-out-of-the-box state. You can help breathe new life into your aging device and give its new owner the opportunity to start from scratch by doing so. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, you can be certain that your data will not be accessed by the next owner of your MacBook.

Keep in mind that the steps to factory reset a MacBook differ slightly depending on whether the model you own is powered by Apple or Intel hardware. Here’s how to figure out what kind of Mac you have.

Turn on the MacBook and sign in if necessary.

In the upper-left corner of the screen, select the Apple icon.

Click About This Mac.

Under Overview, check the Chip section.

Once you’ve determined whether your Mac has Intel or Apple hardware (such as the M1 chip), you can factory reset your specific MacBook model by following the steps below.

How to factory reset an Intel MacBook

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If you intend to sell your Intel-based Mac, Apple advises you to take several steps to prepare your MacBook for its new owner. To begin, you should back up your files, which you can do with iCloud. Second, sign out of all of your linked accounts, including iTunes, iMessage, and iCloud, before wiping the hardware and resetting the NVRAM:

Sign out of your iTunes account: click Account > Authorizations >

Deauthorize This Computer. Then, key in your Apple ID login

details before clicking Deauthorize. 

Remove access to iMessage: select Messages > Preferences > iMessage > Sign Out. 

Disable iCloud access: click the Apple icon > System Preferences

Apple ID > Overview > Sign Out to confirm your decision.

Unpair Bluetooth hardware: click the Apple icon > System Preferences > Bluetooth and select “X” next to all of the paired device names. 

Erase and reinstall macOS: restart the MacBook and immediately press and hold Command + R.

Then, log in to your admin account and click Disk Utility > Macintosh HD > Erase. 

Reset the NVRAM: restart the MacBook, then press Option + Command + P + R for about 20 seconds immediately once the device turns on.

These steps are somewhat lengthy in comparison to the process that occurs on newer MacBooks, but each step is simple and should be completed. If you do not wipe your MacBook before giving it away or selling it, your accounts, photos, messages, and other sensitive information may be accessible to whoever receives the laptop next.

How to factory reset a MacBook with Apple Silicon or T2 security chip

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You’re in luck if you bought a MacBook with Apple Silicon or an Intel-based model with the T2 security chip. Apple released the Erase Assistant tool in 2021, which can be used to factory reset these specific MacBook models. How does Erase Assistant function? The tool logs you out of Apple Services, unlinks the device from your Find My app profile, and deletes everything from your volumes, including your user accounts and their associated data. Keep in mind that if you used Boot Camp Assistant, Erase Assistant will also wipe your Windows data, so make a backup of all of your files before proceeding.

If you’re ready to use Erase Assistant to wipe your MacBook, follow these steps:

Turn on the MacBook and sign in if necessary.

In the upper-left corner of the screen, select the Apple icon.

Select System Preferences.

In the menu bar, click System Preferences.

In the drop-down bar, select Erase All Content and Settings.

In the pop-up that appears, log in with your administrator credentials.

Review which data on the MacBook you want to remove.

In the lower-right corner of the screen, select Continue.

Follow the steps on the screen.


After that, before you confirm your decision, your MacBook will prompt you to create a Time Machine backup. You will then be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID to confirm your decision. Your MacBook will be ready for its new owner once the process is completed.

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