How to Wipe a MacBook Pro/Air
Do you want to sell or give away your MacBook and ensure all your personal data is securely erased? Or, tired of it running slow? Whatever the reason, learning how to wipe a MacBook can save you from potential headaches and safeguard your private information. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your MacBook. So buckle up because your MacBook Pro or Air will look brand new by the end of this blog post. Let's get started!
- Table of contents
- Part 1. A Comprehensive Guide to Wipe MacBook
- Part 2. How to Verify Personal Data Is Completely Erased After Wiping Your MacBook
- Part 3. Common questions and concerns about wiping a MacBook
A Comprehensive Guide to Wipe MacBook
Wiping your MacBook Pro/Air may seem daunting, but with the proper steps, it will become easy. With a few simple steps, you can guarantee all your sensitive data is erased from the device. Next, let’s dive in and explore how to wipe a MacBook Pro/Air effortlessly.
Step 1: Back Up Your Data for Future Use
Tip: If you have less personal data, you can also copy it directly to a USB drive. This will save you time.
Whether you plan to sell it or want to start over, erasing your MacBook is necessary. However, this process will delete all the information stored on it. If you have precious personal data in your MacBook, before you start, use Apple's built-in Time Machine application to back it up for future use. Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Plug the external storage device that holds the backup files into your Mac.
Once your storage device is connected, go to "System Preferences" from the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen. Then, select "Time Machine."
Click the "Select Backup Disk" button, choose your removable disk from the list, and click "Use Disk."
Click "Options" and then the "-" button to remove files that do not need backing up.
Click the clock icon in the top menu and select "Back Up Now."
Step 2: Sign Out of All Accounts
If you are giving away or selling your MacBook, you must log out of all accounts before wiping it for the following reasons:
- 💻 Prevent unauthorized access: Logging out of your accounts ensures that the next person who uses your MacBook cannot access your personal information. This includes emails, messages, photos, videos, and other private data.
- 🔑 Avoid leaking passwords or other information: iCloud offers a keychain option, which securely stores your passwords and other secure information across all your devices. Additionally, If you don't sign out of iCloud, the person who gets your MacBook might need to enter your Apple ID and password to use it, which could lead to complications.
- ✖️ Remove Mac from trusted devices: By signing out, you remove your MacBook from the list of your trusted devices. Trusted devices are used in two-factor authentication, so keeping this list current is essential.
- 🚫 Deauthorize iTunes: Signing out ensures new users can't access your purchased music, movies, TV shows, books, or other content.
- 🛑 Sign out of iMessage: When you need to wipe a MacBook Pro or Air to give away or sell it, please exit it. This will effectively prevent the texts, documents, photos, videos, contact information, etc., sent or received from being viewed by the next user.
Step 3: Clear Your Browser History and Cookies
Although Apple claims that the "Erase All Content and Settings" option will erase everything on your MacBook and restore it to its out-of-box condition. However, it may be beneficial to clear your browser history and cookies manually. Cookies save and store data you enter on a website, such as login information, which can pose a security risk if your MacBook Pro or Air falls into the wrong hands.
To clear them on Safari, you can follow these steps:
- Open the Safari application.
Click "Safari > Clear History" in the top menu bar.
Select "all history" and click "Clear History."
Step 4: Clears User Settings from Memory
Tip: If your MacBook is equipped with Apple silicon, please skip this step. If you're unsure, click here to find out about your MacBook Pro or Air.
On MacBooks equipped with Intel chips, the system uses NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) to store specific settings, including display resolution, sound volume, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information to speed up the operation. Therefore, we recommend resetting it before selling, giving away, or recycling. Here's how to do it:
- Restart your MacBook and immediately press and hold the "Option + Command + P + R" keys. You can release the keys after about 20 seconds, during which your device might appear to restart.
- Release the keys after the second startup sound.
- When the reboot is complete, NVRAM will be restored to its original state.
Step 5: Wipe MacBook Pro/Air and Reinstall macOS
Different macOS versions have different methods to wipe a MacBook, so please choose the one based on your system:
For macOS 13 (Ventura) or later and equipped with Apple Chip or Apple T2 Security Chip:
Click the "Apple" icon in the upper left corner of the screen and select "System Settings."
Click General in the sidebar and select "Transfer or Reset".
Click "Erase All Content and Settings" and enter your MacBook login password to confirm.
You will see a list of erased content. Click "Continue" to wipe the MacBook before selling, transferring, etc.
Type your Apple ID to exit the "Find My & Activation Lock."
Click "Erase All Content and Settings" to confirm.
After waiting for a while, your MacBook will be wiped and reset. Click "Restart" to complete the entire process.
For macOS 12 (Monterey) and equipped with Apple Chip or Apple T2 Security Chip:
Select the "Apple" icon > "System Preferences" in the upper left corner of the screen.
Click "Erase All Content and Settings" in the menu.
- Enter the administrator login password to confirm and enter the Apple ID password to log out.
- Click "Erase all content and settings" to confirm that you want to wipe a MacBook Air or Pro.
For macOS 11 (Big Sur) and below:
- Restart your MacBook and immediately press and hold the "Command + R" keys until you see an Apple logo or a spinning globe. Release the keys when these appear.
Select the "Disk Utility" option from the macOS Utilities window.
- Select the "Macintosh HD" in the left panel and click the "Erase" button at the top menu.
Choose "APFS" format and click "Erase" to start the wipe MacBook process.
After reformatting your disk, return to the macOS Utilities window and select "Reinstall macOS."
These are the complete steps about how to wipe a MacBook Pro or Air. You can also use it to reset a Mac without losing data. To ensure that personal data is completely erased, you can also use the following method to verify.
How to Verify Personal Data Is Completely Erased After Wiping Your MacBook
While wiping a MacBook Pro/Air may seem like an excellent way to get rid of personal information, there is always the possibility that not all the data has been completely erased. For this purpose, you can use Mac data recovery software to verify this. They use unique algorithms to retrieve data that has yet to be permanently deleted. This is also the principle of data recovery. By following the steps, you can guarantee the safety and privacy of your personal data.
- Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac.
Click Start and select MacBook hard drive, then click Scan.
After the Scan is completed, you can check whether personal data is on the results page.
- If so, please create multiple useless files and save them before deleting them. Repeat this several times, and your available private data will be completely overwritten.
Common questions and concerns about wiping a MacBook
Here are some common questions and concerns that users often have about erasing a MacBook Pro or Air:
Wiping a MacBook refers to erasing all data from the device, including files, settings, and applications, and returning it to factory settings.
You might need to erase the MacBook if you plan to sell or give it away if it's running slowly if you're experiencing software issues, or if you want to ensure that sensitive information is completely removed.
Before erasing your MacBook, you should back up any critical data. You can use Time Machine to back up all your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files.
When you wipe a MacBook, it will delete all the data on your hard drive, including your files, settings, and installed applications.
While erasing a MacBook deletes all the data, some advanced data recovery tools might still be able to recover some data from your device. Consider enabling FileVault encryption or use the verification methods we provide before erasing your MacBook to ensure your data is permanently unrecoverable.
Before wiping your MacBook, it's recommended to back up any critical data you don't want to lose. You should also sign out of all accounts, including iCloud, iTunes, iMessage, and any other services you're signed into.
Yes, When you wipe the MacBook, it will remove the current operating system. So, you'll need to reinstall macOS after wiping.
Yes, once you've wiped your MacBook and reinstalled macOS, it's ready to be sold or given away.
Wiping a MacBook can resolve software-related issues, as it returns the MacBook to its factory settings. However, it won't fix hardware-related problems.
The time it takes to wipe a MacBook Pro/Air can vary depending on the size of the hard drive and the method used for erasing. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.
Although wiping your MacBook Pro or Air may seem daunting, it is necessary before selling, giving away your device, or resolving performance issues. Following the steps in our blog post, you can ensure that your MacBook is completely wiped and any sensitive data is permanently removed or give your device a new look.