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How to Wipe a Mac

    how-to-wipe-a-mac

    Wiping a Mac can be a useful and necessary task for a variety of reasons.

    Maybe you’re selling your Mac and want to erase all of your personal data before handing it over to the new owner.

    Maybe you’re giving your Mac to someone else and want to make sure they can start fresh with a clean system.

    Or maybe you just want to start over with a fresh installation of the operating system and get rid of any clutter or issues that may have accumulated on your Mac over time.

    Whatever your reason for wiping your Mac, it’s important to understand the process and take the necessary precautions before proceeding.

    In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to wipe your Mac and start fresh.


    Preparation

    Before you begin the process of wiping your Mac, there are a few important steps you should take to prepare.

    These steps will help ensure that you don’t lose any important data or run into issues during the wiping process.

    First and foremost, you should back up any important files you want to keep.

    While wiping your Mac will erase everything on the internal drive, you can still save your files to an external drive or cloud storage service.

    This is especially important if you’re planning to sell or give away your Mac, as you won’t be able to access your files after the wiping process is complete.

    Next, you should sign out of iCloud and any other online services you use on your Mac.

    This will prevent any issues with activating your Mac after the wiping process is complete.

    You should also deauthorize any services that use your Apple ID, such as iTunes and the App Store.

    Finally, you should gather any product keys or serial numbers you may need to reinstall software or operating systems after wiping your Mac.

    Keep these in a safe place so you can easily access them later.

    By taking these preparatory steps, you can make the wiping process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

    Choose a Method

    There are two main ways to wipe a Mac: using the built-in recovery tools or using an external drive.

    Each method has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which one is best for your needs.

    Using the built-in recovery tools is the simpler of the two methods.

    It requires you to restart your Mac in recovery mode and use the Disk Utility to erase the internal drive.

    This method is quick and easy, and it doesn’t require you to have an external drive on hand.

    However, it does require an internet connection to download the operating system, and it may not be suitable for more advanced tasks such as installing a specific version of the operating system.

    Using an external drive involves creating a bootable drive with the operating system installed on it.

    You can then use this drive to boot your Mac and wipe the internal drive.

    This method is more flexible, as you can choose which version of the operating system you want to install and you don’t need an internet connection.

    However, it is more time-consuming and requires you to have an external drive on hand.

    Ultimately, the choice of which method to use will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

    If you just want a quick and easy way to wipe your Mac, using the built-in recovery tools may be the way to go.

    If you want more control over the process and the ability to install a specific version of the operating system, using an external drive may be the better choice.

    Wiping using recovery tools

    If you want to wipe your Mac using the built-in recovery tools, follow these steps:

    1. Restart your Mac and hold down the Command + R keys until you see the login window. This will boot your Mac into recovery mode.
    2. From the utilities window, select Disk Utility.
    3. In the Disk Utility window, select your internal drive from the list on the left.
    4. Click the “Erase” button.
    5. In the format field, choose a name for your internal drive and select the format you want to use (such as APFS or Mac OS Extended).
    6. Click the “Erase” button to begin the wiping process.
    7. When the wiping process is complete, exit Disk Utility and select “Reinstall macOS” from the utilities window.
    8. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the operating system on your Mac.

    By following these steps, you can use the built-in recovery tools to wipe your Mac and install a fresh copy of the operating system.

    Keep in mind that this method requires an internet connection to download the operating system, and it may not be suitable for more advanced tasks such as installing a specific version of the operating system.

    Wiping using an external drive:

    If you want to have more control over the wiping process and the ability to install a specific version of the operating system, you can use an external drive to create a bootable installation drive.

    Here’s how:

    1. Connect your external drive to your Mac.
    2. Open the Terminal app and enter the following command: “sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ [version].app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/[name of external drive]” (without quotes). Replace [version] with the version of the operating system you want to install (such as Mojave or Big Sur) and [name of external drive] with the name of your external drive.
    3. Press Enter and follow the on-screen instructions to create the bootable installation drive.
    4. Restart your Mac and hold down the Option key until you see the boot menu.
    5. Select your external drive from the list of available boot options.
    6. From the utilities window, select Disk Utility.
    7. In the Disk Utility window, select your internal drive from the list on the left.
    8. Click the “Erase” button.
    9. In the format field, choose a name for your internal drive and select the format you want to use (such as APFS or Mac OS Extended).
    10. Click the “Erase” button to begin the wiping process.
    11. When the wiping process is complete, exit Disk Utility and select “Install macOS” from the utilities window.
    12. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the operating system on your Mac.

    By following these steps, you can use an external drive to create a bootable installation drive and use it to wipe your Mac and install a fresh copy of the operating system.

    This method is more flexible, as it allows you to choose which version of the operating system you want to install and you don’t need an internet connection.

    However, it is more time-consuming and requires you to have an external drive on hand.

    Finishing up

    Once you’ve wiped your Mac and reinstalled the operating system, there are a few final steps you should take to finish up the process.

    If you wiped your Mac in preparation for selling or giving it away, you should set it up as a new device.

    This will erase all of your personal data and settings and allow the new owner to set it up as their own device.

    To set up your Mac as a new device, follow these steps:

    1. Turn on your Mac and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Mac as a new device.
    2. Choose your preferred language and region.
    3. Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
    4. Choose whether you want to transfer your data from another Mac or PC, or set up your Mac as a new device.
    5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process.

    If you wiped your Mac to start fresh but want to restore your personal data and settings, you can use a backup to do so.

    Make sure you have a recent backup available, either on an external drive or in iCloud, and follow these steps to restore your Mac from a backup:

    1. Turn on your Mac and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Mac as a new device.
    2. Choose your preferred language and region.
    3. Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
    4. Choose to transfer your data from a backup.
    5. Select the backup you want to use and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the restoration process.

    By following these steps, you can finish up the process of wiping your Mac and get it set up for use again.

    Whether you’re starting fresh with a clean system or restoring your personal data and settings, these final steps will ensure that your Mac is ready to use.


    Conclusion

    Wiping your Mac can be a useful and necessary task, but it’s important to understand the process and take the necessary precautions before proceeding.

    Whether you’re selling your Mac, giving it away, or just want to start fresh with a clean system, there are two main methods you can use to wipe your Mac: using the built-in recovery tools or using an external drive.

    Each method has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which one is best for your needs.

    Before wiping your Mac, make sure to back up any important files you want to keep and sign out of iCloud and other online services.

    You should also deauthorize any services that use your Apple ID and gather any product keys or serial numbers you may need to reinstall software or operating systems after wiping your Mac.

    Once you’ve wiped your Mac, you can set it up as a new device or restore your personal data and settings from a backup.

    By following these steps, you can wipe your Mac and start fresh with a clean system.

    As with any major change to your system, it’s important to carefully consider the decision to wipe your Mac before proceeding.

    Make sure you understand the process and the implications of wiping your Mac, and take the necessary precautions to ensure that the process goes smoothly.