How to factory reset macOS (2023)

In this video we demonstrate how you perform a factory reset on a computer running macOS. As performing this action will return your computer back to its original factory system state. Typically you would perform a factory reset if you intend to decommission, sell or give away your computer. 

If you intend to perform a factory reset in order to start a fresh with your computer. We recommend that you use Time Machine to perform a backup. Then as you re-setup your computer, you can use Time Machine to restore your user profiles, applications and data.  

However, while performing a factory reset of macOS will remove everything from your computer. As it is possible to restore data that has been wiped, if your intension is to sell or give away your computer. We recommend that you encrypt your hard drive before performing a factory reset. Then as long as no one has your personal decryption key. It will be almost impossible for someone to restore any data from your computer after it has been factory reset.

Notes: If you have a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). You can either encrypt your hard drive or perform a secure wipe. However, you should only perform secure wipes on magnetic mechanical hard drives. As performing a secure wipe on a Solid State Drive will reduce its life.

Quick reference notes:

  • From the desktop of macOS locate and select System Settings
  • Now from within System Settings choose General – Transfer or Reset
  • In Transfer or Reset choose Erase All Content and Settings

Note: In order to reset macOS, you will be prompted to enter the account credentials for a user who has administrator rights over your computer.

  • Next choose Erase All Content & Settings

Note: Your computer will now perform a factory reset. How long this takes will depend on the speed of your computer. You will also find that during the process of factory resetting macOS, your computer will reboot a number of times. We recommend that while your computer is being reset you do not attempt to switch it off or remove it from its power source.

Reference materials:

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