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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How Can I Reset My iMac, Mac Mini Macbook Pro, Macbook Air to Factory Defaults?

With Spring in full swing, you're probably in decluttering mode and ready to sell or get rid of your older Apple products. If I were to guess, you're holding on to those old devices because you don't want your personal information on them to fall into the wrong hands. Performing a factory reset is something you need to do before you sell or give any device. This process will wipe out the hard drive and delete all of your files and other areas where your Mac products store data. Not sure how? Follow these easy and quick steps to do a factory reset and make sure your personal information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

There are a few things you need to do before you perform a system reset on your computers:

Go into iCloud and deauthorize your Mac. The good thing about iCloud is you can keep track of all of your Apple devices, the bad news is if you give your computer to someone else, they can keep tabs on you. To make sure this doesn't happen, do the following: On the menu bar at the top of the screen go to Account, then Authorizations, and then select Deauthorize This Computer. You will want to sign out of any accounts currently signed in such as iMessage, Facetime, and iCloud.

Sign Out of Your Internal Accounts. Go to the Apple Menu, then System Preferences, and then go to Internal Accounts. From there you will see a list of different web-based accounts that have access to your computer. You need to sign out from these accounts to make sure that your accounts remain secure and accessible only by you.

Reset your NVRAM. The NVRAM is where your Mac stores data whether the computer is on or off. To reset your NVRAM, restart your Macintosh computer and hold the Option, Command, P, and R keys for 20 seconds.

Before you perform a factory reset, you need to backup all of the information stored on your computer. There are two ways you can backup your Mac.

TimeMachine. If you have been using TimeMachine since you purchased your Mac, you can have peace of mind knowing that your information is backup. If you haven't used TimeMachine in a while or ever used TimeMachine, just connect an external hard drive to your Mac. TimeMachine will open a prompt asking if you want to use the drive as a TimeMachine backup.

iCloud. Newer Macs and recent versions of macOS give you the option of storing your documents and photos in iCloud Drive. There are two ways to see if your information is already stored on iCloud. The first way to check is to log into your iCloud account by vising Once there, you can look into iCloud drive to see if your information is stored there. Another way is from your Mac. Go to the Apple Menu, then Apple ID. Once you've clicked on Apple ID, click on the iCloud button. From there, you will see if your computer is storing items in iCloud or your computer. If there are stored in iCloud, then you are ready to proceed.

How to Factory Reset Your iMac, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, and Macbook Air. Restart your computer and hold Option, Command, and R. This will launch macOS Recovery. When you're in macOS Recovery, Click Disk Utility, then click the top option which should be your startup disk, then click Erase. If it won’t let you erase the drive then try clicking on the volume directly beneath it After clicking Erase you should be able to input a new name for the drive, then choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the type of formatting and GUID Partition Map for the type of scheme. Click Erase and your drive should erase itself. Click on Quit Disk Utility to return back to the macOS Recovery window. Click on Reinstall macOS and then follow the steps as it guides you through reinstalling macOS.

If you discover your Mac won't boot up, then you will need to call the services of an IT professional to remove the hard drive and recover any information from the drive. Mac products are designed in a way in which it's very difficult to take apart. DO NOT attempt to take apart your Macintosh computer if you've never performed this action before.

Anytime you're planning to get rid of an old computer, it's important to completely wipe your personal data from it. A factory reset returns your Macintosh computer it to its 'out of the box' state, with your files, programs, and profile setup all removed and out of the hands of a stranger.

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