How to erase MacBook before selling or trading

If you are planning to trade, sell, or give away your MacBook, below are the steps to erase all data from your MacBook, Mac Mini, or iMac.

Erase MacBook before selling

The easiest way to erase Mac is to factory reset your device, which removes all data and settings from your device, installs the latest version of macOS, and provides the option to set up Mac as a new device.

The option to completely erase the hard drive on a MacBook is available on the macOS Recovery screen, which you can access by starting the Mac in Recovery mode.

The steps to start Mac in recovery mode vary depending on the type of processor (Intel or Apple M1) installed on your device and also whether or not your MacBook comes with the Apple T2 Security Chip.

Hence, the procedure to erase MacBook has been divided into three steps as given below.

Step 1: Check the process type

The first step is to check and confirm the type of processor installed on your MacBook.

1. Click on Apple logo in the top menu bar and select About this Mac option in the drop down menu.

About this Mac option

2. On the next screen you will see information about the type of processor installed on your device (Intel or Apple M1).

Step 2: Check if the security chip is installed

In the next step, check and confirm whether your device has an Apple T2 Security Chip installed or not.

1. Click on Apple logo in the top menu bar and select About this Mac option in the drop down menu.

About this Mac option

2. On the next screen, click system report > select the controller tab in the left pane and look at the entry next to model name in the right area.

Apple T2 chip on Mac

Step 3. Erase data from MacBook

Once you have the necessary information about the processor type and the presence or absence of a security chip on your device, you can use one of the following methods (depending on the case) to erase the data on your MacBook.

1. Erase Apple M1 MacBook

Close the Mac (If it is open) and follow the steps below to erase Apple M1 MacBook.

1. Hold down the power buttonuntil the message “Loading boot options” appears on your computer screen.

2. Release the power button and click options to access the recovery mode screen.

macOS recovery screen on M1 Mac

3. Make your selection on the next screens language > select Disk Utility and click Continue. From the Disk Utility screen, select Macintosh HD Hard Drive in the sidebar and click Extinguish.

Erase Macintosh HD using Disk Utility

4. On the next screen, select the disk format (APFS for macOS High Sierra or later versions). Select for older macOS versions macOS Extended (Journalized) format and click Extinguish.

Choose APFS format

5. Wait patiently for the formatting process to complete. Once the process is complete, exit Disk Utility and it will take you back to the macOS Utilities screen.

6. Back on the macOS Utilities screen, select reinstall macOS option and click Continue and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall macOS on your MacBook.

2. Erase MacBook with Intel processor and T2 security chip

Close the Mac (If it is open) and follow the steps below to erase MacBook with Intel based processor and Apple T2 security chip.

1. Press the power button Start Mac and press and hold immediately command + R Key. Continue holding the power button until you see the macOS Utilities screen.

macOS Utilities screen

If your MacBook doesn’t enter recovery mode using Command + R key combination, it is equipped with Apple T2 chip and you need to press options (old) + command + R Key.

2. Select macOS Utilities from the screen Disk Utility and click Continue. Select on the next screen Macintosh HD Hard Drive from the list in the left pane and click Extinguish.

Erase Macintosh HD using Disk Utility

3. On the next screen, select the disk format (APFS for macOS High Sierra or later versions). For older macOS versions, choose macOS Extended (Journalized) format and click delete.

Choose APFS format

4. Wait patiently for the formatting process to complete. Once the process is complete Quit Disk Utility and this will bring you back to the macOS Utilities screen.

5. Back on the macOS Utilities screen, select reinstall macOS option and click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS on your device.

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