Selling your Mac? Here’s how to Set it back to Factory Settings

Before you send your Mac off to the next chapter in its life, namely a new owner, be sure you have taken the proper steps to safely backup and remove your sensitive data. Doing so and following the guide below, will prepare your Mac for its next owner and save you the hassle and heartache of losing your treasured memories.

Follow these steps to backup, wipe, and restore your Mac to Factory Settings:

1. Save Your Old Data

Be sure to back-up all your data before restoring your hard drive. Here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. 1. Time Machine – Learn how to back up your Mac using Time Machine.
    2. iCloud – Use iCloud to back up your music, photos, calendars, etc.
    3. Backup options – Learn about alternative options for backing up your Mac.

Another program you can use to clone your data to an external Hard Drive is Carbon Copy Cloner.

With Carbon Copy Cloner, you simply:

1. Connect an external Hard Drive to your computer (make sure the external HD has enough space)
2. Choose the drive you want to clone (Macintosh HD if you haven’t changed the name)
3. Choose the destination drive (the external HD or NAS storage…if you nasty)
4. Click “Clone” on lower-right side of the screen…and wait

Once done, you have made an exact copy of your drive to either restore the entire drive (and its data) to your new Mac, or pick and choose what specific data you want to move to your new Mac.

2. Disable User Accounts

Your Apple ID is the key to using any Apple device, and many services from Apple use your Apple ID. Be sure to disable all services that could be using your AppleID on your Mac before you sell it to anyone else.  To make the sale as error free and as clean as possible, here are some key services you need to disable.

Deauthorize Your ITunes Store Account

To make sure the new owner can’t re-download any purchased music you made with your Apple ID, it’s best to deauthorize the computer from using your iTunes account.
Open iTunes and in the menu bar navigate to Store > Deauthorize This Computer…
This will remove your Mac from the list of computers and devices authorized to download and play content purchased with your Apple ID. If you’ve already sold you’re Mac, you can log into your iTunes account on another computer and under Apple ID Summary, click “Deauthorize All Computers”. Of course, you will have to sign back in to iTunes on and reauthorize iTunes on each computer.

Disable ICloud

Signing out of iCloud before you sell your device will make sure any remnants of cloud data (Safari Bookmarks, appointment, documents, message, reminders, notes, etc) isn’t visible by the new owner.
Open System Preferences and click iCloud, and click the “Sign Out” button in the lower-left side of the screen.

Confirm that you want to delete contacts from your Mac.

If you have encrypted your drive with Apple’s FileVault service, be sure to disable that feature as well.

3. Restore Mac Back To Factory

Now that you’ve saved all your data, and removed your account information, it’s time to give your Mac a fresh start with a new owner. The following steps will help you wipe the entire drive, and reinstall the operating system.
Make sure you’re connected to the Internet (preferably wired) and for the last time, BE SURE YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY BACKED UP YOUR DRIVE before moving forward!

1. Restart your Mac and hold down the “Command” and “R” keys during startup until you Mac is in Recovery Mode
2. Select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue”
3. Choose your main startup disc (named “Macintosh HD” by default) and click “Unmount”
4. Click Erase tab in the upper-middle section of the screen. To TOTALLY wipe your drive, click “Security Options” and you will be presented with multiple options that offer a more comprehensive erase of your data.
5. Confirm that the format is “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and the name is “Macintosh HD” and click “Erase” in the lower-right side of the screen
6. Quit Disk Utility
7. Click “Reinstall OS X” and click “Continue”

The process should reinstall Mac OS X and prompt you to enter your Apple ID. Instead, shut down your computer, gather it with all the accessories you’re supplying, and box it up for the new owner.

That’s it. Now go out and get yourself a sweet, shiny new Mac!

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