How to Factory Reset a MacBook Pro

There are several reasons why people want to reset their MacBook Pro or any other model of the laptop. Most people do this because they want to upgrade their unit and sell their current MacBook Pro. Some also do this because they want to give it away to another person. Whatever the reason is, factory resetting a MacBook can be a tedious task, but with the right steps and guidance, the work can be easy.

Since you have stumbled upon this page, we assume you might want to sell or maybe pass on your MacBook Pro to another person. Thankfully, you have come to the right place since we will be discussing the steps on How To factory reset MacBook Pro. With that being said, this tutorial will also work for other recent models of MacBooks.

How Important is Resetting a MacBook Pro

AS mentioned above, factory resetting a MacBook Pro is not new to Mac Users. One of the most common reasons is passing it on to another person, maybe a close family member or a friend. In some cases, some users also do this to troubleshoot issues within the operating system which will require a new installation of the Mac OS. Before installing a new Mac OS, you first need to factory reset the system. Be reminded that doing so will completely erase all the data within the system, so be sure to back up those critical data.

With enough background, erasing all the data from a Mac is relatively straightforward. Deleting all your data before handing out your Mac to someone else is very important. Failure to do so will leave you vulnerable to identity theft. This is because most of your accounts will be synced to your Mac, including address, bank accounts and even personal pictures from your phone. Also if you know the person whom you’ll be giving your Mac, wiping your data will serve them right still. Not everyone wants to carry around a laptop with data not belonging to them.

Steps in Resetting a MacBook Pro

This guide will provide you with the easy steps to erase all the data from your MacBook Pro. After following the instructions, your MacBook Pro will be good as new, preparing it for the installation of the new Mac OS. To first follow these steps, you need to makes sure that you already know the password of the unit. If ever you somehow forgot the password, there are steps to follow that lets you recover your password.

How to reset your MacBook Pro:

  1. You need to check first if you are connected to the internet. Doing so will allow you to download the recent file of the Mac OS that is compatible with your unit. The latest version is the MacOS Mojave. However, if you have an older MacBook, you need to download the older versions of the OS, like the MacOS X
  2. The next step is to back up the files on your Mac by using the Time machine software, or you could also clone the data from your hard drive to an external Hard drive. You can do this by using programs like SuperDuper or Carbon Cloner. These programs allow you to gain access to all your files. These files can then be re-cloned or copied to the internal hard drive of the rebooted system.
  3. You also need to de-authorize any accounts synced in the Mac such as your iTunes account. Other considerations include those from third-party applications such as Lightroom or Photoshop.
  4. The next step is to sign off and then disable iCloud services.
  5. Restart the unit through recovery mode. To do this, you need to hold down command and then press R while restarting. You can also use another combination of keys which you can customize.
  6. Erase the hard drive using disk utility. Look for Disk Utility, once there, click Continue. Once a pop-up window appears, select the primary volume and then click Unmount. After doing this, click erase. Afterward, you can now quit disk utility.
  7. Once done, you can now reinstall the MacOs. Click “Reinstall MacOs” and then press, Continue. The pop-up window will then show the different steps to reinstall MacOS. The installation wizard will guide you with the entire process.

These are the general steps of the entire factory reset process. In the next part, we will discuss in full detail the specific parts of the process.

Backing Up Data From Hard Drive

Time Machine

Factory resetting a Mac will delete all of your data. Because of this, you need to make sure that all your relevant data has been copied to another media or backed up before factory resetting. You can transfer this data from your old Mac to another. You can do this through various software, such as Time Machine. In this portion, we will talk about how you can back up your data through Time Machine.

The first thing you need to do is search for System Preferences in the Settings. After which, you should see the Time Machine icon, Click it. Once there, click on “Select Backup Disk.” Afterward, choose which disk you like to back up your data. Next, select the “Back up Automatically” feature to finally back up your data.

Carbon Copy Cloner

Another way of backing up data is by the use of Carbon Copy Cloner. You can back up all your data to any drive in your system. The settings for the app are also located in the System Preferences. Once there, you need to pick which drive to copy or clone your files. At this point, Carbon Copy Cloner can back up all your data.

From there, you would be able to boot the system from the back upped drive from Carbon Copy Cloner. To test this, you must reset the unit and then hold down the Option/Alt button whenever booting up the system. Make use of the arrow keys to select the external drive. Once you have chosen the right drive, click Enter.

Once the system has finished the boot-up process, the cloned drive and all its data can then be copied to the primary driver of the system.

Deauthorizing iTunes

Before the factory resetting, you should always de-authorize your iTunes account from your Mac. Doing this means that your account will no longer be linked to the unit. An iTunes account can only be connected to five devices, so if you want to take full advantage of your iTunes account, then you have to deauthorize it from the Mac.

To do this, you need to go to the iTunes app. Go to Accounts and then navigate to Authorizations. You will then need to click on “Deauthorize this Computer.” This will prompt you to enter your Apple ID as well as your password. Click Deauthorize. These steps will work on iTunes 12.

For older versions of iTunes, you need to click on Store and then click Deauthorize this Computer.

Disabling iCloud

Another important thing you need to do before factory resetting your Mac is to disable your iCloud. There are several instances wherein users suffered from leaked photographs or videos, or worse identity theft because they failed to disable iCloud.

Any files that were synced in iCloud will be archived on the home folder of the Mac. Because of this, you need to make sure to have these files copied to the backup drive.

To disable iCloud, you need to go to System Preferences and then look for iCloud settings. Once there, you only need to click Sign out. For you to delete all the personal data synced into iCloud, you need to deselect the boxes of each of these data files. These include contacts, calendar notes, and other records. After which, click on Continue. You can also click on “delete from Mac” for each of the data.

In most cases, the app prompts you to finish updating the iCloud drive before signing out.

For MacBook Pro users that have Touch ID, you might need to confirm the removal of your payment details as well. With this, signing out of the Apple ID will also remove all the payment details. After this, iCloud will guide automatically remove all necessary data and will continue to delete any important data.

Restart Your MacBook Pro in Recovery Mode

After backing up all your relevant data to a drive and after disabling other accounts, you are now ready to erase all the data in your Mac. You are prepared to proceed to the Factory Reset.

Factory Resetting a Mac: Utilities

The first thing you need to do is to erase your MacBook Pro’s drive and all its contents. Make sure though that you already have backed up all necessary data in a separate disk. Once done, you are already ready to delete all the data in your drive.

To do this, you need to go to Utilities. Select Disk Utility from the pop-up window and then click Continue. After this, you need to go and click on the primary hard drive. In most cases, this is named as the Macintosh HD. This is usually placed on the left sidebar. Once you have already selected the correct hard drive, click “Erase Mac.”

At this point, the system will once again ask you if you are sure about deleting the contents of the hard drive. If you are, sure enough, click on the Erase Button and then subsequently click on Erase. It is worth noting that doing this will automatically erase all existing data on the hard drive. So make sure to do this, only if you are confident enough that you already have all the essential data backed up on another drive or that there are no longer files needed within the disc. The system will then proceed to delete all the contents within the hard drive. This will take a couple of minutes. Make sure not to interrupt the process since you may go back to where you started.

When the process is done, you can now exit the program. You can do this by going to the top of the bar and then clicking Disk Utility. After this, click on Quit Disk Utility. Voila! You already are finished with Factory Resetting your Mac.

Reinstalling Mac OS

At this point, your Mac is basically like a brand new laptop. However, it would be useless without a running Mac Os. So because of this, you need to reinstall the Mac OS. You pass on a MacBook Pro without any Mac OS running.

To do this, go to Mac OS utilities. Once there, click on “Reinstall MacOS” and then click Continue. The options will vary depending on the existing OS. After this, a pop-up window will show up which tells you that a new version of the Mac OS will be installed; click on Continue.

Afterward, it will show the Terms and Conditions of the installation. Click on Agree, and the installation process will commence. The system will then let you choose where to install the OS. Select on the Mac OS HD and then click on “Install.”

The system will automatically download the latest version of Mac OS considering you are already connected to the internet. This process will take a couple of minutes so be patient. Once the installation is already done, the system will automatically restart. After rebooting the laptop, it will ask for your Apple ID.

If you plan on passing on the MacBook to another person, it is best that you forego this step and let the new user input his or her Apple ID. With that being said, disregard the setup wizard and allow the new user to continue the process.

Installing an Older Version of Mac OS

Older models of the MacBook do not support the latest Mac OS. Because of this, you are forced to install the older version of Mac OS. You can do this via the Recovery mode.

If the laptop is previously running Sierra 10.12.4 or newer versions, press Shift+Option+Command+R whenever booting up the Mac, this will show you the Recovery Mode of the system. In this interface, you can install the older version of Mac OS.

The versions that can be installed are the ones that can be supported by the system or the OS that came with the laptop when it was bought.