How to wipe Mac computer clean before selling?

If you’re planning on selling your Mac computer, it’s crucial to ensure that all your personal data and sensitive information are completely removed from the device. Whether you’re upgrading to a new Mac or simply parting ways with an older model, follow these step-by-step instructions to wipe your Mac computer clean before selling it.

Safeguard Your Personal Data

Before diving into the process of wiping your Mac clean, it’s essential to back up all your important files, documents, photos, and anything else you wish to keep. You can easily accomplish this by transferring your data to an external hard drive, cloud storage service, or another Mac using the Migration Assistant application.

Once you have safeguarded your personal data, it’s time to proceed with wiping your Mac computer clean.

Deauthorize Certain Applications and Services

Some applications and services on your Mac may require authorization, such as iTunes, iBooks, and Photoshop. Before wiping your Mac, ensure you deauthorize these applications to prevent complications for the new user.

To deauthorize iTunes, open the application, go to the “Account” menu, select “Authorizations,” and click on “Deauthorize This Computer.” Perform a similar process for other authorized applications.

Erase your Mac Computer

Now comes the critical step of erasing your Mac computer’s data. The most secure method involves formatting the hard drive and reinstalling macOS. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Turn off your Mac computer and restart it while holding down the Command + R keys to enter Recovery Mode.
2. In Recovery Mode, select “Disk Utility” and click on “Continue.”
3. Choose your Mac’s startup disk and click on “Erase” from the toolbar.
4. In the Format menu, select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and give it a name.
5. Click on “Erase” and wait until the process is completed.
6. Once the disk is erased, close Disk Utility, and you will return to the macOS Utilities window.
7. Select “Reinstall macOS” and follow the instructions to reinstall a clean version of the operating system.

Once you have completed these steps, your Mac computer will be wiped clean and ready for sale. Be patient during the reinstallation process, as it can take some time.


1. Can I use the Disk Utility to erase my Mac computer?

Yes, Disk Utility is the built-in tool that allows you to format and erase your Mac’s hard drive.

2. Is it necessary to deauthorize applications before wiping my Mac?

It is not mandatory, but it prevents any complications for the new user when they try to use authorized applications or services.

3. Can I use an alternative method to erase my Mac?

Yes, you can also use the Terminal utility or third-party disk wiping software to erase your Mac if you prefer.

4. Should I remove all applications before wiping my Mac?

It is not necessary to manually remove all applications. They will be erased when you format the hard drive.

5. What happens to the preinstalled macOS after wiping?

It will be replaced with a fresh copy of macOS that the new user can set up.

6. Will wiping my Mac remove firmware passwords?

Yes, wiping your Mac will remove any firmware passwords you have set up.

7. Do I need an internet connection to reinstall macOS?

Yes, you need an internet connection to download a clean copy of macOS during the reinstallation process.

8. Can I sell a Mac with a wiped hard drive but without reinstalling macOS?

It is highly recommended to reinstall macOS to ensure the new user has a smooth experience with the computer.

9. Can I use a different version of macOS when reinstalling?

No, your Mac will automatically reinstall the version of macOS that came with it originally.

10. Can I wipe my Mac remotely?

No, you need physical access to the Mac in order to wipe it clean.

11. How can I ensure that my personal data is not recoverable?

By formatting the hard drive and reinstalling macOS, you significantly reduce the chances of data recovery.

12. Should I transfer my data to the new Mac before wiping my old Mac?

It is recommended to back up and transfer your data before wiping your old Mac to ensure nothing is lost or accidentally deleted.

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