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How To Restore Macbook Pro To Factory Settings Catalina?

If you’re going to sell your MacBook or Mac, trade it in, or just pass it on to friends or family, you should clean it and restore it to factory settings first. This is partially to keep your data secure, but it’s also to prevent any future problems that could arise if you don’t detach that Mac from the numerous services and apps you use. It also implies that the new user will be able to restart the Mac as if it were fresh.

Just keep in mind that erasing personal information isn’t enough if someone else will be using the Mac after you; you’ll also need to make sure there’s a functional version of macOS installed. Read our guide on selling a Mac for more information.

Another reason you may want to erase your Mac is to do a clean install of macOS, which can be an useful approach to solve problems with your Mac if it’s acting strangely or you’re scared you’ve got a virus. Wiping a broken Mac will enable you to set it up as if it were a new Mac, perhaps resolving any software-related difficulties.

  • Back up or clone your Mac.
  • Delete all of your files from your Mac.
  • Reset your Mac to factory defaults.
  • Install macOS again.
  • First, some good news: If you’re running macOS Monterey on an M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, or a Mac with a T2 chip, deleting your Mac’s content has just become a whole lot simpler due to a new option in System Preferences. We’ll go through the new stages in detail below.

Step 1: Back up your Mac

Before you begin, make a backup or clone of your Mac. This is because, as you would think, restoring a Mac to factory defaults erases all of the data it contains.

Don’t fall into the same trap we did: We figured that since we use iCloud to sync all of our Apple devices’ information, we’d be able to retrieve anything we needed from the cloud – which was true to some degree, but we didn’t realise it until after we cleaned the Mac that the data for one non-Apple programme we used wasn’t in the cloud. It’s simple to make a mistake in these days of working mostly on the cloud! Unfortunately, you can’t currently use iCloud to back up everything on your Mac.

Fortunately, backing up your Mac is simple if you have an external hard disc to utilise. This is really easy to perform using Apple’s Time Machine software; here’s how to back up with Time Machine. The nicest part about backing up using Time Machine is that it makes transferring your data to a new Mac a breeze.

If you don’t want to use Apple’s free Time Machine software, you may use a tool like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to generate a clone of your whole hard drive (both are available as free trials).

If you decide to restore your Mac, this cloned drive may be re-cloned back to the primary drive, or it can be used to access all of your original files and move them along with all of your settings to your new machine.

We offer a comprehensive guide on backing up a Mac as well as a list of the top Mac backup software.

Step 2: Prepare and erase your Mac

You know you need to wipe the Mac before handing it off, but there’s some more administrative work to be done beforehand.

If you have an M1 Mac or an Intel Mac with a T2 processor and are running macOS Monterey, this procedure is a bit simpler since a new option in System Preferences takes care of many of the stages. If your Mac is older, the instructions are a bit more involved; we’ll walk you through the stages for older Macs below.

M1 Macs and Intel Mac with T2 chip running macOS Monterey

  • If you have an M1 Mac, or an Intel Mac with a T2 processor inside, and you’re running macOS Monterey, the procedure is a bit simpler, since a new option in System Preferences takes care of many of the tasks.

The T2 security chip is included in these Intel Macs:

MacBook Air (2018 model)
iMac 27-inch from 2020 iMac Pro Mac Pro from 2019 MacBook Pro from 2018 Mac mini from 2018 iMac 27-inch from 2020 iMac Pro Mac Pro from 2019

How to erase an M1 Mac, or a Mac with T2 chip

In macOS Monterey, a new option in System Preferences takes care of a lot of the tedious procedures needed in wiping your Mac – as long as it’s an M1 or T2 Mac, as described above.

Everything will be taken care of if you choose the new Erase All Content and Settings option, including the elimination of your saved fingerprints for Touch ID, Apple ID, everything in the Wallet app, and Find My. The Activation Lock will be disabled, and Bluetooth devices will be disconnected. It also deletes all of your data as well as any user-installed programmes.

Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
In the menu bar at the top of your screen, select System Preferences.
Select Erase All Content and Settings from the drop-down menu.

How To Restore Macbook Pro To Factory Settings Catalina?
  • Please type in your password.
  • Before you start deleting, you’ll be urged to back up your data using Time Machine, but you may skip this step.
  • What will be removed will be shown in a window, including Apple ID, Touch ID, accessories, and Find My Settings.
  • Finally, using your Apple ID, log out of your Mac and any associated services.
  • You’ll get a last warning before your Mac is deleted, so if you have second thoughts, you may stop now.

Your Mac will restart once you click the second Erase All Content & Settings button. You’ll eventually get a dark screen when it restarts.
You may either complete the procedures to set up your Mac as new once it restarts, or you can leave it at this point for the next owner to complete. Simply shut down the Mac first.

How to prepare and erase an older Mac

Unfortunately, if your Mac is older than the ones listed above, or if it doesn’t have Monterey installed (in which case, you should definitely update the software first as it will make things easier for you), you’ll have to follow the procedures below:

1. Deauthorise your accounts

You must detach the Mac from any services to which it is connected.

That means you’ll have to log out of Apple Music/iTunes, iCloud, Messages, and Find My iPhone.

For example, you’ll need to deauthorize and log out of your iTunes Store account via the Music app (or iTunes in prior versions of macOS). This is significant since you can only play music and movies restricted to your iTunes/Music account on up to five Macs. Depending on the version you have, the technique for deauthorizing your music services differs.

Click Account in the Music or iTunes app, then log out.
Log out after opening the App Store app and clicking on Store.
Select Apple ID from the System Preferences menu. After that, go to Overview and Sign Out. Deselect everything when it asks whether you want to maintain a copy of your iCloud data (of course make sure you back that information up somewhere). Then click Continue and wait for it to complete the sign-out process (which may take a while). You’ll be asked if you want to download images to your Mac at some point (you don’t unless you want to create a backup). Finally, validate your Apple ID password by entering it, as well as the Mac’s password.

2. Unpair Bluetooth devices

This is particularly crucial if you’re giving your Mac to a family member or coworker, since any Bluetooth device that was previously associated with your old Mac may reconnect with it, which might be inconvenient if you wish to use it with your new Mac. It’s also possible that your new keyboard or mouse may not function.

3. Turn off FileVault (if you use it)

Unauthorized people may find it difficult to access the data on your Mac if you use FileVault encryption. If you’re using FileVault to encrypt your data on your Mac, you should switch it off before deleting it and preparing the Mac for sale. This may sound counterintuitive since you want to safeguard your data, but you’ll be deleting it.

  • Go to System Preferences to turn it off.
  • Select Security & Privacy from the drop-down menu.
  • Select FileVault from the drop-down menu.
  • Enter your name and password by clicking on the lock.
  • Turn off FileVault by clicking the Turn Off FileVault button.

4. Reset NVRAM

Resetting the NVRAM is one more technique to make sure that none of your personal settings are stored on the Mac after you have finished using it.

The NVRAM is a relatively insignificant portion of memory that is used by your Mac to store various configurations and preferences. Your user settings will be deleted, and any changes you made to the default security settings will be reverted when you reset it.

  • Keep pressing Option/Alt, Command, and P and R simultaneously.
  • After twenty seconds, you may let off of the keys.

It is important to note that the NVRAM on an M1 Mac cannot be reset in the same manner. You are able to make adjustments to the settings, but you cannot reset the device. On the other hand, it is possible that you won’t need to since it seems that the M1 Chip does a test of the NVRAM whenever the machine is restarted after being shut down (i.e. not after a normal reboot). In the event that the memory becomes corrupted, an automated reset will take place. This article, titled “How to reset NVRAM on an M1 or Intel Mac,” contains information on how to do the NVRAM reset. Naturally, if you own an M1 Mac, you won’t be required to carry out this step in any case.

5. Restart your Mac in Recovery

Now that you have everything backed up, your accounts deactivated, and your devices unpaired, you are ready to begin the process of deleting everything on the Mac. You will need to go into Recovery mode in order to do this. This will allow you to completely erase everything on the Mac.

How to enter Recovery on an Intel Mac

  • You may restart your device by clicking the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • As soon as possible, simultaneously press and hold the Command key as well as the R key until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe. (You may find it more convenient to use a different key combination depending on the age of your Mac, the version of macOS that you want to install, or the version of macOS that was already installed on the Mac when you purchased it – we have a comprehensive guide that explains how to start a Mac in Recovery Mode here.) For instance, Apple suggests that “if you’re selling or giving away a Mac that is using OS X El Capitan or earlier, use Option-Command-R to make sure that the installation isn’t associated with your Apple ID.” This can be done by holding down the Option key while simultaneously pressing the Command and R keys on the keyboard.
  • You should plan on the Mac taking some time to start up while it is in this mode.
  • You could come across a screen that prompts you to choose a language to use.
  • The window for the Recovery Mode Utilities will appear on the screen after the previous one. Since the release of macOS Sierra and subsequent versions, it seems somewhat like this:

Read this article to learn how to reinstall macOS if you’re experiencing issues because Command + R isn’t doing the trick: How to Reinstall macOS if Recovery Won’t Work.

  • Clicking the Apple logo and selecting the Shut Down option will allow you to turn off the machine…
  • Now turn on the Mac by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds. Maintain your grip on the button for the power!
  • When the Apple logo displays, you will also see text notifying you that if you continue holding, you will be able to access startup settings. This text will show simultaneously with the Apple logo.
  • Keep pressing and holding the button (probably for around another five seconds), and the message on the screen should change to Loading Startup Options.
  • You will eventually have the ability to pick Options > Continue from the menu.
  • This will make Recovery available.

6. Erase and reformat your Mac

Since you have successfully entered Recovery mode, you may now delete everything on your Mac.

Again, the instructions may vary somewhat based on the version of macOS you are running as well as the kind of processor that your Mac utilises (Intel or M1).

Before going on to Mojave and the earlier versions of macOS that came before it, we will go through the process in Monterey, Big Sur, and Catalina.

How to delete your Mac in Big Sur/Monterey on an Intel Mac

  • Following the last set of steps, you should now be in Recovery. From the list of options available to you, pick Disk Utility.
  • After entering Disk Utility, choose the option labelled “Macintosh HD” (or whatever name you have given your ‘hard disc’).
  • You have a number of choices at the top; choose “Erase” from those possibilities.
  • You need should be able to locate the name of your drive, and the format ought to be APFS. You should be able to see an option to remove the volume group underneath it (this will ensure you delete both the Macintosh HD and Macintosh HD Data.)
  • After you have removed the hard drive from the Macintosh, you may then choose any additional drives or volumes, and by clicking the dash (-), you can remove the volume.
  • To ensure that nothing is left behind, you will need to choose the Erase Volume Group option. If you do not see this choice, try following the steps that are provided below.


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