How to Erase All Content and Settings on Mac.
Apple provides various tools and methods for erasing data from Mac computers. How you reset your Mac laptop or desktop computer depends on its software version and chipset architecture. This guide covers various ways to remove all content and settings on Mac computers.
Before erasing data from your Mac, we recommend backing up its contents to an external storage device—preferably using Time Machine. For step-by-step instructions, see our Time Machine backup guide.
Use macOS Monterey Erase Assistant
macOS Monterey comes with an “Erase Assistant” utility that resets your Mac to factory settings in a few clicks. The best part is that the utility only deletes your personal data, settings, apps, accounts, etc. Your Mac’s operating system remains intact after the wipe.
The Removal Assistant is only available in macOS Monterey on Macs using Apple Silicon or the Apple T2 Security Chip. Connect your Mac to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network and do the following:
Click the gear icon in the menu bar to open System Preferences.
Alternatively, select the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen and choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
Select System Preferences from the menu bar and select Erase All Content and Settings.
Enter your Mac’s password in the dialog box and click OK to open the Erase Assistant.
You will find a list of settings, data, and files that Erase Assistant will remove from your Mac. macOS will close all active foreground and background applications when you click the Continue button. The operation also disconnects and unpairs all Bluetooth devices from your Mac.
The next step is to disconnect your Apple ID account from your Mac. This will disable Find My and Activation Lock at the same time.
Enter your Apple ID password and select Continue to sign out of your Apple ID.
Select “Delete all content and settings” to start deleting your data.
Erase Mac Content and Settings Using Disk Utility
Mac computers based on Intel processors do not support the Erase Assistant utility. If your Mac doesn’t have this tool, use Disk Utility to perform a factory reset. Unlike Erase Assistant, Disk Utility erases everything on your Mac’s drive, including the operating system. Thus, you will have to reinstall macOS from scratch when setting up your Mac after erasing data.
It’s also important to create a Time Machine backup before wiping your Mac with Disk Utility. To use Disk Utility to perform a factory reset, you must shut down your Mac and boot into recovery mode.
Disconnect all unnecessary accessories from your Mac and do the following:
Press and hold your Mac’s power button (for at least 15 seconds) until its screen turns off. Wait another 10 seconds until macOS shuts down completely. Press the power button and hold the Command + R keys if you have a Mac with an Intel processor. Keep holding these keys until the Recovery Assistant window appears on the screen.
On Macs with an Apple M1 or Apple Silicon chip, press and hold the Power button until the Startup Options page appears on the screen. Select Options and then Continue to boot your Mac into recovery mode.
Select your Mac’s administrator account, enter its password, and click Next.
Can’t remember your administrator account password? Check out our guide to formatting Macs without a password.
Select Disk Utility and click the Continue button to continue.
Select the internal drive volume where macOS is installed – Macintosh HD – Data – in the sidebar and select Erase in the toolbar.
If you don’t find “Macintosh HD – Data” in the sidebar, expand the “View” drop-down menu and select “Show All Devices”.
Use the system-recommended “Name” and “Format” and select “Erase Volume Group” to delete all data stored on the disk.
Select Erase if the Erase Volume Group option is not available for your device.
You will be prompted to enter your Apple ID password. This will disconnect your account from the Mac, disable Find My, and disable Activation Lock. On Macs with an Apple Silicon chip, select Erase Mac and Restart in the pop-up window to begin erasing your hard drive. When your Mac restarts, close Disk Utility, select Reinstall macOS [Monterey], select Continue, and follow the onscreen instructions.
By default, your computer will boot to a freshly installed version of macOS when you reinstall macOS from recovery mode. To install the version of macOS that came with your Mac, press and hold Shift + Option + Command + R during startup.
Connect your computer to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet (we recommend the latter option). Charge your Mac and keep its lid open while it downloads and reinstalls macOS. Your Mac may restart and show a blank screen several times during installation. When the installation is complete, a setup assistant window will appear on the screen.
Follow the Setup Assistant to set up your new Mac. Close the Setup Assistant (press Command + Q) if you want to sell, trade, or gift your Mac.
Erase All Content & Settings Using Find My
Erase Assistant Tool remains the fastest, safest and best way to erase data from Mac computers. However, if you no longer have access to your Mac, Find My offers the option to delete your data remotely. Only use this tracking app/service to erase your Mac’s content and settings if it’s stolen or lost.
Open the iCloud Find My web portal and sign in with the Apple ID account associated with your Mac. Expand All Devices and select your MacBook from the list.
Select the “Erase Mac” icon in the trash.
You will receive a warning that the operation will delete your Mac’s content and settings. Select Erase to continue.
You can also erase your Mac from the Find My mobile app on iPhone or iPad. Follow these steps if your phone and Mac use the same Apple ID.
Open the Find My app, go to the Devices tab, select your Mac and click Erase this device. Select Continue and enter the message you want to appear on the screen if someone finds your Mac. You can leave the message field blank if you wish. Click “Erase” to remotely erase your Mac’s content and settings.
Restore Erased Content and Settings
If you have a Time Machine backup, you can recover deleted data if you find or restore your Mac. Contact Apple Support if you’re having difficulty deleting all content and settings on your Mac using these tools.
How to Erase All Content and Settings on Mac
How to Erase All Content and Settings on Mac