Resetting a Mac to its factory settings isn’t as quick as resetting an iOS device. When we reset iPhone, it removes all our data, but Operating System and stock apps remain intact. So it takes a just a few minutes to reset an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. However, resetting a Mac works in a different way. You will have to reinstall OS X, and it is going to take lots of time depending on how you are trying to do.

Three ways to factory reset a Mac (MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac or any other Mac)

  1. Resetting via Internet Recovery
  2. Resetting via Bootable OS X Installer
  3. Resetting via nothing (A smart way to reset Mac quickly)

1. Reset Mac to its Factory setting via Internet Recovery

I tried this way when I reset my Mac for the first time and believe me it’s the worst way to reset a Mac to its factory settings. You can assume how long it may take to download over 5GB or 6GB file from the internet. If the internet connection is not good, you may need to wait a whole day.

How to use Internet Recovery on Mac

  • Turn off your Mac completely
  • Now hold Option (Alt) key and press the Power key. Do not leave the Option key until you see anything on the screen (check the image below)
  • Now select your WiFi connection from the drop-down list, enter the WiFi Password, and then follow the screen’s prompt

Internet Recovery Mac

2. Reset Mac to its Factory Settings via Mac Installer USB Thumb Drive or External Drive

This process is followed by most of the people, and it doesn’t take too long. If your Mac has SSD Storage, this process requires 15 to 25 mins. In the case of traditional Hard Disk Drive, it can take up to an hour provided that you already have Mac Installer USB Stick/External Drive ready. If you don’t have, you make learn to make Bootable Mac Installer.

How to use Mac Installer USB or External Drive to reset Mac

  • Turn Off Mac completely, and connect the USB/External Drive that has bootable Mac Installer file
  • Now Hold the Option (Alt) key, and press the Power button
  • Don’t leave Option. Leave it when you see Hard Disk/Storage on the screen (Check the image below). If it doesn’t appear, disconnect the USB/External Drive, and connect again (don’t need to restart)

Mac Installer

  • Now select the OS X Installer driver, and click on arrow icon, or press Enter key
  • Hang on until you get other options
  • Now click Utilities in the menu bar, and select Disk Utilities

disk utilities

  • Select the Mac’s internal storage, click Erase, and then click Erase (It will erase the Mac’s storage completely that cannot be recovered later)

disk utilities

  • Now exit the Disk Utility window clicking on cross icon
  • You will be back to OS X installation Window
  • Click on Continue option

OS X Installation

  • Now you will be shown terms of usage that you need to accept to proceed further
  • Select the Mac’s internal storage to install the OS X, and click Continue

Install OS X

  • The installation will take some time. Once installation is complete, follow the Screen’s prompt, and enter the information it asks
  • That’s it, and all your files are gone from the system, and you have made a fresh OS X installation successfully

3. The Smarter Way : How to factory reset your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac or Mac Pro Quickly

Why may someone want to reset Mac ?

Most of the time we reset Mac to delete all our personal data from the system. Whether you want to resell your Mac or giving away to your friend or family member, you must remove your personal data. If this is the case, there is no need to follow a long procedure. However, if you want to reinstall OS X, upgrade/downgrade, that’s a different situation.

Reset Mac = Delete all your personal data+apps

Here is how you can delete all your Mac data just in a few minutes without any internet connection or OS X installer drive

  • Take the backup of your Mac data (all your data will be removed in this process)
  • Launch System Preferences (Click on apple icon in menu bar, and hit System Preferences)
  • Click Users & Groups option
  • Click the lock icon, Enter Admin Password, and press Enter Key

Unlock feature on Mac

  • Then click Plus (+) sign
  • You must Select Administrator in New Account type
  • Enter rest of the information, and hit Create User

Unlock feature on Mac

  • Now click the apple icon in menu bar, and select Log Out

Logout From Mac

  • You will be logged out and will be on the screen where you need to select the user to log in again. Select the new user you just created. Type the Password and press Enter key

New Admin Mac

  • Now go back to System Preferences –> Users & Groups (where you added the new Admin)
  • Click the lock icon again, and type the Admin Password, and press Enter key, just like you did earlier
  • Select your Account, and click the Minus (-) icon

Remove Admin from Mac

  • Select Delete the home folder, and also check the option Erase home folder securely
  • Click Delete User

Delete Home Folder Mac

  • It may take a couple of minutes to delete the User, and once deleted, You will not see that user under Users & Groups anymore
  • The previous user, and all of his/her data will be removed (except system (stock) apps and Operating System)
  • There are a couple of apps as exceptions that don’t get removed in this process. So you need to launch Finder –> Go to Application folder, and verify. If you find any app that has not been removed (except system apps), right-click on App, hit Move to Trash
  • Now right click on Trash icon (located under dock), and hit Empty Trash
  • That’s it, and now you can resell or give away your MacBook to anyone you want. All your personal data is removed
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