Keeping what you need and properly wiping your Mac before selling.
Whether you are leaving your job or selling your Mac, you will need to properly wipe your Mac and erase all content before handing your device over. Of course, you want to ensure that you do not lose any personal data during the process.
How to Prepare Your Mac for Sale
Backup or Transfer Files
The first thing you will need to do is make a clone or backup of your data. You can use an external storage device to back up your files or use Migration Assistant to move your files to a new Mac.
If you are returning your Mac to an employer you will have to ensure that you are following your employer’s guidelines and not transferring any proprietary data.
For a more comprehensive guide to backing up your data, read our blog post on Data Backups
Sign Out of iTunes, iCloud and iMessage
How to Sign Out of iTunes
Open iTunes and open the menu bar located at the top of the screen. Select Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize this Computer. You will be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password and then click Deauthorize.
Please note that if you are running macOS Catalina or later, you can skip over this step.
How to Sign Out of iCloud
If you are running macOS Catalina or later, navigate to your System Preferences and then click on your Apple ID. Select Overview in the sidebar and then select Sign Out.
If you are running an earlier macOS version then you can simply go to System Preferences > iCloud > Sign Out.
You will be prompted to choose whether to keep a copy of your iCloud data on this Mac. You can keep a copy since you will be completely erasing and wiping your Mac clean. Your iCloud data will stay in iCloud and on any other devices that are signed into iCloud with your Apple ID.
How to Sign Out of iMessage
Signing out of iMessage is simple! From the Messages app open Messages from the menu bar and then select Preferences. Click iMessage and then click Sign out.
This is an optional step and will just ensure that your Bluetooth device and Mac will no longer automatically pair when in range. If you plan on keeping your Bluetooth device then this is a good additional step to take. To unpair Bluetooth go to your Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth. Hover over the device and then click the (x) button that appears next to the device name.
Erasing Your Mac
Turn on your Mac and then immediately press and hold these two keys until you see an Apple logo or other image: Command (⌘) and R.
If prompted, select an administrator that you know the password for and then enter their password.
From the Utilities window select Disk Utility and then click Continue.
Select Macintosh HD in the sidebar of Disk Utility. Click the Erase button in the toolbar and then enter the requested details:
Name: Macintosh HD
Format: APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as recommended by Disk Utility
Click Erase. If you see an Erase Volume Group button, click that button instead. If prompted, enter your Apple ID.
After the erase is completed, select any other internal volumes in the sidebar and then click the delete (-) button in the toolbar to delete that volume.
Quit Disk Utility to return to the utilities window. If you want to start up again from the disk you erased, select Reinstall macOS in the utilities window. Then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.
Turn on your Mac and immediately press: Option, Command (⌘), P and R at the same time. Release the keys after about 20 seconds. This clears users settings from memory and restores certain security features that may have been altered during the wipe process.
After resetting NVRAM, your Mac starts up to the setup assistant again. To leave the Mac in an out-of-box state, press Command-Q to shut down instead of continuing setup.