I'm thinking about sending in a 2011 MacBook Pro to PowerMax as a trade in. How do I erase all my stuff on the the hard drive so that when PowerMax turns it on, it is on the same start up screen as a new MacBook Pro?
OS X 10.7 (LION) OR LATER
Thankfully, we no longer have to mess with DVD. With OS X Recovery, we have a built-in set of tools to install OS X, repair and erase your HD, check your internet connection, and restore from Time Machine backup. It's easy to get into OS X Recovery, too:
Restart your Mac and hold down the Command + R keys until the Apple logo appears. From there, you'll see an OS X Utilities window with the aforementioned options listed (after choosing the applicable language).
Select "Disk Utility" and erase your HD. Select your hard drive (HD) and use the Erase tab to wipe the drive clean. After your HD is erased, you can reinstall OS X, which will install the version of OS X that was first installed on that machine.
*Please note: If you plan to send this in for trade, don't reinstall OS X, as that will tie the installation to your AppleID.*
Apple Support Article on Internet Recovery.
PRE-OS X 10.7
A set of Install / Restore DVDs used to be shipped with all new Macs**, and are most often grey in color. Insert the disc and restart the computer holding down the [C] key. When you boot up of the DVD you will pick your language. Then, from the Utilities menu, select Disk Utility. In there select your hard drive (HD) and use the Erase tab to wipe the drive clean. After you are done, close Disk Utility and continue with the installation from that disk. After you have finished installing, the computer will reboot, taking you back to the original "new Mac" screen.
**Install/Restore DVDs no longer come with new or used Macs. Since Internet Recovery (described above), there is no need for discs, only an internet connection. This works for 10.7 and later. If you're running 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier, you will need an Install / Restore DVD as described above. These discs are available through Apple, PowerMax, and other sources.