People age, so do computers. Yes, even Macs. It’s an inevitable part of life. Fortunately, when computers start slowing a teeny bit down or just become a little too bogged down for you to deal with, you can just do a simple reset and watch it bounce back as good as new. If you have no idea how to do this, here’s a simple guide on how to reset your Mac and restore it to its factory settings.
Before we go through the process, though, please keep in mind that resetting your Mac will erase ALL personal data on your computer — only keeping the files and applications that came preinstalled when you bought your Mac from the store — so make sure that you keep a backup — or multiple backups just to be sure — before you initiate the process. Once they were deleted, there’s no longer any way to restore them, so, again, make sure that you backup your files first.
Backing Up Your Files
There are a couple of ways to backup your files. You can either do it through your Mac’s default backup program, the Time Machine, store your data in your iCloud, burn your files on a CD or DVD, or copy your files to another storage device.
To use Time Machine to backup your files,
- Go to the Apple menu.
- Select System Preferences.
- Choose the Time Machine icon.
- Click Select Backup Disk.
- Select which disk you’d like to use as a Time Machine backup.
- Check the BackUp Automatically box in order to automatically backup your Mac to your chosen disks.
After you’re done backing up your files, there’s another optional step that you may want to do, especially if you will be selling your Mac or turning it over to a new user, and that is signing out of your accounts.
Normally, your login credentials will be deleted along with the rest of the files on your computer that did not come preinstalled with your Mac when you reformat your drive, but just to be reallyyy sure, we recommend that you still manually sign out of all your accounts — Apple and otherwise — before you wipe out your data to be on the safe side.
How to Sign Out of iTunes
- Open iTunes.
- From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen or at the top of the iTunes window, choose Account.
- Go to Authorizations.
- Click Deauthorize This Computer.
- When prompted, enter your Apple ID and password.
- Click Deauthorize.
How to Sign Out of iCloud
- In System Preferences, click iCloud, and then click the Sign Out button.
- When you sign out of iCloud, you will be asked whether you want to remove iCloud data from your Mac. If not, just ignore the message.
- Your iCloud data will remain on any other devices that are using the same Apple ID.
How to Sign out of iMessage
If you’re using OS X Mountain Lion or later, make sure you sign out of iMessage.
- Go to the Messages app.
- Choose Preferences.
- Choose Accounts.
- Select your iMessage account.
- Click Sign Out.
After you’ve made sure that you have signed out of all your accounts, it’s time to reformat your hard drive.
How to Reformat Your Hard Drive
If you’re done backing up your data, you may start the reset process by reformatting your hard drive. To do this:
- Turn on your Mac.
- Hold the Command and R keys at the same time then wait until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
- Select Disk Utility in the Utilities window.
- Click Continue.
- Select your Startup disk (usually found under the name “Macintosh HD”).
- Look at the top of the Disk Utility window and click Erase.
- Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the options that will appear in the popup window.
- Click Erase.
- Once you’re done, select Quit Disk Utility from the Disk Utility drop-down menu.
Reinstalling Your Mac Operating System
Once you’re done reformatting your hard drive, it’s time to start reinstalling your operating system.
- If you’re already in the Utilities window after formatting your drive, you may proceed with the re-installation immediately, but if you’re not, restart your Mac first, then hold down the Command and R keys at the same time until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
- Click on Reinstall OS X or macOS to reinstall the operating system that was originally installed in your Mac.
- Wait for the installation to finish.
- After the reinstallation is complete, your Mac will restart and a welcome screen will appear and ask you to choose a country or region.
- If you’re keeping your Mac for your own use, complete the setup with your own information. If you’re going to sell it or give it away and want to keep it in factory setting condition, just skip the setup process and press Command – Q to shut it down.
And that’s it!
Your Mac is as good as new.