How to Wipe a Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide
Backing Up Your Data
Before wiping your Mac, it is important to back up your important data such as photos, documents, and other files. This will ensure that you do not lose any important information during the process.
There are different methods you can use to back up your data, including using Apple’s Time Machine, iCloud, or a third-party backup software. Time Machine is a built-in backup feature in macOS that automatically backs up your files to an external hard drive.
To use Time Machine, connect an external hard drive to your Mac and turn on Time Machine. You can then choose the external drive as your backup destination and select the files you want to back up. Time Machine will back up your files automatically at regular intervals.
If you prefer to use iCloud, you can back up your important files to the cloud storage service. To do this, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud and select the files you want to back up. iCloud will then upload the files to the cloud storage.
Another option is to use a third-party backup software such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!. These software allow you to create a bootable backup of your entire hard drive, which you can use to restore your data after wiping your Mac.
No matter which backup method you choose, make sure to verify that your data has been backed up successfully before proceeding with wiping your Mac.
Creating a Bootable USB Drive
To wipe your Mac, you will need to create a bootable USB drive that contains the macOS installer. This will allow you to erase your Mac’s hard drive and reinstall macOS from scratch.
To create a bootable USB drive, you will need a USB drive with at least 16GB of storage and access to a Mac with an internet connection. Follow these steps:
Download the macOS installer from the App Store. The installer will be saved in your Applications folder.
Connect the USB drive to your Mac.
Open Disk Utility, which can be found in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder.
Select the USB drive in the sidebar and click on the Erase tab.
Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format and give the USB drive a name.
Click on Erase to format the USB drive.
Once the USB drive is formatted, open Terminal and type the following command: sudo /Applications/Install macOS Big Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled
Note: Replace “Big Sur” with the version of macOS you are installing and “Untitled” with the name of your USB drive.
Press Enter and enter your administrator password when prompted.
Wait for the process to complete. This may take several minutes.
Once the process is complete, you will have a bootable USB drive that you can use to wipe your Mac and reinstall macOS.
Erasing Your Mac’s Hard Drive
Now that you have backed up your data and created a bootable USB drive, you are ready to erase your Mac’s hard drive. This will remove all data from your Mac and prepare it for a fresh install of macOS.
Follow these steps to erase your Mac’s hard drive:
Shut down your Mac.
Insert the bootable USB drive into your Mac.
Turn on your Mac and hold down the Option key until you see the startup disk selection screen.
Select the bootable USB drive and click on the arrow to proceed.
Once the macOS installer has loaded, select Disk Utility from the menu and click on Continue.
Select your Mac’s hard drive in the sidebar and click on Erase.
Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format and give the hard drive a name.
Click on Erase to erase the hard drive.
Once the hard drive is erased, close Disk Utility.
Your Mac’s hard drive is now erased and ready for a fresh install of macOS.
Now that you have erased your Mac’s hard drive, you can proceed with reinstalling macOS. Follow these steps:
With the bootable USB drive still connected to your Mac, select Install macOS from the menu and click on Continue.
Follow the on-screen instructions to select your language and agree to the terms and conditions.
When prompted to select a destination for the installation, choose the hard drive you just erased.
Click on Install to begin the installation process. This may take several minutes.
Once the installation is complete, your Mac will restart.
Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Mac, including creating a user account and selecting your preferences.
Your Mac is now fully wiped and has a fresh install of macOS.
Restoring Your Data from Backup
After wiping your Mac and reinstalling macOS, you can restore your data from your backup. Follow these steps:
Connect your backup device to your Mac.
Open Migration Assistant, which can be found in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder.
Follow the on-screen instructions to select your backup device and choose the files you want to restore.
Wait for the migration process to complete. This may take several minutes or hours depending on the amount of data being restored.
Once the migration is complete, your Mac will restart.
Double-check that all of your data has been restored properly and is working as expected.
Congratulations! You have successfully wiped your Mac and restored your data from backup.