• How to reset your MacBook or Mac to the original factory settings
  • Clone your hard drive and securely wipe the original
  • Remove all your personal data and set up a clean installation of Mac OS X

How do I reset my Mac to factory settings? It’s a question that many Mac OS X users ask prior to selling or handing on a beloved Mac. It’s safer to pass on a Mac with personal information removed, and a cleaning out Mac OS X looks more healthy to the buyer.

Our guide to clearing all your information and data from a Macbook enables you to reset Mac OS X to an unblemished factory state. This is the same as if you’d just got the Mac for the first time. Discover how to wipe all your personal information from Mac OS X.

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Step 1: Clone your hard drive

Carbon Copy Cloner

The process of resetting a MacBook to factory settings gets rid of all your data from the Mac. obviously you should transfer data from your old Mac to a new one, but it’s worth making a clone of the whole hard drive and keeping it around for a while. The best way to do this is using a program like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper along with an external hard drive. Choose your main hard drive in the source, and your external hard drive in the Destination. Now click on Clone.

See: How to recover your Mac from a back up

Step 2: De-Authorising iTunes

De-authorise iTunes

You should deauthorize your computer from iTunes. This means that it will no longer be linked to your iTunes account. You can only use up to five Macs to play music and movies that are locked to your iTunes account, so you shouldn’t pass that on to another person. Open iTunes and click Store > De-authorise This Computer. Enter your Apple ID and password and click De-authorise.

See: How to remove your Apple ID completely: shut down your iTunes Store, iCloud and other accounts

Step 3: Turn off FileVault

FileVault

FileVault encrypts the files on your hard drive, and it’s better to turn it off before going any further (you'll be wiping the files soon so security shouldn’t be a concern). Open System preferences and click on Security & Privacy and FileVault. Check that it says FileVault is turned off the for the disc [main hard drive]. If not click on the padlock icon in the bottom left, enter your password and click on Unlock. Now click Turn Off FileVault.

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Step 4: Disable iCloud

Disable iCloud

Open System Preferences and click on iCloud and tap on Sign Out Now. To remove all your personal data click on Delete From Mac (although you’ll be wiping the hard drive in the next step).

See: How to set up iCloud

Step 5: Restart the Mac in Recovery Mode

First of all make sure you are connected to the Internet (open Safari and browse around). You need an internet connection to install Mac OS X. Restart the Mac by clicking on Apple > Restart and hold down the Command and R keys until the Recovery Mode Utilities window appears.

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Step 6: Erase the drive

Erase Mac OS X drive

Select Disk Utility and click on Continue. Now choose your Startup Disk in the sidebar on the left, and click on the Erase tab. If you want to securely erase the drive choose Security Zero Data One-Pass. Click Erase to delete the hard drive. Note that this permanently erases all data on the hard drive so don’t do this unless you’ve cloned the drive or are happy to never have to get something from that drive again. When it’s finished exit the program by choosing Disk Utility and Quit Disk Utility.

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Step 7: Select Re-install Mountain Lion and Install

Install Mac OS X

Now click on Reinstall OS X and continue. This will download and install a blank copy of Mac OS X Mavericks on the Mac. Do not enter your Apple ID and password though, and setup Mac OS X: allow the person to finish the setup process themselves.

See: Get your Mac Ready for Mac OS X Mavericks