How to Reset Your MacBook

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Sometimes you have to do the dirty work and reset your Mac after a disaster. Fortunately, you need to follow a few simple steps to restore it Mac or MacBook to factory settings. Don’t worry, if all goes well you should be able to save your most important documents and photos.

Before you start setting up your MacBook, you might want to check the Time Machine app first. First, you need a backup disk, which can include an external hard drive or a USB drive (you should try to find something with more space than the Mac’s internal drives). Go to Launchpad and search for Time Machine. Follow the on-screen instructions for adding a backup disk. Once you’re done, you’ll want to look at the top right corner of your Mac and hit the little clock icon. Click “Back up now” option if available. It should show you when Time Machine finished backing up your device.

If you don’t have an external drive and are instead trying to transfer to another Mac, you’ll want to open Migration Assistant. For the latest versions of macOS, which is Ventura or later, open Settings, then type in the search for “Transfer or Restore.” You will see a tab come up with options for Migration Agent and”Delete All Content and Preferences” button. If you can, you can use Migration Assistant to migrate all your important data, settings, and apps to another Mac. Unfortunately, using this tool, you cannot transfer Mac to Windows PC. You need to have another Mac nearby to connect to it, and after that, you just follow the instructions to transfer all your data.

But if you want to reset your Mac, first you need to jump into Erase Assistant. When you select Erase All Content and Changes, you must enter the Mac administrator password (there is another way to set up your MacBook without a password, which involves jumping into macOS utilities). Then you will see a window that says “Delete All & Favorites,” to warn you of all the types that Mac wants to leave. Your Mac may ask you to open Time Machine to back up your data.

However, if not, you will need to enter your admin password and sign out of the connected Apple ID (which will require you to authenticate with any connected device via 2FA) before you receive a popup with a big red button reading “Delete All Content and Preferences.

As soon as you click on it, your screen will go black as it restarts. You can see a bar showing the progress of the reset. When this happens, you have to go through the usual process to connect to WiFi with any WiFi devices. When that happens, you can click the Restart arrow, which should take you to the screen if you’re setting up your Mac for the first time.

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