Are you facing issues with your MacBook Pro? If so, do you want to start afresh and have a clean system? Resetting your MacBook Pro to its factory settings ensures any bugs or snags are wiped out. It’s also essential to reset your Mac if you’re planning to sell or pass it on to a friend or family member, so your personal data and accounts are not misused.

Here’s a simple step by step guide on how to factory reset your MacBook Pro. This process should apply to all MacBook Pro models running on macOS X Yosemite 10.10 and above.

Create a backup

The first step is to create a backup of your MacBook Pro which includes your data, apps, music, photos, emails, etc. A backup can be done using Time Machine, the built-in backup feature of your MacBook and can be used to restore everything on your new device. All you need is an external storage device compatible with macOS and has enough storage space to safely back up all your data.

  • Connect the external storage device.
  • Open Time Machine preferences from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar — Apple menu  > System Preferences > Time Machine.

Apple Time Machine backup

Apple Time Machine backup

  • Select the external storage device and click on Encrypt backups and Use Disk.
  • After you select a backup disk, Time Machine should immediately begin making a backup.
  • To start a backup manually, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar. Use the same menu to check the status of a backup or skip a backup in progress.

Sign out of iCloud and other services

After creating a backup, it’s recommended to sign out of all services such as iTunes, iCloud, and iMessage.

  • Open the Apple menu in the upper-left corner and click on System Preferences.
  • Click on Apple ID if you’re using macOS Catalina (10.15) or later. If you’re using an older version of macOS, click iCloud instead.
  • On the left side, select Overview, and click on the Sign Out button at the bottom. Earlier versions of macOS should directly have the Sign Out button.
  • Next, sign out of your Apple Music account, or iTunes account if your MacBook Pro is running on macOS Mojave (version 10.14 or below).
  • Open the Music/iTunes app.

Apple Music Deauthorization

Apple Music Deauthorization

  • On the top menu bar, you should see the option for Account.
  • Open the drop-down menu, and click on Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
  • You’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID and password to confirm the same.
  • Finally, you should sign out of the Messages app.

Apple MacBook iMessage sign-outApple MacBook iMessage sign-out

  • Open the Messages app on your MacBook Air, click Messages on the top menu bar, and open Preferences.
  • Click on the iMessage tab and you should see the option to Sign Out next to your Apple ID.

Factory Reset

We can finally move on to factory resetting your MacBook Pro where all your data, apps, and settings will be removed.

  • Power up your MacBook Pro into recovery mode. This can be done by turning on your Mac, then immediately pressing and holding the Command (⌘) and R keys.
  • If asked, select a user you know the password for, then enter their administrator password.
  • From the utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.

apple macbook recovery disk eraseapple macbook recovery disk erase

  • Select Macintosh HD in the sidebar of Disk Utility and click the Erase button in the toolbar.
  • Select the disk format as APFS if you’re running macOS 10.13 High Sierra and later. It’s also better for newer SSD’s. If you have an older MacBook Pro, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • Click Erase Volume Group. If you don’t see this button, click Erase instead. After the erase is done, select any other internal volumes in the sidebar, then click the delete volume button in the toolbar to delete that volume.
  • Once you have erased your disks, quit Disk Utility and return to the utilities window.
  • Select Reinstall macOS in the utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.
  • Make you don’t close the lid while the OS is being installed.

Make sure you follow all the steps if you want to completely reset your MacBook Pro, especially if you’re planning to give away, trade or sell your current MacBook Pro for a newer model. Speaking of which, it’s expected that Apple will be launching a refresh for the 16 inch MacBook Pro and a new 14 inch model later this year powered by its own in-house Apple Silicon chipset.

Be sure to check out our recommendations for the best Macs as well as the best Apple products to buy for students, especially during back to school season. Not a fan of Apple’s ecosystem? Then check out some of the best laptops to buy in 2021.