MacBook

How to erase your MacBook before selling it

Ready to sell your MacBook? Here’s how to securely erase all of your data (and back it up ready to use on your next computer!).


Create a backup

There’s nothing worse than deleting something important and realising you haven’t made a backup. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple ways to backup your Mac’s data.

Time Machine

Time Machine is Apple’s built-in backup solution. To set it up, simply connect an external storage device; a prompt from Time Machine asking whether you want to use it for backups should appear automatically. If it doesn’t, follow these simple steps.

Click the Apple icon, then System Preferences, then Time Machine.
Click Select Backup Disk.
Select the device you want to use then click Use Disk.

Once set up, all of your Mac data will back up automatically to your external storage device.

Backup on iCloud

To backup your Mac to iCloud, go to System Preferences and open iCloud. You may need to sign in at this point. If not, select the types of files you want to store on iCloud.

You can also back up to iCloud by opening the iCloud Drive folder then dragging and dropping any files you want to keep.

Be aware that iCloud only offers 5GB of free storage, which isn’t a lot in this day and age. If you want to back up all of the files on your Mac, the chances are you’ll need to pay for extra storage.

Backup on Google Drive

Google’s cloud storage service offers 15GB of free storage as standard, so you can effectively backup 20GB of files for free between iCloud and Google Drive.

To backup your files to Google Drive, download the Backup and Sync tool then select the folders you want to upload.


Sign out of iTunes

Avoid people seeing your embarrassing iTunes purchases (that N*SYNC album isn’t mine, I swear) by signing out of iTunes. It’s easy: go to Account > Authorizations then click Deauthorize This Computer. Enter your Apple ID, click Deauthorize and all of your guilty pleasures stay secret for a few years longer!


Sign out of iCloud

Make sure you’ve backed up all of your data to iCloud (if you want to) before taking this step. This one is super simple:

Click the menu button

Go to System Preferences

Click iCloud

Click ‘Sign Out’


Sign out of iMessage

If you’re the type to freak out when someone else has your phone, this is possibly the most important step in the whole process.

Again, signing out of iMessage is really easy:

Open the Messages app

Select Messages then Preferences

Click Account

Select ‘iMessage’ then click Sign Out


Erase your hard drive

Now for the important part; erasing your actual hard drive.

To start the process, restart your Mac in Recovery Mode by holding down Command and the R key during restart.

A grey menu will open. Take these steps:

Select Disk Utility and click Continue.

Select the disk you’d like to erase and click the ‘Erase’ button.

Enter a name for the disk if it doesn’t have one. The rest of the settings are auto-configured so you won’t need to change them.

Click Erase.

When the MacBook restarts, press Command and Q to shut down the Mac.


Your MacBook should now be free of any personal data and ready to sell!

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Start Selling

Follow these steps to erase your MacBook!

  1. Create a Backup
  2. Sign out of iTunes
  3. Sign out of iCloud
  4. Sign out of iMessage
  5. Erase your hard drive

Featured Image by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash