Reset A Mac Desktop

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Summary: This article will teach you how to restore or reset a Mac to the factory settings and back up important data before you factory reset your MacBook Pro or any Mac.

  1. Reset Mac Desktop Icons
  2. How To Factory Reset A Mac Desktop
  3. 6 Ways To Factory Reset A Mac Desktop
  4. Factory Reset A Mac Desktop
  5. How To Hard Reset A Mac Desktop
  6. Reset Mac Desktop Forgot Password

The Automated Password Reset tool can help reset it in QuickBooks Desktop. The Automated Password tool is not compatible with QuickBooks Desktop 2020 or newer. When using the tool with those company files, it directs you to reset your password for QuickBooks Desktop instead. Reset your Mac login password. Sometimes a login password needs to be reset—for example, if you have forgotten the login password and can’t use a password hint to remember it. When a user’s login password is reset, a new default keychain is created to store the user’s passwords. Your Mac not working well? Step-by-step to restore or reset Mac to factory settings or wipe MacBook Pro/Air when you are going to sell, give away, donate it.

For reasons, you need to factory reset your Mac and fix some problems when it's not working properly, increasingly slow, overheating, or MacBook not turnning on.

Moreover, Mac factory resetting wipes data on the Mac hard drive to protect your personal information before you sell, give away, or trade it.

Factory resetting a Mac desktop (iMac or iMac Pro) or Mac laptop (MacBook Air or MacBook Pro) is a big decision since it erases all your files. So, it's important to fully understand what happens if you reset a MacBook Pro (or other Mac) to factory settings.

This post lets you know what you need to do before resetting a Mac, how to do a hard reset or refresh the Mac without losing data.

In detail, Mac factory resetting involves three parts:

  • 1. Back up or recover your files on Mac hard drive
  • 2. Wipe your personal information and erase the Macintosh HD
  • 3. Reinstall macOS

About Mac Factory Reset: What You Should Know

Resetting a device can be very beneficial and useful in the following situations:

  • Repair of a malfunctioning device with software problems and operating system errors.
  • Removal of a virus or a file which is very hard to remove.
  • Clearing storage space on computer hard drives or memories of other digital devices.
  • Removal of all user data on the device before selling, donating, giving away or trading in it.
  • Removal of all user data on the second-hand device before you become the new user.

But before taking advantage of device resetting, most people get stuck in a problem: 'Should I do a hard reset or a factory reset?'

Factory Reset VS. Hard Reset

You may have heard of factory reset and hard reset and want to if they have any difference. Actutally, the factory reset, hard reset, hardware reset, and master reset, literally mean the similar thing.

But for some electronic devices like laptop and desktop computers, Android phones, iPhones and tablets, factory reset is an option on your device while a hard reset is a physical button accomplished by a combination of power, volume, home or other buttons.

Either a factory reset or hard reset will restore the device to the state when it left the factory and delete all your personal data on it.

What about resetting a Mac?

There is no physical hard reset buttons on Mac. To reset MacBook Pro and any other Macs, you need to reformat the startup disk and then reinstall macOS on the Mac.

It means all data on the startup will be deleted and wiped out, including email accounts, apps, contacts, personal files, third-party programs, all preferences and user data associated with the operating system.

Therefore, think twice before you are going to perform a factory reset because you can't undo it once factory reset is done.

If you have made up your mind, check the following guide and factory reset your Mac desktop, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air without losing data.

Necessary things before factory resetting MacBook Pro or any Mac

As mentioned above, it is critical for you to be well-prepared before you proceed to reset your Mac.

Here is a must-do checklist for you to prepare your Mac for factory reset.

1. Create a data backup

It is essential for you to have an up-to-date backup of your important files and data before you reset a Mac.

Don't restore the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro or Mac mini to factory settings before you get important files off your Mac.

If your Mac can boot up, back up your Mac with Time Machine.

If your can't boot up, recover files from Mac that won't turn on with data recovery software.

2. Sign out of iTunes (for macOS Mojave or earlier)

You can use your iTunes account on 5 different devices at most in macOS Mojave or earlier. When resetting a Mac to factory settings, it is a necessary practice to deauthorize iTunes to prevent future iTunes connection issues.

  • 1. Open iTunes app.
  • 2. Click on 'iTunes' at the top menu bar.
  • 3. Go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
  • 4. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  • 5. Click on 'Deauthorize'.

3. Sign out of iCloud

Before you factory reset your Mac to sell or give away, be sure to sign out of your Apple ID on that Mac. When you do, your documents and data stored in iCloud are removed from your Mac. And certain features such as Find My Mac will stop interacting with this Mac.

Without disabling iCloud, sometimes the new user of the Mac might have trouble signing in with his iCloud account later.

To sign out of iCloud before factory resetting your Mac:

In macOS 10.15 Catalina, 11 Big Sur, or later, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Apple ID. Select Overview in the sidebar, then click Sign Out.

In macOS 10.14 Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Sign Out.

Note: You can click Keep a Copy when asked since you'll erase your Mac later. Your iCloud data remains in iCloud and on any other devices that are signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

4. Sign out of iMessage (For Mac OS X Mountain Lion or later)

If you have set up sending and receiving iMessage on the Mac before, sign out of iMessage before resetting the Mac in case somebody else access your iMessage chats.

  • 1. Open Messages app.
  • 2. Click on 'Message' at the top menu bar and choose 'Preferences'.
  • 3. Click 'iMessages' at the toolbar to find your iMessage account and click 'Sign out'.

5. Unpair Bluetooth devices (Optional if you will keep the Mac)

The keyboard, mouse, music players, speakers, headphones, etc. can be connected to the Mac wirelessly through Bluetooth. If you are going to keep those devices but send away your Mac, you'd better unpair them in case the new user will be very close to you, such as your neighbor or your roommate.

  • 1. Go to Apple icon > System Preferences… > Bluetooth.
  • 2. Click 'Turn off Bluetooth' or Click the 'X' button beside the paired device to remove it.
  • 3. Click 'Remove' when a dialog pops up.

Tips: If you are unpairing devices like the mouse or the keyboard on a Mac desktop, you will need a wired mouse or keyboard to finish the following steps.

6. Reset NVRAM

Resetting NVRAM of your Mac will clear your settings from memory and restore certain security features that might have been altered by you before.

To do this, shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. Release the keys after about 20 seconds.

Reset Mac Desktop Icons

7. Turn off FileVault

FileVault is a handy built-in feature that Mac computer has to prevent unauthorized access to the Mac hard drive. Users can enable FileVault to protect their important and sensitive data from being changed by non-administrators.

  • 1. Go to Apple icon > System Preferences… > Security & Privacy.
  • 2. Click 'FileVault' and click the lock icon to unlock it.
  • 3. Enter the administrator name and password.
  • 4. Choose 'Turn off FileVault'.

8. Erase Touch Bar data (For 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro 2016 and later)

Touch Bar is currently available only on some MacBook Pro. If you want to factory reset a MacBook Pro, clean the leftover personal data of Touch Bar before you pass on the MacBook Pro to another user.

  • 1. Click on Apple icon at the top left corner of menu bar, choose 'Restart' and hold down key combination Command + R immediately.
  • 2. Release the keys until you see the Apple logo.
  • 3. Click on 'Utilities' at the top menu bar and select 'Terminal'.
  • 4. Type in 'xartutil --erase-all' and hit 'Return'.
  • 5. Type 'yes' to erase Touch Bar data and hit 'Return' one more time.
  • 6. Click on 'Terminal' on the top menu bar and quit.

So far, you have disabled some features/services and backed up your data, and let's embark on restoring your Mac to its factory settings.

Reset smc mac desktop

9. Reset login password (If you can't log in)

Account password may be required when you wipe Macintosh HD and reinstall macOS in macOS Recovery Mode. If you have forgotten the password for all user accounts, you can reset your login password before you can access and reset the Mac.

Wipe the Mac and restore it to factory settings

The instructions to reset in this post apply only to Mac computers with an Intel processor.

How to Reset Apple Silicon M1 Mac?

The steps to reset Apple Silicon M1 Mac are a little different from older Macs. Check to know how to reset M1 MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Air. Read more >>

Here is a step-by-step guide to factory reset Intel MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, or Mac mini.

Before performing the Mac factory reset, there are four things you need to take into account:

  1. Make sure the Mac computer is connected to the Internet.
  2. Connect power to the Mac laptop, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in the whole process.
  3. Print this tutorial out or open it on your phone for reading while operating.

Step 1: Restart the Mac in macOS Recovery mode

To reset the Mac, all steps will be performed in macOS Recovery mode.

Check the instructions below to see how to restart the Mac in macOS Recovery:

  • 1. Click on Apple icon at the left top corner of menu bar, choose 'Restart' and hold down key combination Command + R immediately.
  • 2. Let go of the keys until you see the Apple logo.
  • 3. Wait for the Mac to restart in macOS Recovery mode (The screen is different if you use macOS Big Sur).

You won't see the login window as usual when you restart the Mac. Instead, you will see macOS Utilities window in macOS Recovery mode.

Note: If you can't reboot the Mac into macOS Recovery mode with the keys Command + R, try to restart the Mac again and hold down Command + Option + R or Shift + Command + Option + R immediately until you see a spinning globe.

Step 2: Erase the Mac hard drive

Then you need to erase the Mac hard disk first to get rid of all data on it in macOS Recovery mode.

  • 1. Choose 'Disk Utility' and click on 'Continue'.
  • 2. Choose the startup disk at the sidebar to wipe all system and personal data.
  • If you can't see the startup disk, click 'View' on the top menu and choose 'Show All Devices'.
  • 3. Click on 'Erase' at the toolbar in the Disk Utility window.
  • 4. Give the startup disk a name and reformat it.

If you are using a Mac running macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave or High Sierra, reformat the disk into APFS.

If you are using a Mac running macOS Sierra or earlier, reformat it into HFS+ (Mac OS Extended).

  • 5. Click on 'Erase' button.
  • 6. Click 'Done'.
  • 7. Go to the Disk Utility menu at the top to quit Disk Utility.

So far, your data on the startup disk has been deleted. But to make sure your Mac is able to turn on after factory resetting, you need to reinstall macOS.

Step 3: Reinstall macOS

After the startup disk is cleaned up and formatted, you can perform a clean install of macOS in the same macOS Utilities window now.

• How to reinstall macOS on your Mac?

If you are going to pass on the Mac to another user, your mission is completed by now. You don't need to restore data to this Mac, because the new user of this Mac will set up the Mac as he or she likes. What you need to do is to turn off the Mac when you are asked to set up the Mac.

How to restore files to Mac after factory resetting?

Now you have reset your Mac to its factory settings. If you are going to use this Mac by yourself, then you probably need to restore files to this fresh Mac. Keep reading to learn how to migrate files from the backup you made a while ago.

Solution 1: If you created a backup with Time Machine

If you have backuped your Mac with Time machine, you'll be able to restore photos, documents, files, software, settings and more after resetting your Mac.

• How to restore Mac with Time Machine backups?

Solution 2: If you create a backup by copying files manually

The way to restore files to the Mac is very plain in this situation. You just do the reverse - copy the files on the external drive or cloud storage and paste them back to the Mac.

After the files are transferred to the Mac, you will be back to your life rituals with a better performing Mac without any data loss.


How To Factory Reset A Mac Desktop

It is recommended that you reset your Mac before the Mac goes to another hand. In addition,Mac factory resetting solves the problems on your MacBook Pro, iMac or other Macs.

If you don't want to lose any data during resetting the Mac, do remember to back up your important files first. It is of vital importance to recover lost data after system restore.

For many reasons you may want to reset your Mac to factory settings. You may have bought a new Mac and want to give the old one to friends, or sell the second-hand Mac. Perhaps your Mac is getting slower and slower, for there are a lot of cache, cookies, files on it.

So, there is a need to wipe your Mac and make it look like a new one. If you are looking for methods to wipe a Mac to make it run faster, you can find answers in this article. We are going to share 2 solutions to reset your Mac to factory settings. Just be patient to read on.

How to Wipe a MacHow to reset a mac desktop computer

Part 1. Things You Need to Do Before Wiping a Mac

Backup before Wiping your Mac

Before erasing your Mac, you need to make sure that you have backed up some important data on your Mac hard drive. You can use the built-in feature to complete Mac backup, and what you need is an external storage device connected to Mac.

Step 1Choose Apple menu > System Preference, and click Time Machine.

Step 2Click Select Backup Disk option and choose the disk to create a backup. You can also select 'Back Up Automatically' to back up your Mac automatically.

Step 3After selecting the external hard drive from the list, you can select 'Encrypted backups' and click Use Disk.

Since you have backed up Mac, you can restore files from the Time Machine backup whenever you wiped your Mac.

6 Ways To Factory Reset A Mac Desktop

Sign out of iMessages, iCloud, iTunes

If you are no longer using the Mac, you should sign out of everything that have licensed by you. You can sign out of iMessages, iCloud, iTunes, and more. This will prevent the new Mac owner use your license to download and use your personal information.

To sign out of iMessages, you need to open Messages on your Mac. Click Messages > Preferences, and select your iMessage account to sign out.

For iTunes logging out, you should open iTunes on your Mac first. Then click Account in the Menu bar and click Sign Out.

If you want to sign out of iCloud, you can click Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Sign Out. Then iCloud contacts, calendars, photos, mails, etc. will be removed from your Mac.

Part 2. How to Permanently Wipe a Mac with Desktop Tool

Back to the point, if you want to clear your Mac hard drive thoroughly, the third-party software will help you a lot. What's more, it will save hours of time spent on it. What you need is to choose a powerful cleaning tool such as Apeaksoft Mac Cleaner. As the powerful Mac cleaning and managing tool, Mac Cleaner can help you wipe any junk files, old or large files, mails, photos, uninstall seldom-used apps and more. This program also helps you monitor system performance and keep your Mac in good status.

4,000,000+ Downloads

Wipe any junk files, large or old files, clutter, cache, shred files, etc.

Protect the privacy and clean worthless files on hard drive with one click.

Monitor battery status, CPU usage, memory usage and disk utilization.

Compatible with iMac, iMac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air/Pro, Mac mini, etc.

How to clear your Mac hard drive with Mac Cleaner

Step 1Download Mac Cleaner

Free Download Mac Cleaner by clicking the download button. Install and launch it on your MacBook. If you want to view your Mac performance, you can click 'Status' to check system status.

Step 2Choose file to clean

Click 'Cleaner' and choose one from System Junk, iPhoto Junk, Email Junk, Similar Photo, iTunes Junk, Trash bin, Large & Old Files, and Duplicate Finder.

Step 3View File before cleaning

After scanning by clicking 'Scan' button, you can click 'View' button to preview the scanned files.

Step 4Check and delete file

Check the item you want to delete, and click 'Clean' button. Then confirm your deletion in the pop-up window.

Mac Cleaner also enables you to uninstall apps on Mac. You can click 'Toolkit' > 'Uninstall' to complete. Besides, you can explore more functions in Mac Cleaner, such as optimizing Mac performance, protecting privacy, managing files, unarchiving files, and testing Wi-Fi.


Part 3. Restore Mac to Factory Settings with Built-in Feature

Factory Reset A Mac Desktop

Since you have made up your mind to erase everything on your Mac, you can use the built-in feature on Mac. Disk Utility organizes and manages all your data on internal disks and external storage devices. Follow the steps below to restore your Mac to factory settings with Disk Utility.

Step 1Click Apple icon on the top menu bar and choose Restart... from the drop-down list.

How To Hard Reset A Mac Desktop

Step 2Then, a pop-up window will show up to notice you restart your Mac. Click Restart to confirm the option.

Reset Mac Desktop Forgot Password

Step 3After booting up, you can hold the CMD + R keys at the same time. After releasing them, you can see macOS Utilities will appear.

Step 4Select Disk Utility and click Continue. After that, you can select the disk you want to Erase in the sidebar.

Step 5Click Format and pick one from the drop-down list.

Part 4. Reinstall macOS after Wiping Mac as New One

Follow the above steps in Part 3, and open macOS Utilities. Find and click Reinstall macOS and click Continue. Then, choose the disk and begin installation. During the installation process, Mac may reboot for many times and last for a few minutes.

If you are giving this Mac away or selling it, you can Command-Q to exit the assistant and shut down your Mac.


We mainly introduced two methods to wipe a Mac in details. You can follow the steps to complete the whole wiping process without losing any data on your Mac. You can use Disk Utility, the built-in feature on Mac. Or you can choose the powerful cleaning tool Mac Cleaner to fulfill. What's more, Mac Cleaner can well clean and manage your files. You can delete cache, cookies, trash, and other useless apps on Mac, as to maintain Mac performance. If you have any better solutions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.