How to Wipe Your MacBook Data

Protect your accounts, credit cards, personal photos, and other data by erasing your MacBook data before you sell it. You can wipe all your data in these four easy steps.

STEP 1: Backup your MacBook There are four ways to backup your MacBook:

  • Time Machine backup
  • iCloud backup
  • Transfer files to an external drive
  • Transfer your files and settings to a new Mac with Migration Assistant
No matter which MacBook backup method you use, double-check that the backup was successful before moving on to the next step.

Time Machine backup
Set up Time Machine (you’ll need external storage), then browse to the Time Machine menu and select “Backup Now.” When the backup is complete, you can connect your external storage to a new Mac to transfer your files. Time Machine lets you choose which files to restore; or, you can restore your entire system from Time Machine backups.

iCloud backup
Set up iCloud. The process is automatic, so you’ll need to wait for iCloud to sync before you can move on to the next step. Once you have an iCloud backup, it’s a good idea to sync the files to another device running iCloud to ensure no errors occurred.

Transfer files to another device
Connect an external device (such as your new MacBook or an external hard drive), then use the Finder to locate and move the files you want to keep. You can use this method to transfer files, but not to restore your entire system (as you can with Time Machine).

Migration Assistant
Use Migration Assistant to transfer your documents, apps, accounts, and settings to a new Mac. Pair the two with a cable or via WiFi, open Migration Assistant, and follow the prompts. NOTE: If you’re running on macOS Sierra or a later version, your computers must be near each other with WiFi turned on. If you’re running on OS X El Capitan or earlier, both computers must be connected to the same WiFi network.
STEP 2: Log out of Apple services Sign out of all Apple services on the MacBook you’re selling to prevent future users from gaining access to your Apple account.

STEP 3: Erase your MacBook data Erasing your MacBook data requires a hard drive reformat and macOS reinstall. Here’s how to do it.

1. Restart your MacBook, then press and hold Command + R to launch Recovery Mode
2. Select Disk Utility
3. Select your startup disk and click Erase
4. Erase using Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format
5. Select Disk Utility and click Quit Disk Utility
STEP 4: Reinstall Mac OS

1. Launch Recovery Mode (restart, then press Command + R)
2. Select “Reinstall macOS”
3. Your operating system will be installed; when installation completes, press CMD + Q and select “Shut Down”
Thinking about selling your MacBook? This handy guide helps you determine your MacBook value.

Where to sell your MacBook

Flipsy Trust Verified Stores Buying The MacBook

The following Trust Verified Stores provide cash quotes for your MacBook. Let them know your serial number (found on the back cover), condition and any included items. You’ll get a quote delivered to your inbox in about 24 hours.

Be sure to describe your MacBook’s condition to get the most accurate price. Some of the stores have winnowers or serial number look ups to find your value but many have incomplete serial number databases, so while they may buy your Mac they won’t show a price. By contacting them with your serial number they can do the look up to provide the most accurate quote.

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