How to Factory Reset M1 Mac (MacBook Pro, Air, iMac, Mac mini)
Do you have an M1 Mac that you’d like to factory reset as if it were brand new? The process of factory resetting the M1 Mac line to restore the Mac to factory defaults – basically erasing all data and reinstalling a blank macOS – is different with the M1 Mac line, including M1 MacBook Pro, M1 Mac mini, M1 iMac, and M1 MacBook Air, so let’s review how the process works.
First, a quick summary for the unfamiliar; A factory reset or a reset to factory settings involves erasing all the contents stored on your Mac – all files, data, and the OS itself – and restoring it to factory settings. If you’re switching from Windows, it’s similar to how you would perform a clean installation of Windows on a computer. Likewise, in this case, we’re basically just wiping the Mac and reinstalling macOS from scratch. This is essentially reformatting the Mac and then reinstalling MacOS, a process which is often necessary for users transferring ownership of a Mac, sending the computer in for repair, or for troubleshooting purposes.
It doesn’t really matter whether you own the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or Mac Mini, as the resetting to factory settings procedure remains identical on all M1 Macs.
How to Factory Reset M1 Mac to Wipe & Reinstall macOS
Before you go ahead with the steps mentioned below, make sure you back up the Mac and all the important files and data you want to keep as they will be permanently erased during the factory restoration. Without a backup, you will not be able to get those files back. Once everything’s complete, you’ll have nothing but the stock version of the operating system that shipped with your Mac, as if the Mac were brand new.
- Entering recovery mode is different on Apple silicon Macs. You need to shut down your Mac and then hold down the Touch ID/power button until you see “Loading startup options”. Now, choosing “Options” will take you to macOS Utilities. Here, select “Disk Utility” and click on “Continue” to get started.
- Next, select the hard drive where macOS is currently installed from the left pane, typically “Macintosh HD”, and click on the “Erase” option located at the top of the window.
- Next, select the drive format as “APFS” and click on “Erase Volume Group” (or “Erase” if that is not available).
- This will initiate the drive wipe. It may take a few seconds to complete. Click “Done” to continue.
- Now, go back to the macOS Utilities screen, select “Install macOS” and click on “Continue”. You’ll be prompted to select the drive where you want to install macOS. Make the selection and click on “Install” to begin installing the factory version of macOS.
That’s all you need to do to perform a factory reset. At this point, you just need to patiently wait for the installation process to complete which could take a while. After the factory reset, you’ll need to go through the initial set-up screen like it’s a brand new Mac.
Resolving the “No users available for authorization” Error Message when Installing MacOS
Some users may run into a “no users available for authorization” error message when trying to reinstall macOS on an Apple Silicon ARM Mac. This usually happens when only part of the hard disk was erased, and not the Data component. This is why you should choose to “Erase Volume Group” in the above instructions, if that is available.
One way to resolve this is to go back to Recovery Mode > Disk Utility, then select “Macintosh HD – Data” (or name of drive – Data), and click to Erase the Data portion. Quit Disk Utility and you will probably see a screen about activating the Mac, so go through that.
When complete, you can choose “Reinstall macOS” from the Utilities window within Recovery Mode.
What version of macOS gets reinstalled in a factory reset?
You will be installing the macOS version that shipped with your M1 Mac from the factory by following this method.
If you want to install a newer version of macOS after erasing the Mac, you can do so by updating macOS when the installation has completed.
Alternatively, you can also create a bootable macOS installer USB drive with the version you wish to use. Once the drive is connected, you’ll need to reboot the Mac and hold down the OPTION key to enter the boot menu.
For those wondering, the initial drive wipe before installing macOS is what makes this a factory reset. However, if your intention is not to lose any data in the process, you can simply reinstall macOS on your system from the macOS Recovery menu without formatting the drive. In addition to this, macOS Utilities menu can also be used to restore your M1 Mac from a Time Machine backup, which could come in handy if you want to downgrade to an older macOS version.
Did you successfully factory reset your M1 Mac to default settings? Did you run into any issues or problems? Let us know your experiences, suggestions, tips, and thoughts in the comments.