How to Factory Reset Mac (MacOS Sonoma & Ventura)

May 16, 2024 - 5 Comments

How to factory reset a Mac

If you are going to sell, return, or give away a Mac, you almost certainly want to factory reset the computer first. Performing a factory reset on a Mac will erase all data on the Mac, and return it to a clean slate as if the computer were brand new, without any data or personal files on the computer at all.

Erasing a Mac and returning it to factory defaults has never been easier, thanks to the addition of a “Erase All Content & Settings” feature introduced in newer versions of MacOS system software. Gone are the days where you had to manually erase and then reinstall system software, now you can simply let MacOS handle the task for you by choosing to erase and factory reset the Mac through a handy built-in feature.

Read along and you’ll be erasing all data on a Mac and it will be factory reset in no time.

The approach we are covering here is available in MacOS Sonoma, MacOS Ventura, and newer only.

How to Factory Reset Mac with MacOS Sonoma & MacOS Ventura

Be sure to back up the Mac with Time Machine first. Proceeding will erase all data, files, and information from the computer.

Warning: This will erase all data on the Mac. Do not proceed unless you have backups of your data. Failure to backup will result in permanent data loss.

  1. Pull down the  Apple menu and go to “System Settings”
  2. Go to “General”
  3. Choose “Transfer or Reset”
  4. Factory resetting a Mac begins in System Settings

  5. Click on “Erase All Content and Settings”
  6. How to factory reset a Mac

  7. Confirm that you want to erase everything, log out of your Apple ID, and remove all data from the Mac by clicking “Continue”
  8. How to factory reset a Mac

  9. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process

When the Mac has finished factory resetting and erasing everything, a freshly installed version of the current version of MacOS will boot into the typical “Hello” screen. Assuming you’re going to be gifting this Mac, selling it, transferring it, or whatever, you probably do not want to set it up yourself, instead let the recipient handle it.

What about factory resetting a Mac with macOS Monterey?

This same factory reset feature also exists in macOS Monterey, but it is accessed slightly differently on those Macs. To factory reset a macOS Monterey Mac, go to the  Apple menu > System Preferences > System Preferences menu > Erase All Content And Settings. Be sure to backup all data beforehand, as usual.

This is a very convenient set of features and is much more user friendly and easier to initiate than the older other method which involves erasing the hard drive, then manually reinstalling MacOS, which is the approach necessary for MacOS Big Sur, MacOS Monterey, and all earlier versions of MacOS and Mac OS X.

If you’re coming to the Mac from the world of iPhone or iPad, you may be aware that a built-in function to factory reset the iPhone has been included in iOS and iPadOS for a long time, which behaves in a similar manner as this ability on the Mac.

Have you used the factory reset feature to “Erase All Content & Settings” on a Mac? What do you think of this feature? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Expo Bill says:

    IF someone is selling their Mac, mini, I or book, why do they need a backup….
    since they are most likely switching…
    maybe just using an iPad ONLY
    since they replaced computers now,
    or perhaps they are wanting to start using a PC now like an HP, Dell, Lenovo etc?

    just wondering why that suggestion or demand to
    “back up” alway appears?

  2. Matt says:

    The reseting on Monterey info appears to be incorrect. There is no “Erase all content and settings” available in the system preferences menu.

    • Daniel says:

      Its “Transfer or Reset” THEN “Erase all Content and Settings”, as is shows in the article.

    • Daniel says:

      Its “Transfer or Reset” THEN “Erase all Content and Settings”, as it shows in the instructions for Ventura and Sonoma.

  3. Daniel says:

    You can also right-click the system settings icon, and select “transfer or reset”. Its a minor difference, but right-clicking the Icon gives you an alphabetized list rather than needing to navigate through categories and sub-menus to perform what should be simple tasks.

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