macOS Monterey adds the ability to factory reset your Mac in just a few clicks without restarting in recovery mode. This is perfect if you’re selling or giving away your laptop, but it only works on Apple’s recent machines.
Apple Silicon or a T2 Chip Required
The feature is limited to most Mac computers released after 2017 which contain the T2 security chip, and newer machines that use ARM-based Apple Silicon chips like the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max.
Apple Silicon Mac models include:
- 2020 M1 MacBook Air
- 2020 M1 Mac Mini
- 2021 24-inch iMac
- 2020 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro
- 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro
Intel Mac models with a T2 chip include:
- MacBook Air (2018 and newer)
- MacBook Pro (2018 and newer)
- Mac mini (2018 and newer)
- iMac Pro (2017)
You can find out which Mac you have by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner and clicking “About This Mac”. If you have an Intel Mac you can click on “System Report” followed by “Controller” or “Bridge” to see if there’s a T2 chip inside.
You’ll also need to update your Mac to macOS Monterey or newer.
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How to Erase Your Mac and Reinstall macOS Quickly
Before you begin, make sure you have backed up your Mac using Time Machine or another backup solution of your choice.
This process will completely erase your Mac so that all of your personal files, preferences, and software are removed. You’ll need a user account with administrator privileges, and all other user accounts will be removed at the same time.
To get started, launch System Preferences.
At the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on System Preferences > Erase All Content and Settings.
Enter the password you use to unlock your Mac.
macOS will provide a summary of everything that will be removed from your Mac if you choose to proceed.
Now enter your Apple ID password to sign out of your Apple ID and disable Find My Mac.
You will be prompted one last time if you wish to proceed. Click “Erase All Content & Settings” to confirm.
Your Mac will begin the process, during which time it may restart multiple times. Let the process complete until you see the familiar “Hello” message that greeted you when you first turned your Mac on.
You can now sell or give your Mac away, or begin the process of migrating data back from your Time Machine backup. You can also choose to set the Mac up as a “new” computer.
RELATED: How to Sell Your Laptop, Phone, or Tablet for Top Dollar
Older Mac Models Must Use Recovery Mode
If you have an older Mac that lacks the T2 chip (many of which won’t be officially supported in macOS Monterey), you’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way instead by restarting your Mac in recovery mode.
You can also create a bootable USB drive with a version of macOS (or OS X) that is supported on your machine and reinstall the operating system that way instead.
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