XDA Basics: How to factory reset a MacBook Air
Whether you are planning to upgrade to a new machine by selling or trading your current device, or just want to pass it on to a family or friend, it’s recommended you do a complete factory reset of your MacBook. Not only does this process ensure your data is safe and doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, a factory reset can also help you fix any performance issues by resetting all of the settings.
Today we’re going to explain how you can completely reset your MacBook Air to a brand new state. Users with a MacBook Air running the latest macOS Big Sur all the way through macOS X Yosemite (10.10) should be able to reset their laptop via the following guide.
Create a backup
The first step is to create a complete backup of your MacBook Air that will include all your personal data, including apps, music, photos, email, and documents. You can create a backup using Time Machine, the built-in backup feature of your Mac. All you need is an external storage device compatible with macOS and enough storage to back up all your data.
- Connect the external storage device to your MacBook
- Open Time Machine preferences from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar — Apple menu > System Preferences > Time Machine.
- Select the external storage device and click on Encrypt backups and Use Disk.
- After you select a backup disk, Time Machine should immediately begin making a backup.
- To start a backup manually, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar. Use the same menu to check the status of a backup or skip a backup in progress.
Sign out of iCloud and other services
Once you have successfully created a backup, it’s time to sign out of all services such as iTunes, iCloud, and iMessage. This is a necessary step especially if you are planning to sell your MacBook Air.
- Open the Apple menu in the upper-left corner and click on System Preferences.
- Click on Apple ID if you are using macOS Catalina (10.15) or later. If you’re using an older version of macOS, click iCloud instead.
- On the left side, select Overview, and click on the Sign Out button at the bottom. Earlier versions of macOS should directly have the Sign Out button.
- Next, sign out of your Apple Music account, or iTunes account if your MacBook Air is running on macOS Mojave (version 10.14 or below). Open the Music/iTunes app.
- On the top menu bar, you should see the option for Account.
- Open the drop-down menu, and click on Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
- You will be asked to enter your Apple ID and password to confirm the same.
- Finally, you should sign out of the Messages app.
- Open the Messages app on your MacBook Air, click Messages from the top menu bar, and open Preferences.
- Click on the iMessage tab and you should see the option to Sign Out next to your Apple ID.
We can finally move on to the factory reset process of your MacBook Air where all your data, apps, and settings will be removed.
- Power up your MacBook Air into recovery mode. This can be done by turning on your Mac, then immediately pressing and holding the Command (⌘) and R keys.
- If asked, select a user you know the password for, then enter their administrator password.
- From the utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
- Select Macintosh HD in the sidebar of Disk Utility and click the Erase button in the toolbar.
- Select the disk format as APFS if you’re running macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later. It’s also better for newer SSD’s. If you have an older MacBook Air select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
- Click Erase Volume Group. If you don’t see this button, click Erase instead. After the erase is done, select any other internal volumes in the sidebar, then click the delete volume button in the toolbar to delete that volume.
- Once you have erased your disks, quit Disk Utility and return to the utilities window.
- Select Reinstall macOS in the utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.
- Make you don’t close the lid while the OS is being installed.
If you’re planning to upgrade to a new Apple PC, here are some of the best Macs you can buy. We also have a dedicated list of the best Apple products for students and the best laptops to buy in 2021, in case you want to switch over to a new platform.