A Fresh Start: Mastering the Art of Factory Resetting Your MacBook Pro

How to Factory Reset MacBook Pro: An In-Depth Guide

A factory reset is a process that restores your MacBook Pro to its default settings, deleting all your user information and reinstalling macOS. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of performing a factory reset on your MacBook Pro, from preparation to completion.

This might be necessary for a variety of reasons, such as selling or giving away your MacBook Pro, persistent issues, or simply starting fresh with your device's settings.

Preparing for a Factory Reset

Before diving into the factory reset process, there are a few essential steps to take in order to ensure a successful reset and avoid problems down the road.

Back up Important Data

Performing a factory reset will erase all your personal data and settings from your MacBook Pro. Before proceeding, make sure you've backed up all of the files and data you want to keep. This can be done using:

1. Time Machine: Back up your entire system through your 's built-in backup system.
2. Cloud Storage: Store your files on cloud services like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
3. External Storage Devices: Make a local backup using external hard drives, USB drives, or SD cards.

Sign out of Accounts

Next, you'll need to sign out of all accounts and services on your MacBook Pro to prevent issues during the reset process, including:

1. iCloud: Access System Preferences > iCloud > Sign Out.
2. iMessage: Open the Messages app, choose Preferences > iMessage > Sign Out.
3. iTunes, App Store, and other subscriptions or purchased content: Open iTunes, choose Account > Sign Out.

Gather Required Information

Before starting the reset process, compile the necessary information and resources, including:

1. Apple ID and password
2. macOS version and the installer file (if needed)

Connect to Wi-Fi

Finally, ensure that your MacBook Pro is connected to a Wi-Fi network during the factory reset process.

Enter Recovery Mode

To begin the reset process, you'll need to enter Recovery Mode on your MacBook Pro.

Shutdown and Restart

Shut down your MacBook Pro by choosing Apple > Shut Down. After it powers off, press the power button to restart the device.

Press and Hold Command and R Keys

As soon as you see the Apple logo, press and hold both the Command and R keys until the macOS Utilities window appears. This may take a few moments.

Erase the MacBook's Hard Drive

To remove all your personal data and settings, you'll need to erase your MacBook Pro's hard drive.

Select Disk Utility

In the macOS Utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.

Choose Your MacBook's Hard Drive

Next, choose your MacBook Pro's hard drive, usually named “Macintosh HD,” from the list of drives.

Click Erase and Configure Settings

Click on the Erase button, then configure the following settings:

1. Format: Choose APFS (for Mac's with High Sierra or above) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for older systems.
2. Scheme: Select GUID Partition Map.
3. Name: Enter “Macintosh HD” or your preferred name for the hard drive.

Once you've configured these settings, click on the Erase button to begin the process.

Exit Disk Utility

After the hard drive has been erased, exit Disk Utility to return to the macOS Utilities window.

Reinstall macOS

Now it's time to reinstall macOS, which will restore your MacBook Pro's operating system.

Select “Reinstall macOS” or “Install macOS”

In the macOS Utilities window, select either “Reinstall macOS” or “Install macOS,” depending on which option is available.

Click Continue

Click on the Continue button to begin the reinstallation process.

Choose the Hard Drive for Installation

Select the hard drive where you want to install macOS. This will typically be the same drive you just erased.

Follow the On-Screen Instructions

Complete the installation by following the on-screen instructions, including providing your Apple ID and password when prompted.

Wait for the Installation Process to Complete

A progress bar and estimated time remaining will be displayed as macOS is installed. This process may take a while, so be patient.

Setup the MacBook Pro (Optional)

After the reinstallation is complete, you can either set up your MacBook Pro as a new device or leave the setup process for the new owner.

Set Up as New Device

If you're planning to keep the MacBook Pro, follow these steps:

1. Choose your language, region, and Wi-Fi network.
2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
3. Set up Find My Mac.
4. Choose whether to restore from a backup or set up as a new device.
5. Adjust settings, such as location services, Siri, and Touch ID.

Leave for New Owner

If you're selling or giving away the MacBook Pro, stop at the “Welcome” screen during the setup process, allowing the new owner to complete the setup.


Performing a factory reset on your MacBook Pro is a straightforward process that restores the device to its default settings. By following this comprehensive guide, you'll ensure a successful and error-free reset. Remember to back up all essential data, sign out of accounts, and reinstall macOS to complete the process.


Is a factory reset the same as wiping the hard drive?

A factory reset includes erasing the hard drive, as well as reinstalling macOS and returning the MacBook Pro to its default settings.

Will a factory reset affect the contents of an external hard drive?

No, a factory reset will not affect data stored on an external hard drive or other storage devices.

How do I reinstall macOS after a factory reset?

After performing a factory reset, follow the steps in the “Reinstall macOS” section of this guide.

Will my MacBook Pro be slower after a factory reset?

No, a factory reset should not affect your MacBook Pro's performance. In fact, it may improve performance if the device previously had issues.

Will a factory reset remove malware?

A factory reset can help remove malware, but it is not a guaranteed solution. If you suspect malware, it's also worth considering using an anti-malware .

Do I need to reinstall all my applications after a factory reset?

Yes, a factory reset will remove all your applications, so you'll need to reinstall them after the reset.

Can I recover my data after performing a factory reset?

It is very difficult to recover data after a factory reset. This is why it's essential to back up any essential data before proceeding with the reset process.

Table of Contents

Tracy C.
Tracy C.

Hi! I'm Tracy and I am the owner of this little website. I build it as a resource center to troubleshoot common tech, hardware and software issues.

My mission with is to make tech less intimidating and more approachable for all. With easy-to-understand content, troubleshooting guides an how-to articles, I am committed to demystifying intricate tech problems and providing simple, easy-to-follow solutions.

Contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

All Posts