After using a Mac for a while, all sorts of data is scattered around: pictures, videos, documents, and logged-in accounts. Any sensitive data you don’t want to share with others. So before you sell your Mac, it’s important that you back up everything and then delete it efficiently.
In this article, we list nine things you need to do before selling a Mac. These steps will help you make sure you don’t inadvertently give strangers access to your personal information.
1. Back up all your data
To avoid losing your data during the following steps, it is important that you create a backup.
If you’ve already done this manually (by saving files to another drive), we recommend doing it again, but using Time Machine. This built-in Mac software makes sure you don’t miss anything.
You can, of course, delete any unneeded backed up files later. See our complete guide on backing up data with Time Machine for step-by-step instructions.
2. Disable your Mac from Apple Music
Apple allows you to authorize up to five devices per Apple ID for your music app (formerly iTunes). Authorization essentially grants a device access to all content available in your Apple Music account.
If you sell your Mac without deauthorizing it, you have one less device for your account to authorize. In addition, the new owner of your Mac may be able to access all of your content.
To unauthorize your Mac, open your music app and from the menu bar go to Account> Authorizations> Unsubscribe this computer.
Then click OK when you see the following message: This computer has been successfully disabled.
Go back to the menu bar to Account> Log out to completely log out of your music account.
3. Sign out from iCloud and your Apple ID
If you’re using iCloud and everything has synced, log out of your account. To do this, go to System Preferences> Internet accounts, choose iCloud from the panel and clear all checkboxes. Then click min us Key at the bottom left to remove the account.
When you are done there, go to System Preferences> Apple ID> Overview> Logout.
Again, make sure you do an iCloud backup before logging out of these accounts.
4. Sign out from iMessage
Many users have synced iMessage with the Mac version apps. If you do this as well, log out properly so you don’t accidentally grant the new owner access.
To sign out:
Open iMessage and from the menu bar, go to Messages> Settings.
Make sure all your recent messages are synced to your iCloud before you sign out.
5. Unpair Bluetooth devices
If you’re selling your Mac to someone who is (or may frequently be) within Bluetooth range of your various devices, it’s better to remove them all first.
To do this, go to System Settings> Bluetooth and then click on X icon next to the devices you want to remove.
Click Remove on the pop-up and your Mac does not automatically reconnect to these devices.
6. Disable FileVault
FileVault encrypts all data on your drive to prevent hackers from accessing your data if they steal or access your Mac. While you usually want to leave FileVault turned on, turning it off will help the future owner do a fresh install on the Mac.
To do this, simply go to System Preferences> Security and Privacy> FileVault tab> Disable FileVault.
Turning off FileVault can take up to a few hours, depending on how much data you have stored on your drive.
7. Reset the firmware password and NVRAM
This section is only relevant if your Mac has an Intel processor (late 2020 models and earlier).
Resetting the firmware password
A firmware password means that people who don’t know the password can’t log in to your Mac using an external drive. To give the new owner access and reset NVRAM in the next step, it is important to reset the firmware password first.
- Restart your Mac. Press and hold on startup Command + R, until you see a loading screen.
- If a lock screen appears, enter your firmware password and continue.
- Now click on the menu bar Utilities> Startup Security Utility Or Firmware Password Utility.
- Click Turn off firmware and re-enter the password when prompted.
- Finally, close the utility and reboot from the Apple menu in the upper left corner.
Once your firmware password is removed, restart your Mac and immediately (press Choice (Old) + Command + P + R About 20 seconds long). If you’re using a Mac with a T2 security chip (see Apple’s list of T2 Macs), release the keys when the Apple logo disappears again. For all other Mac models, let go at the second startup sound.
8. Erase the drive and reinstall macOS
After performing all the above steps, your Mac is now ready to wipe the drive and reinstall macOS. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to reinstall macOS.
Related: A complete guide to macOS recovery: uses
9. Clean your Mac
Once all your data is backed up and fresh macOS is installed, a thorough cleaning will do the trick. Our guide to cleaning MacBooks will help you in detail.
If you still have your Mac’s original box and accessories with you, clean them as well and sell them along with your Mac. You can secure a better deal by making your Mac look more presentable!
Send your Mac to its new owner
Macs are complex devices with many features that need to be turned off before you sell them. After all the items on this list are done, your Mac is now ready to be handed over to its new owner.
If you’re selling a Mac, there’s a good chance you’ve already replaced it with a better one. Have you set it up yet? We recommend enabling features like hot corners, tweaking the Dock and menu bar, and scheduling backups to get the most out of your new computer.
If you’re the proud owner of a new Mac, here are all the steps you need to take to get the ultimate performance and productivity boost.
About the author
(4 articles published)
Hashir is a master content marketer who loves writing and managing tech blogs. He’s excited about adding value to the web. When he’s not working, you can meet him at the local boxing club or drink lemon malt on his rooftop.
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