Back to the “Used Mac Buying Guide

Avoid the potential issue below by buying from these high quality sources:

Purchasing a used Mac can be a smart way to get a quality device at a reduced cost. Once you’ve got your hands on your pre-loved machine, you’ll want to make it feel like yours by performing a factory reset. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

1. Back Up Data (If Necessary)

If the seller hasn’t done so already, make sure any important data on the Mac is backed up. This is essential if there’s any valuable data that needs to be preserved, as the factory reset process will erase all data on the machine.

2. Disconnect All External Devices

Before you begin, disconnect all external devices such as hard drives, printers, or displays. This will prevent any possible interference with the reset process.

3. Connect to the Internet

Ensure your Mac is connected to a stable internet connection, as you will need internet access to reinstall macOS.

4. Reboot in Recovery Mode

To reboot your Mac in Recovery Mode, restart the Mac and immediately press and hold the Command (⌘) and R keys together until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.

5. Erase the Hard Drive

From the utilities window in Recovery Mode, select Disk Utility and click Continue. Choose your startup disk (typically named “Macintosh HD”) from the sidebar and click Erase. Set the format to APFS (or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for older systems that don’t support APFS) and then click Erase. Once the process is complete, exit Disk Utility to return to the Recovery Mode utilities window.

6. Reinstall macOS

In the Recovery Mode utilities window, select Reinstall macOS and click Continue. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the operating system. This process can take some time, as your Mac will download and install a clean copy of macOS from Apple’s servers.

7. Set Up Your Mac

Once the reinstall is complete, your Mac will restart. You’ll then see the welcome screen you’d see when starting a Mac for the first time. Here, you can set up your user account, adjust settings, and start installing your preferred software.


By following these steps, you can factory reset your used Mac and start fresh, turning a pre-owned device into your own personalized machine. Remember, the factory reset process will erase all data on the Mac, so ensure any important data is backed up before you start. A factory reset ensures you’re not inheriting any issues from the previous user and provides a clean slate to begin your Mac journey.