[Step-By-Step] How to Factory Reset Your MacBook Air or Pro

Wendy Wu
Last updated: May 27, 2024

In this article, you will learn how to reset your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to its original factory settings, step by step. Whether your Mac is running macOS Sonoma, Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, or High Sierra, and whether it has an Intel chip or an M-series chip, we've got you covered.

Are you facing sluggish performance, software glitches, or privacy concerns on your trusty MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? Over time, it's not uncommon for these issues to accumulate, and a factory reset might be the key to rejuvenating your Mac and starting afresh.

In this guide, we'll take you through the steps to perform a factory reset on your MacBook, breathing new life into it while ensuring your valuable data remains safe. Whether you're preparing to sell your Mac, troubleshoot persistent problems, or simply want a clean slate, we've got you covered.

Let's get started.

[Step-By-Step] How to Factory Reset Your MacBook Air or Pro

Does a Factory Reset Delete Everything on MacBook?

Yes, performing a factory reset on your MacBook deletes all data and settings from it. To avoid data loss, make sure you have backed up your MacBook using Time Machine, iCloud, or a third-party backup software.

If this is your first time creating a backup for your Mac, you can use BuhoCleaner to clear unwanted files from your Mac beforehand. This can save you a significant amount of backup time later.

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Now that you have backed up your MacBook, let's proceed with the steps to restore it to factory settings. Two methods will be introduced. Keep reading!

Method 1. How to Factory Reset Your MacBook Using "Erase Assistant"

Erase Assistant is a a tool that automatically erases and resets your MacBook to factory settings.

To be able to use this tool, ensure that the following requirements are met. Otherwise, you will receive a message "Erase Assistant Is Not Supported on Your Mac".

  • Your MacBook is running macOS Monterey or later.
  • Your MacBook is with Apple silcon or with the Apple T2 Security Chip.
Click the Apple logo > About This Mac to see what your macOS and chip is.
Use Erase Assistant to Reset MacBook

Once you've confirmed that your MacBook is supported, follow these steps to factory reset it:

  • On macOS Sonoma and Ventura:

    1. Click the Apple menu and select "System Settings > General".
    2. Choose "Transfer or Reset", then click the "Erase All Content and Settings" button.
    3. When asked, enter your administrator password and continue.
    4. Follow the onscreen instructions to factory reset your MacBook.
Erase All Content and Settings on macOS Sonoma
  • On macOS Montery:

    1. Click the Apple menu and select "System Preferences".
    2. From the System Preferences menu in the menu bar, choose "Erase All Content and Settings".
    3. Enter your password, click "Continue", and confirm your action.
If you have a MacBook with a T2 chip but are running macOS Big Sur or an earlier version, you'll need to upgrade to Monterey or Ventura to be able to use the "Erase All Content and Settings" feature.
  1. When you see the message "Your Mac is activated", click the "Restart" option. After your Mac restarts, you can set it up as a new device.
Your Mac Is Activated

How to Factory Reset MacBook Using "macOS Recovery"

If the "Erase Assitant" tool is not available on your MacBook, you can still restore your Mac to factory settings using macOS Recovery mode. Follow the steps below:

Step #1. Sign Out of Apps

It's essential to sign out of apps that are currently in use, such as iTunes, iCloud, and iMessage, before proceeding with the factory reset.

How to Sign Out of iTunes

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click "Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer".
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password, then click the "Deauthorize" button.
You can skip this step if you are using macOS Catalina or a later version.

How to Sign Out of iCloud

  • On macOS Big Sur and Catalina:

    1. Click the Apple menu and select "System Preferences > Apple ID".
    2. In the Apple ID window, click the "Sign Out" button and confirm your action.
  • On macOS Mojave and Earlier:

    Click the Apple menu > "System Preferences > iCloud > Sign Out".

How to Sign Out from iMessage

  1. Open the iMessage app.
  2. Click the iMessage menu and choose "Preferences".
  3. Click iMessage, then click "Sign Out".

Step #2. Erase MacBook in Recovery Mode

Once you have signed out of all the apps with active sessions, you can proceed to delete all data from your MacBook.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. Start your Mac in Recovery Mode: Press the "Command-R" keys while booting your Mac and release them when you see an Apple logo or other image appear.
  3. In the macOS Utilities window, choose "Disk Utility", and click the "Continue" button.
  4. Select "Macintosh HD" in the Disk Utility's sidebar.
  5. Click the “Erase” button in the toolbar of Disk Utility.
  6. Choose your format: "APFS" or "Mac OS Extended", then click "Erase".
Erase MacBook with Disk Utility in macOS Recovery Mode
  1. When the erase process is complete, quit Disk Utility to go back to the macOS Utilities window.

Step #3. Reinstall macOS

Now, we've reached the final step – reinstalling macOS.

Here's what you need to do.

  1. Choose "Reinstall macOS", and click the "Continue" button.
Reinstall macOS in Recovery Mode
  1. Agree to the agreement, select your startup disk, and click the "Install" button.
  2. Once the installation process is complete, set up your MacBook according to your needs.
Ensure that your Mac is connected to the internet and plugged into a power source.

Bonus Tip: How to Restore Your Backup to MacBook

If you need to restore your backup to your MacBook, follow the steps below:

  1. Plug the drive with the backup files saved into your MacBook.
  2. Launch Migration Assistant via Spotlight.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to transfer your information from Time Machine and click the Continue button.
  4. Choose the backup you want to restore and click Continue. Once the restoring process is complete, you are ready to use your MacBook.
Restore Backup to Mac


As you can see, resetting your MacBook becomes effortless if it supports the "Erase Assistant" feature. However, if this convenient reset option is unavailable, the process becomes more complicated.

Regardless of the method you choose, it is crucial to back up your Mac before resetting it to prevent any data loss.

Wendy Wu is a tech enthusiast with a deep passion for all things iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Wendy is always on the lookout for Apple products and is committed to providing Apple users with some of the latest information and useful tips.