[2023] How to Factory Reset MacBook Pro/Air [No Data Loss]

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Sarahi Johns
Last updated: May 16, 2023

Summary: From this blog, you will learn why you need to reset your MacBook Pro/Air and how to restore it to factory settings without losing data.

While using your MacBook, you may encounter various problems. Some of these problems can be easily fixed by restarting or resetting the SMC and PRAM. However, there are problems that are difficult to solve. In this case, you may need to reset your MacBook.

If you want to reset your MacBook to factory settings but don't know how to do it, read on this blog, and we will walk you through the detailed steps.

Let's get started.

How to Factory Reset MacBook Pro/Air [No Data Loss]

When to Reset Your MacBook Pro/Air

Here are some situations where you can consider performing a factory reset on your MacBook.

  • Your MacBook is acting weird.
  • There are issues with macOS updates.
  • Your MacBook performance is getting worse.
  • You want to wipe a lot of old data.
  • You are selling, trading in or giving away your MacBook.

Before Resetting Your MacBook (Important)

Resetting your MacBook will erase everything on your Mac. Nothing is more irritating than losing important data. It is recommended that you back up your MacBook before performing the reset steps. Time Machine and iCloud are the best options.

It is worth noting that the first backup is very time-consuming. It is crucial to delete unwanted files from your MacBook. If you don't want to do it manually, let BuhoCleaner do it for you. It is a simple and useful Mac cleaner that cleans up your Mac with one click.

Quickly Free up Space on Mac with BuhoCleaner

Now that you have backed up your device, let's see how to return it to factory settings.

How to Factory Reset a MacBook Running macOS Ventura or Monterey

Restoring your MacBook to its factory settings is a simple task if it supports the Erase All Content and Settings feature. So which MacBooks come with the Erase All Content and Settings feature?

According to Apple, the Erase All Content and Settings feature requires macOS Monterey or later and a Mac with the Apple silicon or Apple T2 Security Chip. To see which chip your MacBook uses, click the Apple logo in the left corner of your screen and select About This Mac.


Here's how to reset a MacBook running macOS Monterey or later:

  • macOS Ventura:

    1. Click the Apple menu > System Settings > General.
    2. Choose Transfer or Reset.
    3. Click the Erase All Content and Settings button.
    4. Enter your password, click Continue and confirm your action.
  • macOS Monterey:

    1. Click the Apple menu > 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 running macOS Big Sur or earlier, upgrade it to Montery or Ventura to use Erase All Content and Settings.

How to Factory Reset a MacBook Running macOS Big Sur or Earlier

If your MacBook doesn't have the Erase All Content and Settings option, follow the steps below to reset it in recovery mode.

Step #1. Sign out of Apps

It is necessary to sign out of apps that are in use, such as iTunes, iCloud, and iMessage.

1. How to Deauthorize 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 and later.

2. How to Sign out of iCloud

On macOS Catalina and Later:

  1. Click Apple menu > 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.

3. 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 signed-in apps, you can remove all data on your MacBook.

The tool you need is Disk Utility. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Start your MacBook in macOS Recovery mode: press the Command-R keys while booting your Mac and release them when you see an Apple logo or other image.

  2. Enter your administrator password as requested.

  3. From the macOS Utilities window, select Disk Utility and click the Continue button.

    Erase MacBook in Recovery Mode
  4. Select Macintosh HD in the sidebar of Disk Utility and click the Erase button in the toolbar.

    Delete Everything on Mac
  5. Click the Erase button in the new window. (If you see an Erase Volume Group button, click that button instead.)

  6. If asked, enter your Apple ID.

  7. Select any other internal volumes in the sidebar and click the delete (-) button in the toolbar.

  8. Close the Disk Utility window.

These steps apply only to Intel-based MacBooks. For MacBooks with Apple silicon, click here for details.

Step #3. Reinstall macOS

Now we have come to the final step – reinstalling macOS.

Here's what you need to do.

  1. Return to the macOS Utilities window, choose Reinstall macOS, and click the Continue button.
  2. Agree to the agreement, select your startup disk, and click the Install button.
  3. Once the installation process is complete, set up your MacBook according to your needs.
Make sure your Mac is connected to the internet and a power cord.

Bonus Tip: How to Restore Backup to MacBook

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

  1. Link the drive with the backup files saved to 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 All Content and Settings" feature. Nonetheless, if this convenient reset option is unavailable, the process becomes much more complicated.

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