4 Steps to Reset MacBook Air/Pro Without Losing Data

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Sarahi Johns
Apr 14, 20226 min read

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 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.

4 Steps to Reset MacBook Air/Pro Without Losing Data

Why You Need to Reset MacBook

First things first, ask yourself if it is necessary to reset your MacBook. Here are some situations where you can consider performing a factory reset.

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

How to Factory Reset MacBook Air/Pro Without Losing Data

Now that you know why you need to reset your MacBook, let's see how to do it.

Restoring your laptop to factory settings is not difficult at all. The main steps include backing up your Mac, signing out of apps, deleting all your data, and reinstalling macOS.

Let's take a deeper look at these steps.

Step 1. Back Up MacBook

Basically, resetting MacBook will erase everything on your Mac. Nothing is more irritating than losing important data. It is recommended that you back up your Mac before performing the reset steps.

Speaking of backing up Mac, we have to mention Time Machine, which is a backup tool built into your Mac.

To create your first backup, connect an external drive to your Mac, launch Time Machine, and then select the drive you inserted to store your backup files. Note that if you have files on your external drive, you may be asked to factory it first. For more details, see How to Back up Your Mac with or without Time Machine.

Back Up Mac with Time Machine

One other thing you should be aware of is that the first backup is time-consuming. We highly recommend you to use BuhoCleaner to delete unwanted files and applications to reduce the backup file size and backup time. BuhoCleaner is one of the best Mac cleaning software. It can clean up your Mac in a few clicks. Click the button below to try it out now.

Step 2. 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.
Sign out of iCloud

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 3. Erase MacBook

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 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 Mac with Disk Utility
  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 4. Reinstall macOS

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

Here's what you need to do.

  1. In 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.
Reinstall macOS
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 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


That's all about how to reset MacBook without losing data. Are you ready to do a factory reset for your MacBook? Please don't forget to back up your Mac first.

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