Reset Mac Laptop

Posted onby

Applies To: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro; iMac, iMac Pro

  • Erasing your Mac permanently deletes its files. If you want to restore your Mac to factory settings, such as to prepare it for a new owner, first learn what to do before you sell, give away, or trade in your Mac. Then erase your Mac as the final step.
  • Finding the setting to reset your BIOS will vary depending on your computer. On my HP desktop and laptop, the reset feature is under the File - Default Setup menu and is called Restore Factory.
  • The MAC address (Media Access Control address) is a unique identifier which is used to identify your computer in a network. Changing it can help you diagnose network issues, or just have a little fun with a silly name. See Step 1 below to learn how to change the MAC address of your network adapter in Windows.

Are you looking for a reliable and complete guide to factory reset Mac computer without losing any data? If yes, follow this page and you will go through a safe guide to manually reset Mac to factory settings with ease:

Workable SolutionsStep-by-step Troubleshooting
Part 1. Back Up MacUse backup software or Time Machine to back up important data on Mac in advance...Full steps
Part 2. Reset MacPrepare Mac ready by signing out of apps that are used or licensed > Reset Mac computer...Full steps
Part 3. Restore from BackupAfter resetting the Mac computer, restore Mac backup with Time Machine or backup software...Full steps

Resetting the SMC on a Mac Laptop Without Removable Batteries. Update: If you have a newer Mac with an Apple T2 Security Chip (found in many Macs released in 2018 or later), you’ll need to use a slightly different process to reset your Mac’s SMC. Mac computers are generally reliable. But as with any computer, sometimes things go wrong. Before you spend big on a new Mac, though, try a factory reset, which wipes your computer and reinstalls.

How to Factory Reset Mac Without Losing Data

Is your old Mac getting slower after installing the latest macOS Mojave? Have you ever thought about resetting your Mac such as MacBook Pro or iMac to the factory settings? Do you want to reset your Mac but keep the files on it? If your answer is 'Yes'. You are here at the right place for you will be presented the whole process of factory resetting your Mac without losing data. Follow to get things done.

Resetting Mac without losing data can be easily achieved by backing up the files on your Mac in advance and restoring the files after the resetting. To illustrate the process clearly:

Follow the guide below to reset your Mac to factory resettings without losing any data now.

Part 1: Back Up Your Mac to an External Storage Device

To avoid data loss due to factory resetting your Mac, you can make a backup of your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or other Macs to an external hard drive with Time Machine or EaseUS file backup software for Mac.

Time Machine is the built-in backup feature of your Mac. With this utility, you can make a backup of all your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files to an external storage device. While the versatile file backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup provides you with more flexible backup solutions. There are some advantages of the third-party backup tool over Time Machine:

  • Back up the files on your Mac to internal or external drives - Time Machine only supports the backup to external drives
  • Selectively back up the content on your Mac - With Time Machine, you have to make a backup of all the supported content
  • Save more space on the target device - You can compress the backup to free up space on your disk.

Based on these features, I recommend you choose EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac as your backup option, which is easier and more flexible. If you prefer Time Machine, jump to the corresponding guide here.


Option 1: Back Up the Mac with EaseUS Todo Backup

Step 1: Connect an external drive with enough space (larger than the files you'd like to back up) to your Mac, launch EaseUS Todo Backup. Click the plus icon in the bottom-left corner to add a new project. Enter the name of the project and click 'OK'.

Reset mac laptop to factory setting

Step 2: Set up the backup destination and other backup settings. After that, click 'OK'.

Step 3: Click 'File+' to choose the files you'd like to backup. Click the Start button to begin backing up the selected files on your Mac to another drive or an external storage device.

With simple three steps, you can back up your important files on your Mac elsewhere and eliminate your worries of losing the data while resetting your MacBook or iMac.


Option 2: Back Up the Mac with Time Machine

Step 1: Connect a usable external storage device to your Mac.

Reset Mac Laptop

Step 2: A window will pop up asking you how to use the drive. Select 'Use as Backup Disk'. If the window doesn't appear, go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Time Machine. Click Select Backup Disk and choose your external drive. (If the external hard drive shows up as 'Read Only' on your Mac or isn't formatted as required by Time Machine, you will need to reformat the disk.)

Step 3: Then Time Machine will back up your Mac automatically. Generally speaking, the first backup will take a long time. if Time Machine is stuck on preparing backup, check the fixed from the linked page.

After choosing one of the methods above to back up your Mac, now you can start resetting your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or other Macs.

Part 2: Reset the MacBook/iMac

Resetting a Mac is not a simple thing like resetting your iPhone. You need to make preparations and then perform the resetting.

Phase 1: Set Your Mac Ready for Factory Resetting

Before resetting and erasing your Mac, make sure to sign out of the apps that are used or licensed.

1. Deauthorize iTunes

Open iTunes on your Mac > Click 'Account' and choose 'Authorizations' > 'Deauthorize This Computer' > Enter your Apple ID and password, click 'Deauthorize'.

2. Turn off FileVault

Go to Apple menu, click 'System Preferences' > 'Security & Privacy', tick 'FileVault' > Click the lock icon and unlock it > Enter your Administrator account and password, Turn off FileVault.

3. Disable iCloud

Go to Apple menu, click 'System Preferences' > 'iCloud' > 'Sign Out' and confirm that you want to remove data from your Mac.

4. Sign out of iMessage

Open iMessage and click 'Messages' in the Menu bar > choose 'Preferences' from the drop-down menu > select your iMessage account and click 'Sign Out'.

5. Erase Touch Bar Data

Turn on or restart your Mac and hold 'Command + R' keys > 'Utilities' > 'Terminal' > Type: xartutil --erase-all and press 'Return' > Type: yes and press 'Return' again > 'Terminal' > 'Quit Terminal'.

Phase 2: Reset Your MacBook Pro/MacBook Air/iMac and More

Now, you can get to wiping and resetting your Mac.

Reset Mac Laptop To Factory Setting

Step 1: Reboot Mac in Recovery Mode

  • Go to Apple menu in the top left corner of your Mac screen and click 'Restart'.
  • As the system restart, hold 'Command and R' keys together to bring up the macOS Utilities window.

Reset Mac Laptop

Step 2: Erase Mac hard drive

Reset Mac Laptop
  • Choose 'Disk Utility' and click 'Continue'.
  • Select your startup disk which is usually named Macintosh HD and click 'Erase' from the buttons at the top of the Disk Utility window.
  • Choose 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled)' from the menu and click 'Erase'.

Step 3: Reinstall macOS on your Mac computer

  • Go to Disk Utility in the top left corner of your screen.
  • Click 'Reinstall macOS'.
  • Confirm that you want to reinstall macOS and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Now you've successfully reset your Mac to factory settings. You can restore files from the backup to your Mac and then continue using them again.

Part 3: Restore Files from the Backup

According to the backup scheme you choose in Part 1, carry out one of the methods below to get the files back to your Mac.

If you use EaseUS Todo Backup:

Step 1: Connect the external storage device that contains the backup to your Mac, then open EaseUS Todo Backup.

Step 2: Select the backup project you want to restore and click the 'Restore' button. (By default, the program selects the most recent backup in the menu. Make sure the correct backup is selected.)

Reset Mac Laptop Keyboard

Step 3: Select the files you want to restore from your external hard drive (use Cmd + Shift keys for bulk selection).

Step 4: Choose whether to restore to the original or to a custom folder.

Step 5: Click the 'Restore All' or 'Restore Selected' button to start the recovery process.

If you use Time Machine:

Step 1: Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your computer and turn on your Mac.

Reset Mac Laptop To Factory Settings

Step 2: Go to 'Finder' > 'Applications' > 'Utilities' > 'Migration Assistant' and click 'Continue'.

Step 3: In the Migration Assistant window, choose 'From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk' and click 'Continue'.

Step 4: Select your Time Machine backup and click 'Continue'.

Step 5: Choose the backup you made in Part 1 from the list of available backups.

Step 6: Select the category/categories to transfer and click 'Continue'. Then wait for the process to finish.

When your Mac starts acting up, you’ll probably run through some common troubleshooting procedures, such as restarting it, running Disk Utility, and perhaps performing a Safe Boot. Your repair repertoire should also include a couple of additional procedures that can occasionally eliminate otherwise inscrutable problems—zapping the NVRAM and resetting the SMC.

Zap the NVRAM (or PRAM)

Back in the day, the standard list of quick fixes for random Mac ailments always included “zap the PRAM.” The P in PRAM stood for parameter (the RAM was just RAM—random access memory), and it referred to a small amount of special, battery-backed memory in every Mac that stored information the computer needed before it loaded the operating system. If the values in this memory got out of whack for one reason or another, your Mac might not start up correctly, or might exhibit any of numerous odd behaviors afterward. So you could press a key sequence at startup to reset (or “zap”) the PRAM, returning it to default, factory values.

Modern Macs no longer use PRAM; they instead use something called NVRAM (NV for non-volatile). NVRAM serves approximately the same purpose as PRAM, but instead of storing a dozen or more pieces of information, it now contains just a few: your selected startup disk, speaker volume, screen resolution, time zone, and—if your Mac has crashed recently—details of the last kernel panic.

NVRAM corruption is fairly uncommon, but if your Mac seems to take forever to figure out which disk to boot from, if it starts up with the wrong screen resolution, or if you have weird audio problems (like there’s no sound whatsoever, or the menu bar’s volume control is grayed out), it doesn’t hurt to reset the NVRAM—it’s quick and harmless.

To reset your NVRAM, you use exactly the same procedure you once used to reset PRAM.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the power button, and as soon as you power up the laptop, hold down Command-Option-P-R.
  3. Keep holding down those keys for about 20 seconds. Then let go and allow your Mac to continue starting normally. If you have an older Mac that chimes at boot, hold down the keys until you hear a second startup chime.
  4. Then check the Startup Disk, Display, and Date & Time panes of System Preferences to make sure they’re set the way you want them.

If you hold down Command-Option-P-R at startup and you see nothing but a gray screen that doesn’t change for several minutes—no Apple logo, no progress bar, no second startup chime—don’t panic. The most likely cause is that your Mac isn’t registering the key presses due to wonkiness with a USB device. Disconnect all USB devices (except your keyboard, if it’s a wired keyboard), hold the power button down until the Mac shuts off completely, and then press it again and immediately hold down Command-Option-P-R.

How Do You Reset Mac Laptop

If that doesn’t work and you’re using an external Bluetooth keyboard, try plugging in a USB keyboard instead. If you’re able to reset the NVRAM successfully with the wired keyboard, you can disconnect it and go back to your normal Bluetooth keyboard.

Reset the SMC

Yet another component of your Mac’s hardware that stores crucial settings is the System Management Controller (SMC), a circuit that deals with power management, temperature monitoring and fan control, status lights, keyboard backlights, and a few other components. If your SMC becomes confused, you could experience problems like excessive fan noise, slow performance even though Activity Monitor doesn’t show the CPU being overtaxed, apps that take forever to launch, batteries that don’t charge correctly, problems with sleep or wake, and so on. (You can see a longer list on this Apple support page.) As with zapping the NVRAM, resetting the SMC to factory defaults may resolve these problems.

Apple says you shouldn’t reset the SMC without first trying other troubleshooting tasks, such as force-quitting problematic apps and restarting your Mac. However, Apple doesn’t mention any negative consequences of resetting the SMC, nor any way to determine for sure if the SMC is glitchy without resetting it and noticing that the problem went away. I’ve reset my Macs’ SMCs many times with no apparent ill effects, and on occasion that did in fact turn out to be the solution to a problem.

Before you can reset your SMC, you must shut down your Mac. After that, the procedure varies depending on the type of Mac you have.

Reset Mac Laptop Before Selling

  • Desktop Macs: Disconnect the power cord (either from the Mac or from the AC outlet). Wait 15 seconds and plug it back in. Then wait another 5 seconds and turn the Mac back on.
  • Laptops with the T2 chip: Shut down. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, then release it. After a few seconds, press the power button to turn on your Mac.

If this doesn’t reset the SMC, shut down. On the laptop keyboard, press and hold Control-Option-Shift (your Mac might turn on). Hold these keys for 7 seconds, then press and hold the power button. If your Mac is on, it will turn off while you hold down the keys for another 7 seconds. Then release the keys, wait a few seconds and turn on the laptop.

  • Laptops (no T2 chip) with non-removable batteries: Shut down and unplug your Mac. On the built-in keyboard, press and hold the Shift, Option, and Control keys on the left side and press the power button and hold all of these down for 10 seconds, then release the keys. Connect the power adapter and then turn the Mac on normally.
  • Laptops (no T2 chip) with removable batteries: Shut down your Mac. Disconnect the power cord and remove the battery. Press the power button, hold it for 5 seconds, and then let go. Put the battery back in, reconnect the power cord, and turn the Mac on normally.

Reset Mac Pro Laptop

Although neither of these procedures is a guaranteed cure, both of them can solve a number of odd problems, and are worth a few minutes of your time before hauling your Mac in to see the local Apple Genius.