Part of this includes de-authorizing the computer in iTunes, removing any personalized login information, removing firmware passwords, and generally cutting off all connections to the cloud. But another important part is restoring factory settings.
So if anybody is planning on selling or gifting their Mac to someone else, they go the extra mile and take the time (really not much time at all) to wipe it first.
Factory settings: Erase your Mac
Take one last look around, and double check to make sure the Mac is currently connected to the Internet, preferably through a hard line connection. Erasing the hard drive is pretty simple, but users need a way to access factory settings once again when they are done. Users need Internet connectivity for the restoration process to work successfully on modern Macs. If they are erasing data on a MacBook of any kind, plug in the power adapter first, so there’s no danger of running out of battery power.
Now, they must go to the Apple menu (the one that has the Apple logo on it) and select the Restart option. They should wait patiently for their Mac to shut down and then begin the startup procedure. During the restart process, before moving onto the login screen, the computer will show a gray slate screen. This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes: Users should hold down both the Command key and the R key when they see gray.
This should pop them over to the MacOS Utilities, where they can make various important and potentially dangerous changes.
Users should select Disk Utility. Now, this process is going to be a little different based on what version of MacOS they are using, but users will want to look for their startup disk or other startup-related information. Select it and then click on the Erase tab. Next, head over to the Format option and set it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Again select Erase. This may take some time. Once finished, go to the Disk Utility menu and select Quit Disk Utility.
Factory settings: Reinstalling the OS
Now that the users have erased everything that made their Mac special, just like a mad brain scientist, but wiping their system is only half the way there to going back to factory settings. Once they have Igor quit out of Disk Utility, they should see an option to Reinstall their current MacOS. They should select that reinstall option, confirm that they really want to do it, and proceed. They may have to click through a few confirmations before the installation is ready to begin.
This is where users need to have their computer connected to the Internet. Apple keeps all the factory setting data on its own servers these days. With a net connection, the Mac can look for its original source material and download a new, off-the-assembly-line version of all its settings.
Note: This online download solution works only for the newer versions of MacOS. This shouldn’t be a problem with most of today’s Macs as long as the users are running something like Lion, Mountain Lion, or newer operating systems, which all download factory settings from the Web. But if they are working with Snow Leopard or an earlier version of MacOS software for whatever reason, these cannot reinstall online. Users will need the original MacOS installation disc that came with their computer, so get ready to dig it out if necessary.
Also, when users reinstall MacOS, they will see a setup assistant start with basic questions about region and so on. If they are selling or giving their Mac away, they will want to leave the setup assistant untouched. Instead, hold down the Command and Q keys, and they select Shut Down to turn the Mac off but leave the setup assistant waiting for next time.