Factory reset restores your MacBook or iMac to its original state (when you first purchased the device). There may be several reasons why you want or need to do this, such as the machine not working as well as it once did or planning to sell your laptop or desktop computer. Whatever the reason, there may come a time when resetting to factory settings is your best option.

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But how do you achieve such a feat? Is this something that only computer savvy people should try? Believe it or not, Apple has actually made this process quite painless – especially if you’re using macOS Monterey on M1-based hardware. I’ll show you how to do a factory reset of macOS Monterey with hardware based on Intel and M1 (Apple Silicon).

This process will delete all your data.

So if you have important files on your laptop or desktop computer, be sure to back them up to an external drive or cloud account first before proceeding with this process. That said, let’s recover.

Recover M1-based hardware

Apple has made it incredibly easy to rebuild the factory with macOS Monterey, which runs on M1-based devices. To do this, make sure your device is turned on (you don’t want to believe this on your battery), click the Apple button in the upper left corner of the screen, and then click System Preferences. Once system preferences are open, click the System Preferences menu in the top bar, and then click Delete all content and settings (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Screenshot of the Mac System Preferences menu

Perform factory reset of macOS Monterey from M1-based MacBook Pro.

You will be prompted to enter your user password and then click OK. The resulting pop-up window (Figure 2) Informs you about everything that will be done.

Figure 2

Screenshot of the menu for deleting all Mac content

Are you ready to delete everything from macOS?

If you are sure you want to continue, click Continue and the process will begin. Your device will reboot several times and will eventually appear on the familiar “Hello” screen, where you can then go through the setup process. Once you finish this, your device will be as clean as it was when you first bought it.

Recover Intel-based hardware

This process is not so easy because there is no GUI tool to take care of it for you. Instead, we have to do it the old-fashioned way. Here are the steps:

  1. If you plan to sell your device to Apple, you must first exit iCloud and iMessage. To sign out of iMessage, open the app, and then click Messaging> Preferences. Then switch to the iMessage tab and select Exit. For iCloud, open System Preferences, and then click Apple ID. Click the iCloud tab, and then click Exit.

  2. Restart your computer by clicking the Apple button, and then restarting.

  3. When the device reboots, hold down the Command and R keys.

  4. When the Apple logo appears, release the Command and R keys.

  5. You will be prompted to select a user with a password, and then click Next.

  6. Enter the user password.

  7. When the Recovery Mode menu appears, select Disk Utility.

  8. Select the Macintosh HD startup disc and select Delete.

  9. When the next pop-up window appears, make sure the format is set to APFS and click Delete again.

  10. When formatting is complete, click Finish.

  11. Click Disk Utility> Quit Disk Utility.

  12. Click Reinstall macOS Monterey, and then click Continue.

  13. Click Continue again.

  14. When prompted, agree to the EULA by clicking Agree.

  15. Click Agree again.

  16. Select Macintosh HD and click Continue.

  17. Allow the installation to complete (it may take two to four hours).

  18. When the installation is complete, you can go through the registration process as if the device had just been purchased.

Congratulations, your macOS device should be like new.


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