How to get your Macbook, iMac or Mac mini ready to sell

Sooner or later, every Mac owner is faced with the situation of having to part with their trusty assistant to move on: buy a more powerful machine or change platforms. In this article, we’ll talk about the smart pre-sale preparation that needs to be done to keep your data safe and prevent a future owner of your Mac from gaining access to your personal information stored on it.

How can I save my data before selling my Mac?

First of all, you have to make a backup of all your data. There are actually three options:

1. External drive mode

If you bought a second Mac and have a Thunderbolt (USB-C) cable, the fastest way is to copy all your data directly by connecting the two computers. For this, you need to set your Mac to external drive mode. You can read more about this procedure here.

2. Time Machine

If you have an external drive, the ideal solution is to make a backup of your system. You can do it with the native Time Machine utility. Connect the external drive, format it in HFS format, and specify that it is your Time Machine backup. All you have to do is select the folders you want to back up (the same movies or music that you can watch or listen to online) and wait for the procedure to complete.

3. Manual data copy

The most complex process, but no less reliable. You can send important data to a relatively small flash drive or download it to cloud storage. For only 59 rubles a month you can get 50 GB of disk space in iCloud. You can read all of Apple’s cloud storage plans in this material.

It is very important that the client cannot access personal or sensitive information. This can be not only the data on the drive, but also the program authorized under your account. For example, when I bought my MacBook Pro, the former owner completely formatted the drive and reinstalled the OS (more on that later), but authorized Viber and did not log out of the account.

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How to sign out of iCloud accounts, iTunes, iMessage and other apps?

If for some reason you don’t want to bother reformatting or reinstalling your system (for example, you’re going to give your computer away to relatives and you want to keep all important and useful programs on it), close all important services.

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How can I sign out of iCloud?

1. Open the menu → “System Settings“.

2. Select the “iCloud” item.

3. Turn off the “Find Mac” feature (you will need to enter your Apple ID password) and click the “Sign Out” button.

How can I quit iTunes on my Mac?

1. Launch iTunes.

2. Go to the “Account” menu on the top bar and click on “Log out…”.

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How to quit iMessage?

1. Launch iMessage.

2. Go to the menu «Messages» → «Settings«.

3. Open the “Accounts” tab.

4. In the menu on the left, select your account and in the main menu, press “Sign out”.

Similarly, disable all apps that might contain personal information.

How to format hard drive on Mac, reinstall macOS or restore factory settings?

The quickest way would be to completely reinstall macOS with disk formatting (revert to factory settings). This process is described in great detail in this article.

WARNING You’ll need an active internet connection to reinstall macOS.