How to Factory Reset Mac Catalina

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

If you’re experiencing issues with your Mac running Catalina and you’ve tried all troubleshooting steps to no avail, a factory reset may be the next best solution. Resetting your Mac to its factory settings can help resolve software conflicts, performance problems, and other persistent issues. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of factory resetting your Mac running Catalina.

Back Up Your Data

Before proceeding with a factory reset, it’s important to back up all your important data. This will ensure that you don’t lose any files during the reset process. You can use an external hard drive or cloud storage services like iCloud or Dropbox for this purpose.

Step 1: Restart Your Mac

To initiate the factory reset process, start by restarting your Mac. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and select “Restart”. Alternatively, you can press the power button and choose “Restart” from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Enter Recovery Mode

Once your Mac restarts, hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys simultaneously until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe. This will boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.


If Command (⌘) + R doesn’t work for entering Recovery Mode, try using Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + R instead.

Step 3: Choose Disk Utility

In Recovery Mode, navigate to “Disk Utility” and click on it. This utility allows you to manage your disks and partitions.

Step 4: Erase Your Disk

Within Disk Utility, select your Mac’s main hard drive or SSD from the sidebar. It’s usually named “Macintosh HD” or similar. Click on the “Erase” button at the top of the window.


Make sure you have selected the correct disk before proceeding with the erase, as this action cannot be undone.

Step 5: Choose File System Format

In the erase dialog box, you’ll be prompted to choose a file system format for your disk. The default option is APFS (Apple File System), which is recommended for most users. However, if you’re planning to use an older version of macOS after the factory reset, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) instead.

Step 6: Erase Your Disk

Confirm your selection and click on the “Erase” button. This will erase all data on your selected disk and format it with the chosen file system format.

Step 7: Reinstall macOS

After erasing your disk, close Disk Utility and select “Reinstall macOS” from the Recovery Mode menu. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall macOS Catalina on your freshly formatted disk.


This process requires an active internet connection as it will download a fresh copy of macOS Catalina from Apple’s servers.

Step 8: Restore Your Data

Once macOS Catalina is reinstalled, you can restore your data from the backup you created earlier. Connect your external hard drive or sign in to your cloud storage service and transfer your files back to your Mac.


In this tutorial, we’ve walked you through the step-by-step process of factory resetting your Mac running Catalina. Remember to always back up your data before performing a factory reset to avoid losing important files. With a fresh installation of macOS Catalina, you can now enjoy a clean and optimized operating system on your Mac.

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