How to Wipe a Mac Hard Drive

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of wiping a Mac hard drive. Whether you are planning to sell your Mac, give it away, or simply want to start fresh, securely erasing your data is essential to protect your privacy and prevent any potential data breaches. Follow the steps below to ensure that your Mac hard drive is wiped clean and all sensitive information is permanently removed.

Step 1: Backup Your Data

Before wiping your Mac hard drive, it is crucial to backup all important data. This ensures that you don’t lose any valuable files or documents during the process. There are several ways to backup your data on a Mac:

  • Use Time Machine: Connect an external hard drive and set up Time Machine to automatically backup your files.
  • Use iCloud: If you have enough storage space on iCloud, you can backup important files using iCloud Drive.
  • Manually Copy Files: Simply copy and paste important files onto an external storage device like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive.

Step 2: Sign Out of Your Accounts

Before proceeding with wiping the hard drive, make sure to sign out of all accounts associated with the Mac. This includes iCloud, iTunes, App Store, and any other services linked to your Apple ID. To sign out:

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select “Apple ID” and click on “Overview” in the sidebar.
  3. Click on “Sign Out” and follow the prompts to sign out of all services.

Step 3: Restart in Recovery Mode

To wipe your Mac hard drive, you need to restart your Mac in Recovery Mode. Follow the steps below:

  1. Shut down your Mac by selecting “Shut Down” from the Apple menu.
  2. Press and hold the Command (⌘) + R keys on your keyboard.
  3. Continue holding the keys until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.

Step 4: Erase the Hard Drive

Once you are in Recovery Mode, follow these steps to erase your Mac hard drive:

  1. Select “Disk Utility” and click on “Continue”.
  2. In Disk Utility, select your Mac’s hard drive from the sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Erase” button at the top of the Disk Utility window.
  4. Choose a name for your hard drive and select a format (usually “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”).
  5. Click on “Erase” and confirm your action when prompted.

Step 5: Reinstall macOS

After erasing your hard drive, you need to reinstall macOS to ensure that your Mac is ready for its new owner. Follow these steps:

  1. Close Disk Utility to go back to the macOS Utilities window.
  2. Select “Reinstall macOS” and click on “Continue”.
  3. Follow the prompts to reinstall macOS. This may take some time, so be patient.

Step 6: Restore Your Data

Once macOS is reinstalled, you can restore your backed-up data onto your Mac. Simply follow the instructions provided by the backup method you used in Step 1.


By following these steps, you can securely wipe your Mac hard drive and ensure that all your personal data is permanently removed. Remember to backup your data before proceeding with the wipe, sign out of all accounts, and reinstall macOS to prepare your Mac for its new owner.

Take the necessary precautions to protect your privacy and prevent any potential data breaches.

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