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Wiping Your Mac Hard Drive – Technipages

How do I wipe my Mac hard drive before selling it? This is one of the most frequently asked Mac questions. You might not know whether or not you should format your hard drive and install another OS version. If you have your MacBook and you’re thinking of giving it away or disposing of, follow the simple steps below.

Sign out of Your Mac

Before disposing of your old Mac, the first thing to do is sign out of any accounts and clear any personal data. You don’t want to sell your computer when you’re still logged into your iCloud account. You would be risking your privacy and security.

Follow the steps below to install the operating system (macOS) into your computer. This is necessary to ensure that the new owner doesn’t have difficulties starting in recovery mode. If you are in the process of erasing your hard drive, here are some essential tips to help you out.

Identify the Drive in Your Computer

Before starting, you need to find out the type of drive in your computer. This could either be the Solid-State SATA Drive (SSD) or SATA Disk (HDD). To find out, click on the Apple menu and then click on “About this Mac.” Select storage to see the type of drive in your computer.


Backup Your Mac

Before you start cleaning up, you need to move all your essential data from your hard drive elsewhere. To start, you can use OS X’s Time backup machine software.

With the data secured, either in the cloud storage or a hard drive backup, your data is safe. Once you’ve completed the data backup, it’s now time to get to work.

 How to Wipe Your Hard Drive

  1. First, turn off your computer.
  2. Hold down the power button, followed by the R and Command keys.
  3. Wait till the Apple logo emerges.
  4. From the X utility list, opt for “Disk Utility” and click continue.
  5. Click on the type of disk you would like to erase in the sidebar, then tap on the Erase button.
  6. Click on Security Options to determine how much of your hard drive to delete, then click Ok.
  7. To begin, click on the Erase button.

mac-keyboard-power-highlightedmac-keyboard-command-highlighteddisk utility highlighted

Once you’ve executed the process, your hard drive will be deleted of any data and ready for the next undertaking; this may involve a fresh OS X installation, disposal to a waste facility, or donating to a local charity facility.

Note that the more effective method you pick, the longer the process will take. More secure methods add time to the process.

Of course, there are other options of clearing your hard drive, such as smashing with a hammer or drilling a hole through it. Still, now you know a more secure method to erase data from your old computer.

The above steps apply to HDDs. What can you do with an SSD?

Safely Erasing SSDs

Other Macs models have Solid-State Drives (SSDs). If your Mac includes an SSD, the Disk Utility software, Apple won’t let you entirely wipe the hard drive. With an SSD drive, you can’t safely erase your data. A standard erase will make it difficult to recover data from the SSD.

Another reason is that it can lead to rapture on the memory cells, affecting its reliability over time. If “standard erase” doesn’t satisfy you, there is another option to consider:

Using FileVault

One of the most effective ways to make sure your data is secure is to use FileVault. With FileVault in place, you’ll require a password to access your hard drive’s information. Otherwise, your data will be encrypted.

However, one drawback of using FileVault is that you can kiss your data goodbye if you lose the encryption key or password. Your chances of recovering your data are almost zero.

With FileVault on, you can set your computer to its recovery setup. Hold both the command and R keys, erasing your hard drive using the Disk Utility after you’ve unlocked. This gets rid of the FileVault key, meaning that any data on the drive is worthless.

mac-keyboard-command-highlighteddisk utility highlighted

Although FileVault doesn’t impact modern Macs, it is useful for SSD Mac and not on the hard disk drive computers.

Bottom Line

Having grasped the secure ways of erasing your Mac’s hard drive, you can settle on any method which suits you as per your requirements. If, at any instance, you lose important files, consider using Recoverit to help you recover data from an erased hard drive.

This post was written by Mona and was first posted to Technipages

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