Complete Guide to Factory Resetting Your iMac: When and How

Factory resetting an iMac is a critical process that involves restoring the hardware to its original system state by erasing all the data and settings from the device. This process removes all personal files, applications, and user configurations, essentially returning the software environment to its setup as when it was first unboxed. The necessity for such a reset can arise in various scenarios, such as preparing the device for a new owner, troubleshooting complex software issues, or simply wishing to start fresh with a clean slate for enhanced performance.

When to Factory Reset Your iMac

Selling or Upgrading

One of the most common reasons to factory reset an iMac is when preparing to sell it or after purchasing a used one. Resetting ensures that all personal data is completely erased, safeguarding your privacy. For sellers, this step is critical to prevent the new owner from accessing personal files, applications, and sensitive information. Similarly, buyers of used iMacs should perform a factory reset to start with a clean system free from any residual data from the previous owner. This not only protects personal information but also provides a fresh start with the device.

Performance Issues

Over time, iMacs can experience a decline in performance due to cluttered hard drives, numerous installed applications, and possibly corrupted files. A factory reset can solve these issues by completely wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system, which often results in faster operation and more responsive software performance. This is particularly useful for resolving problems that defy simpler troubleshooting methods, such as persistent slowdowns, frequent crashes, or software glitches.

Software Complications

Factory resetting can also be a necessary step after problematic updates or software installations. Sometimes, system updates or new software can cause unexpected issues, including system instability, application conflicts, or startup problems. Resetting the iMac to its factory state can undo these complications by removing the problematic updates or software. It's a drastic but effective way to revert the system to a stable state when all other troubleshooting efforts have failed.

In each scenario, the goal is to ensure that the iMac runs efficiently and remains secure. Factory resetting is a powerful tool that, when used appropriately, can enhance the user experience by providing a stable and clean environment for the operating system to run.

Additional Considerations for Factory Resetting Your iMac


Before proceeding with a factory reset, it is crucial to back up your data. This ensures that all your important documents, photos, applications, and settings are safely stored and can be restored if needed. Utilize Time Machine, Apple's integrated backup solution, to back up your files to an external drive. Alternatively, consider cloud storage solutions like iCloud or other third-party services to secure your data online. Ensuring you have a reliable backup allows you to restore your iMac to your previous state without losing personal data.

Internet Connection

A stable internet connection is essential during the factory reset process, especially if you need to reinstall macOS. During reinstallation, the latest version of macOS is often downloaded from Apple’s servers, which can be a large file requiring a stable and fast internet connection. Interruptions in your internet connection can halt the download and installation process, potentially leaving your iMac in an unusable state until the process can be successfully completed.

Power Supply

Keep your iMac plugged into a power source throughout the entire reset process. This is crucial because the process can take a significant amount of time, depending on your model and the tasks involved, such as erasing the hard drive and reinstalling macOS. Power interruptions can corrupt the installation process, leading to further complications that might require more technical resolutions.

How to Factory Reset Your iMac

Factory resetting your iMac involves restoring the software to its original state and removing all personal data, settings, and installed applications. This process is crucial for maintaining privacy and system performance, especially before transferring the device to a new owner. Prior to initiating a reset, it is essential to back up all important data. You can use Time Machine or a cloud storage service to ensure no valuable files are lost, as the reset process will erase everything on the hard drive.

For macOS Monterey and Later with Apple Silicon or T2 Chip: Apple has simplified the process of wiping your iMac if it is equipped with macOS Monterey or later, along with Apple Silicon or an Apple T2 Security Chip. This includes models like the iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021) and newer versions equipped with Apple Silicon, as well as earlier models such as the iMac Pro and certain versions of the iMac (27-inch, Late 2020) that include the Apple T2 Security Chip. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the 'Erase All Content and Settings' option, which provides a quick and secure way to reset your iMac:

Start the Process:

  • Click on the Apple menu () at the top left corner of your screen.
  • Select 'System Preferences' from the dropdown menu.

Access the Reset Function:

  • In System Preferences, click on 'System Settings' if you're using macOS Ventura or later, or stay in 'System Preferences' for macOS Monterey.
  • Navigate to 'General' and select 'Transfer or Reset'.

Erase All Content and Settings:

  • Click on 'Erase All Content and Settings'. You might be asked to enter your administrator password and confirm your intent to erase all data.

Complete the Erase Process:

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed. This will include signing out of your Apple ID, which removes any link between your personal data and the device.
  • Confirm that you want to erase all data. The system will then restart and begin erasing all files, settings, and applications.

Reinstallation of macOS:

  • Once the data is erased, the iMac will display a startup screen as if it were new. If you are preparing the iMac for sale or transfer, do not proceed with setup. Simply turn off the iMac to leave it ready for the new user.

This process ensures that your iMac is completely wiped and the operating system is restored to its factory settings, making the device as good as new for its next user. Be sure to follow each step carefully to ensure a successful reset without any data loss.

For Earlier macOS Versions or Models Without Specific Features

If your iMac doesn't support the 'Erase All Content and Settings' feature due to an older macOS version or lacks Apple Silicon or a T2 chip, you'll need to follow these steps to perform a factory reset manually.

Entering Recovery Mode and Using Disk Utility:

Start in Recovery Mode

  • Turn off your iMac and restart it. Immediately press and hold the Command (⌘) and R keys until you see an Apple logo or other image.
  • If prompted, select a user you know the password for and enter their administrator password.

Use Disk Utility to Erase the Disk:

  • Once in macOS Recovery, from the utilities window, select 'Disk Utility' and click Continue.
  • Choose your startup disk (usually named 'Macintosh HD' unless renamed) from the sidebar and click the 'Erase' button.
  • Set the format to APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled), as appropriate. Specify a name for the disk (this can be 'Macintosh HD' again).
  • Click 'Erase' to wipe the disk. This will delete all data from the disk, so ensure you have backed up important files.

Reinstall macOS:

  • After erasing the disk, return to the macOS Utilities window and select 'Reinstall macOS'.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the operating system. This will download and install a clean version of macOS.

Signing Out of Apple Services: Before you start the reset process, it's crucial to sign out of all Apple services to ensure your personal information is disassociated from the device.


  • Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Apple ID.
  • Select 'Overview' and then click 'Sign Out'. You may choose to keep a copy of your data on the Mac; this copy will be erased during the disk wipe.

iTunes (for macOS Mojave or earlier):

  • Open iTunes, from the menu bar at the top of your computer screen choose Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
  • Enter your Apple ID and password, then click Deauthorize.


  • Open Messages, then choose Messages > Preferences from the menu bar.
  • Click on the iMessage tab, then click on Sign Out.

Unpair Bluetooth Devices (Optional):

  • If you're paired with any Bluetooth devices you plan to keep, unpair them to prevent them from automatically reconnecting to the iMac after the reset.
  • Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences > Bluetooth, hover over the device you want to unpair, click the X next to its name.

By following these steps, you ensure that your iMac is completely wiped and returned to its factory settings, ready for a new setup or for passing along to a new user. Remember, the reinstallation of macOS might require a stable internet connection, and the entire process can take some time depending on your internet speed and the model of your iMac.


  • AirTag 钱包和配件

    我们在这些产品背后的主要目标是创造高度个性化的通道和隔离墙,使之适合具体情况。 我们使用了一系列不同的硬件,以适应每个人的类似情况,并设计了多种功能的不同设计。 然而,如果你找不到你的最好配对,让我们知道,我们也生产习惯产品! 

  • MagSafe钱包

    发现我们可定制的MagSafe钱包,兼容 iPhone 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 系列 由环保意大利鞣皮厂提供的优质全粒面皮革制成,这些MagSafe钱包岁月催人成长。您可以用字母或数字个性化它们,或者联系我们以获取定制设计。 

  • 与MagSafe兼容的皮质文件夹式手机壳

    探索我们可定制的MagSafe皮革文件夹式手机壳。与 iPhone 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 系列兼容 采用来自环保意大利鞣皮厂的优质全粒面皮革制成,这些文件夹式手机壳岁月催人成长。您可以用字母或数字个性化它们,或者与我们联系以获取定制设计。 

  • MacBook 保护套

    包裹的MacBook病例和皮革制品都是用经过精心挑选的意大利蔬菜做手工艺的。 采用简单而独一无二的方式设计,以克服并可靠地保护百分.或MacBook的羊毛。 可供使用的所有iPad和MacBook模型。.