10+ things to do before selling or giving away your Mac

Find out what to do before selling, giving away, or trading in your Mac to ensure your personal data is properly erased, ensuring a confidential transition to the new owner.

Using Time Machine before selling MacBook

If you’re gearing up to sell your Mac, the last thing you want to do is shove it in the original box and call it a day. Your computer contains personal information that could tell the new owner a lot about you.

So, we will share all the right things to follow before passing on your old computer. These tips apply to all Macs, whether it’s an iMac, Mac mini, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.


Save important files

You may have tons of important files in various Finder folders on your Mac. Before you move forward and erase your Mac to bring it to factory defaults, you should do one of the following:

Migration Assistant on Mac

Cancel or transfer your AppleCare+ plan

If you purchased an AppleCare+ plan with your Mac, you can cancel it or transfer it to the new owner. In case you do the latter, you may like to increase your Mac’s price to accommodate this cost.

Erase all content and settings in one go

If your Mac features Apple silicon or an Intel processor with the T2 Security Chip and is running macOS Monterey or later, you can safely erase all files and settings on it from one dedicated pane.

Follow these steps to erase all content on your Mac and reset it to factory settings:

  1. Open System Settings on your Mac running macOS Ventura, macOS Sonoma, or later.
  2. Go to General > Transfer or Reset.
  3. Click Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. Enter your Mac’s admin password and hit Unlock to open the Erase Assistant.
  5. Follow the on-screen steps to erase and reset your computer.
Erase All Content and Settings on Mac

Note: Is your Mac on macOS Monterey? Click the Apple icon  and choose System Preferences > Erase All Content and Settings.

If you can’t erase everything in one go

If the Mac you’re giving away does not have the ‘Erase All Content and Settings’ option, you will have to manually follow all these tips below.

Sign out of iCloud

You must sign out of your Apple ID/iCloud account before passing on your Mac to someone else. If you fail to do that, the new owner cannot log in to the computer after erasing it because the Find My Activation Lock will still be in place and linked to your Apple ID. As a result, they will forever be left locked out.

Here are the steps to sign out of Apple ID on Mac:

  • On macOS Ventura or later: System Settings > Apple ID > Sign Out.
  • On macOS Monterey, macOS Big Sur, or macOS Catalina: System Preferences > Apple ID > Overview > Sign Out.
  • On macOS Mojave or earlier: System Preferences > iCloud > Sign Out.

Sign out of iTunes on old Mac

If your Mac is on macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes, and from the top menu bar, click Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. Now, enter your Apple ID details to deauthorize this computer.

Deauthorize Computer in iTunes

Sign out of App Store

Open the App Store, and if you’re still signed in, click Store from the top menu bar and select Sign Out.

Sign out of Messages and FaceTime

Open the Messages app and FaceTime and press the Command + Comma (,) keys to go to its preferences. From here, find the sign out option if it appears.

prepare mac for sale - sign out of iMessage

Clear Touch Bar data

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar users should clear the machine’s Touch Bar data before handing their computer to a new owner. The Touch Bar is home to the Touch ID sensor, which authenticates your fingerprint against data stored in your Mac’s secure enclave to perform high-risk system actions.

Apple recommends clearing the Touch Bar data before moving on to the next step. To learn how that’s done, our tutorial walks you through the process.

Forget Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, and trackpad

Some Bluetooth devices, like Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad, can only be used with one device at a time. So, to make the pairing process painless with your next Mac, you should go to Bluetooth Settings of your current Mac and forget these accessories.

You can similarly forget other Bluetooth devices like smart speakers from here.

Related: How to reset the Bluetooth module on your Mac

Important: You will have to use a USB mouse and keyboard to follow the remaining tips after you remove the wireless keyboard and mouse from your Mac mini, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, or iMac.

Erase your Mac and reinstall macOS

Perhaps the most important thing you can do before donating or selling your Mac is format the storage disk and reinstall macOS on it.

Use Disk Utility to erase your Mac. Once that’s done, reinstall macOS from macOS Recovery.

Pro Tip: When using Disk Utility to erase your Mac, the more passes you make over your previous data, the more secure the erase will be, but it will also take longer.


If you have an Intel-based Mac, reset its NVRAM to remove user settings from the memory and restore some security features to the default state.

Once your Mac boots up to the setup screen, your Mac can be handed to its new owner so they can set it up for themselves.

Clean the keyboard and wipe the machine

Lastly, to give a nice touch, you should use a soft brush and dry lint-free cloth to clean the keyboard and all parts of your MacBook to make it hygienic for the new owner.

Check out next: 43 things to do after setting up a Mac