Summary: Learn how to factory reset, back up data, format Mac hard drive, reset NVRAM and reinstall macOS on MacBook Pro without losing data.

Too scared to factory reset your MacBook pro? Well, we have something for you, yes, even better than your previously reviewed methods.

Factory resetting can be overwhelming, especially for technophobic, as it keeps you on the edge of losing your data. However, before we hop on to ‘how to factory reset MacBook Pro’, know that, once you have done this, you won’t be able to recover your old data, which is also a good thing if you are going to trade off or giveaway your laptop.

Below you will learn step by step how to factory reset MacBook Pro and all the necessary steps required to take before initiating the process. So without any further ado, let’s get started!

1Backup your data:

The software system in Apple has a macOS Utility called Time Machine that helps you copy all the components of your system safely before you start the resetting process. It eliminates the entire hassle of moving your data to a physical drive to continue with the process. It is a built-in support option, that you can easily use to restore all your data in the system after you are done resetting, or if you want to move it to a new location in a new device.

2Erase any unnecessary data:

iTunes authorization

In case you are planning to give away your device, you will need to get rid of your data and erase any personal information you might have, here are a few important things to consider:

  • iTunes authorization:

Your iTunes ID is personal to you, so make sure you do not forget to deauthorize it before continuing with the process to reset the system. Go to Account’s main menu bar, and find the Authorizations list.

Press Deauthorize This Computer, enter your Apple ID and password to confirm and finally click on Deauthorize All.

  • Sign Out of iCloud and iMessage:

These require different procedures according to devices, follow these:

  • For macOS Mojave and earlier go to System preferences via Apple’s logo, select iCloud and then Sign Out.
  • For macOS Catalina and later, go to the same System preferences and click on Apple ID. In the list of options on your left, you will see Overview, click on that. You will get a screen with the option to Sign Out.
  • For iMessages, go to the Messages app. Besides Apple’s logo, click on Messages then Preferences, you will see options again, click iMessages and proceed to Sign Out.
  • Forget the Bluetooth connected devices:

After signing out from your accounts, you should disconnect all devices paired through Bluetooth including your wireless mouse or keypad. These accessories can be useful to you in case you are selling the laptop device – keeping them is your decision. It gets inconvenient if you forget or deliberately do not remove/forget your connected devices. Imagine a situation where the new owner of your Mac comes in close proximity to your wireless devices, they might be able to access your data, which surely you would want to avoid. Follow these steps to disconnect and forget devices:

  • Go to System Preferences from the main Apple logo.
  • Click on Bluetooth, go to the device you want to disconnect, an x button will appear with it.
  • Click on the x and then on Forget Device


3Reset Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM)

Your security features and other personally preferred settings such as time zone, kernel panic information and sound volume, etc. among other configuration settings all are set under the Non-Volatile Random Access Memory category. Follow these steps to delete NVRAM:

  • Shut down your system and immediately press on Option + Command + P + R buttons all at once.
  • Now reverse the process, turn your device on, and press Option + Command + P + R keys again.
  • Release the keys after 20 seconds of hold

4Reset your Mac and reinstall the macOS

This step comes after you have successfully finished backing up or copying all your important data. Additionally, you have signed out of all your accounts, now it’s safe to proceed through the last step of resetting:

  • On the top left corner of your screen, you will find Apple’s logo, click restart.
  • After the power is back on, click on Command + R to go to Apple’s logo and then release. If the screen brings you to a macOS utility screen, instead of the usual MacBook screen, you are on the right track. You are now in Recovery mode.
  • You will find a few options in the macOS utility screen, click on Disk Utility to proceed.
  • For the starter disk, press click on Macintosh HD and confirm to
  • If you are using a macOS High Sierra and higher, you will need to take the APFS And for older versions, macOS Extended Journaled or Encrypted is the way to go especially for high security in your disk encryption. Now select GUID Partition Map to proceed and create a password.
  • Finally, click Erase, wait for it to finish, and click Done.
  • You can get rid of the Disk Utility menu by closing that window. Now click on Reinstall macOS on the macOS Utility window, stay up to date by installing macOS BigSur, the latest installation.
  • Accept the license agreement and select a drive that is bootable for the procedure.
  • You are finished with the installation process. This is how you reset your MacBook Pro to factory settings without any damage to the system.

To get a clearer idea of how to factory reset MacBook Pro, you can take help from this video tutorial as well. It will visually show you the above mentioned steps.

Final Verdict

Indeed, there are several guides to learn ‘how to factory reset MacBook pro’ from, yet very few will provide you with the safest options to carry out the process without losing your data.
For a safe reset, you must begin with backup all the essential data, signing out from saved accounts, and clearing the files so they won’t get restored to the defaults. Once done, you are set to perform the above stated steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to factory reset MacBook Pro without password?

Unfortunately, you cannot factory reset your MacBook Pro until you have the admin password. However, if you have forgotten your password, here is the guide to reset it.  Also, you can contact Apple Support to do it for you. Once your password is recovered, sign out from all accounts, format your Mac and reinstall macOS.

How to reset MacBook Pro to factory settings without Apple ID?

You don’t require an Apple ID to factory reset your MacBook Pro unless it has a T2 Security or Apple Silico chip. If the M1 or T2 chip equipped MacBook turns on the ‘Find My’ application and ‘Activation Lock’ simultaneously, then your Apple ID will be required to turn off the ‘Find My’ app and reset your MacBook. However, you can contact Apple support to retrieve your Apple ID and then erase your laptop.