Most of us have faced the situation when we need to switch our Mac for a newer one. It might be due to a slow speed, decreased battery life, or inability to install new software updates. No matter what it is, to protect your personal data, you must adequately prepare your MacBook for selling.
Many believe that deleting sensitive data and emptying Trash is enough. But in reality, many more places on Mac contain private and vital information about the computer user. So it is crucial to understand how to completely wipe and reset your MacBook before selling it.
Is it Safe to Sell Your MacBook
It is normal to get worried about protecting personal data when selling MacBook. But, it is absolutely safe to sell your Mac if you prepare ahead of time and delete everything correctly. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about anyone accessing your files or online accounts.
5 Steps to Take When Selling MacBook to Protect Personal Files
A small preparation goes a long way. A properly cleared and configured Mac will ensure your private data is protected, and a new owner gets the “right-out-of-the-box” experience even on the used machine.
1. Backup Your Files
Creating a backup is an important step in preventing data loss. Especially since you will reset your Mac to factory settings to prepare your computer for selling. With a backup, all your files are protected and can be easily transferred to a new Mac once you buy it. You can use a built-in Time Machine to back up all your data to an external hard drive or use third-party backup software. Another alternative is to use Migration Assistant to transfer old Mac to new Mac if you have them both at hand.
2. Sing Out of iTunes
iTunes limits the number of devices connected to the account simultaneously. So it is recommended to sign out of iTunes before selling your MacBook. This will guarantee that no one can access your iTunes content and purchases.
To sign out of iTunes:
- Open iTunes
- Select Accounts > Authorisations > Deauthorise This Computer
- Enter your AppleID and password.
3. Sign Out of iCloud
iCloud syncs data between devices and can store many photos, documents, contacts, and other personal files. Ensure you are signed out of iCloud to protect your data when selling your MacBook.
To sign out of iCloud:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
- Open Apple ID/iCloud, and choose to Sign Out
All the data will remain in iCloud, so you can easily access it on other logged-in devices or when you log in to iCloud with your new Mac.
4. Sign Out of iMessage
Many users have iMessage set to sync the messages between iPhone and Mac. If this is the case, sign out of iMessage on the desktop to protect your private conversations and sensitive data.
To sign out of iMessage:
- Open the Messages app
- Go to Messages > Preferences, where you can choose the Sign Out
5. Erase the Mac Hard Drive and Reinstall macOS
Once you have all your files safely stored on an external hard drive or transferred to a new Mac, it is time to remove all the data from the computer. Erasing the drive and reinstalling macOS ensures that no one can access your personal files when selling MacBook. A new owner will get a clean Mac with default settings that can be further configured using the Setup Assistant, just like a brand new Mac.
You need to boot into the Recovery Mode to reformat the hard drive and reinstall macOS.
To reinstall macOS:
- When starting your Mac, press Command + R until you hear a startup chime
- Once booted into the Recovery Mode, you will see the macOS Utilities On this screen, you can select Disk Utility (to erase and reformat the hard drive) and choose Reinstall macOS.
Switching from an old Mac to a new one is exciting since you get an improved machine with many new features and capabilities. The downside is that you still need to decide what to do with the old one. If you choose to sell, it shouldn’t become a burden and make you worried about your private files. Create a backup, sign out of the accounts, erase the hard drive and reinstall macOS to make your computer brand new. These simple steps will protect your personal data when selling the MacBook.