How To Factory Reset iMac

A factory reset is one of the most common troubleshooting methods to deal with software issues on macOS. However, not all users know what a factory reset is and how to do it. If your Mac is experiencing freezes, corrupted OS, auto-close apps, battery drains, or network problems, a factory reset seems to be a good plan. It should be the last thing you try before spending big money on another computer. In this article, we will provide you a guide on how to factory reset your iMac. Let’s check it out!

Before We Start

There are some things you need to know before we come to the actual steps for factory resetting your iMac:

  • A factory reset means clearing ALL your iMac data and re-installing another copy of macOS on it. It will wipe out all the data you store on your computer,
  • If you are planning to trade, gift, or sell your iMac, a Factory reset will be a good idea to wipe your personal data from the device before putting it on sale.
  • The process to factory reset an iMac is the same on all the recent macOS versions, including Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, EI Capitan, and Yosemite

Step 1: Create A Backup

As mentioned, by executing a factory reset on your iMac, you will erase all of the data you store on it. So if you want to continue using the device afterward, you better make a backup of the important files. You can check out our detailed guide here to learn how to back up data on all Mac models.

Factory Reset iMac

Step 2: Restart Your iMac

Now you need to restart your computer. There are a couple of ways to do this. The most straightforward way is to hold down the power button until a dialog box appears, then choose the Restart option. Alternatively, you can access the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select Restart.

Factory Reset iMac

In the case that your iMac is frozen, you can force restart it via the key combination of Control + Command + Power button.

Step 3: Boot Your iMac in Recovery Mode

When your Mac turns off, hold Command + R until you see the Apple logo. Release the keys and allow the Mac to boot up.

Instead of going straight to your desktop, as usual, your device will boot into Recovery Mode.  From there, you need to select the appropriate user profile and enter the password before gaining full control. Now the macOS Utilities window will appear. From there, you will have the options to restore from a Time Machine backup, install a new copy of macOS, access help documentation, repair a damaged disk, or erase all data.

As we are doing the factory reset, go ahead and select Disk Utility and then hit Continue.

Step 4: Erase Your Data

In the next windows, you need to:

– Choose your startup disk under the Internal heading.

– Click Erase at the top of the Disk Utilities window

– A dialog box will pop up. 

– Change the Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

– Click Erase

– Once the process is complete, go to the Disk Utilities menu in the upper-left corner and choose Quit Disk Utility.

Factory Reset iMac

Be aware that once this process is done, you will no longer be able to recover any deleted data.

Step 5: Reinstall macOS

Now you need to install a new copy of macOS onto your iMac if you want to use it afterward. This is quite simple to do. After you quit the Disc Utilities window, you will be back at the macOS Utilities screen. Click Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall a clean version of the operating system. 

Factory Reset iMac

If you plan to sell, trade, or gift your Mac, you can skip this step.

Step 6: Restore Your Data From Backup

If you have backed-up your files through Time Machine, you can now restore those files through the macOS Utilities screen. Click Restore From Time Machine Backup, then select the appropriate backup from the list to reinstall your saved files.

Factory Reset iMac

After the data restoration is completed, your iMac will be good to go.

And that’s how to factory reset your iMac. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments!

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