Macs are undoubtedly amazing machines that can be reliable for your daily work as well as entertainment purposes. But like other tech products, sometimes things can go wrong with the Macs, thus preventing them from working properly. These Mac models include MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini. In some cases, users can deal with these issues by themselves. The factory reset is one of the most popular troubleshooting methods for macOS. However, not all users know what a factory reset is and how to do it. So in this article, we will provide you with a guide on how to reset MacBook Air to factory settings.
What is Factory Reset and Why Do You Need It For Your MacBook Air?
‘Factory Reset’ means clearing ALL your Mac’s data and re-installing another copy of macOS on 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 Mac.
In addition, if you are planning to trade, gift, or sell your MacBook, you’ll want to wipe your personal data from the device. Of course, you can use some specific software to do this, but a factory reset probably is the easiest way for you.
So now you know why you need to perform a factory reset on your MacBook Air. It’s time for the actual steps on how to do it.
Steps To Do A Factory Reset on Your Mac
Note that this process 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 MacBook Air, you will erase all of its data. So if you want to continue using it afterwards, you better make a backup of the important files. You can check out our detailed guide here to learn how to back up your Mac data in general.
Step 2: Restart Your Mac
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 dialogue box appears, then choose the Restart option. Otherwise, you can access the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select Restart.
In the case that your MacBook Air is frozen, you can force restart it via the key combination of the Control + Command + Power button.
Step 3: Boot Your Mac 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. Be patient as it may take some time to load. Instead of going straight to your desktop, as usual, your device will boot into Recovery Mode.
You will have 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
– Choose your startup disk under the Internal heading.
– Click Erase at the top of the Disk Utilities window.
– A dialogue 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.
Be aware that once this process is done, you will no longer be able to recover any deleted data.
Now to make your Mac work again, you need to install a new copy of macOS onto it. 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.
If you plan to sell, trade, or gift your Mac, you can skip this step.
Restore 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.
How to Factory Reset Your MacBook Air in macOS Monterey
In macOS Monterey, the steps to factory reset your Macs are different. In fact, the latest macOS version comes with an all-new Erase Assistant that allows you to reset all settings to default settings while maintaining the operating system currently installed. This eliminates the need for third-party utilities to be installed on your machine.
Note that Erase Assistant is only available for Macs with an Apple Silicon chip (M1 Series) or an Apple T2 Security Chip (2018 Macs or newer). Here are the steps;
Step 1: Open System Preferences on your Mac and then select Erase All Content and Settings from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: Erase Assistant should show up and ask you to enter your admin password to proceed.
Step 3: You may be asked to create a backup of your Mac before resetting it. If you have already backed up your device, click Continue to proceed.
Step 4: You will be presented with a list of the items that will be removed from your Mac along with all settings, media, and data. Hit Continue to proceed.
Step 5: Now sign in to your Mac with an Apple ID to disable Activation Lock and then click Continue.
Step 6: Click Erase All Content & Settings to confirm your action. Your Mac should restart and show a black screen with an Apple logo and a progress bar.
Step 7: Once the reset process is complete, you will be prompted to re-activate your machine. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. Click Restart when you see the Your Mac is activated message.
Step 8: Now go through the setup of your Mac. If you plan to sell your Mac or give it away, press Command + Q on the Hello Screen and turn off your device.
If you now use an Intel-powered MacBook Air, the steps involve erasing your Mac in Recovery mode and re-installing macOS Monterey. Before going any further, we recommend you sign out of both iMessage and iCloud to prevent any account-related issues during the process.
Step 1: Put your Mac in Recovery Mode. To do so, shut down your Mac, then press and hold down the Command + R keys at the same time and press the Power button to turn on your Mac.
Step 2: Let go of the keys when you see the Apple Logo. In macOS Recovery, select Disk Utility from the menu and click Continue.
Step 3: Select Macintosh HD from the sidebar and select Erase at the top left corner of the screen.
Step 4: Set Name to Macintosh HD and Format to APFS. Hit the Erase button and select Done.
Step 5: Exit Disk Utility and then reinstall macOS Monterey.
Step 6: To re-install macOS Monterey, select Reinstall macOS Monterey from the Recovery menu and select Continue.
Step 7: Select Continue and agree to terms and conditions. Now, select Macintosh HD as your target disk
Step 8: Your Mac will start installing macOS Monterey. Once it’s done, you can use the Setup Assistant to set up your Mac or turn off your Mac if you plan to sell it or give it away.
There you go, now you know how to reset MacBook Air and other Mac Models to Factory Settings. If you have any issues during the process, please let us know in the comments!
Note: This article has been recently updated and contains new information on how to factory reset a MacBook Air in macOS Monterey.