How to Properly Wipe Data from Your Mac

June 9, 2017 5:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

How to Properly Wipe Data from Your Mac

Introduction 

You’re selling your old Mac, or giving it to your son/daughter for school, and you want to ensure all of your user data is wiped clean from the device before handing it over. Whether it’s personal financial data, or less kid-friendly material you want gone, such as a risqué browsing history, you’ll be able to wipe absolutely everything with either one of the two methods below. 

The Easy Road 

This one is insanely simple. If you’re not computer savvy or simply don’t want to invest more time than you feel is necessary, you’ll want to go with this option. You’ll find this the friendliest approach if you are going to keep the Mac.  If you plan on selling or giving it away, please skip to next section.

  1. Create a new user account with administrative privileges.
  • Go to Apple Menu
  • System Preferences
  • Users & Groups
  • Click the icon to unlock it (put in your administrator name and password)
  • Click Add below the list of current users
  • Click the New Account pop-up menu; prompt to give administrative privileges
  1. Delete your old administrator account
  • Log out of your old account; sign into the new one
  • Go to Apple Menu
  • System Preferences
  • Users & Groups
  • Click the icon to unlock it (put in your administrator name and password)
  • Select the user/group you want to delete
  • Click the Remove button

This is the fastest way to delete your user data, while keeping all programs intact. If you have a preferred word processor program and don’t want to see it deleted, especially if the new owner is going to be using it for work/school, this method will protect your programs from being deleted. However, here’s the trick:

Say your iTunes needs to be updated; even on that new account, you’ll need to have the old administrator’s information to incur updates on just about any program. While we don’t condone it in the least, you could probably hunt down ways around this by searching online. However, if you’ve agreed to Apple’s Terms & Conditions, you are prohibited from dancing around the details. 

The Slightly More Adept Road 

It’s time to proceed with caution. There’s no ‘Undo’ button here, folks. Doing this method is going to wipe all the data off of your Mac, and we’re not held responsible for what you do with these steps when you continue. I cannot overstate how permanent this function is.

  1. Shut down your Mac
  • Go to Apple Icon
  • Click Shutdown
  • Physically push the power button
  • Immediately following, press in the command key and the letter ‘R’
  1. MacOS Utilities screen
  • You’re going to be prompted with some language options
  • From that screen on the MacOS Utilities window, click Disk Utility
  • On the next screen, click Apple SSD
  • Click on the delete button located at the top of the screen
  • Rename your hard drive
  • Do not touch Format or Scheme
  • Click Erase
  1. Reinstall
  • Return to the MacOS Utilities screen
  • Click Reinstall MacOS
  • Continue through the prompted steps

In this process, you are given two options on how to delete all the data from your Mac computer; but wait. If you chose the option to write over existing files, it doesn’t mean the files are truly gone, even if you can’t find them by doing a search. The data is still buried somewhere deep within your Mac, only being overwritten, it’s kinda like another layer that you can’t see or search for but the information is still on your Mac, which is fine if you are going to keep the Mac for yourself.

However, if you are going to sell or give your Mac to a friend or relative I implore you to locate a service that can find files buried deep within your Mac to ensure your data has been truly erased. This concerns emails, financial data, photos; anything stores in the ‘Home’ folder of your Mac SSD.  At Megabite we offer this service.  However, if you’re not local to our shop there is software that you can purchase to ensure all your data is truly erased. Below is a suggestion for recovery software. This ensures that if you sell your Mac on Craigslist or to someone you don’t know your data isn’t still looming somewhere in the background on your Mac. 

Stellar Phoenix Max File Recovery Software 

Keep in mind, this software is solely to make sure all your personal data has been erased from the hard drive.  After running the software if you’re able to pull up any of your personal data, it’ll give you the option to erase it permanently.

  1. Download the software
  • Go to https://www.recovering-deleted-files.net
  • You’ll be prompted to Mac recovery software along the bottom right of the page
  • Scroll down the page once selected, and download the software
  • Once the download finishes, install as prompted
  1. Run the recovery option
  • When you open Stellar Phoenix, click the recover data option
  • Without getting complicated in the software, click on Quick Recovery
  • Select the name of your old SSD and click the next arrow in the bottom right corner

Advice 

If you are going to keep your Mac, you don’t have to worry about permanently deleting your personal data.  However, if you plan on selling or giving away your computer I can’t stress enough how important it is that you ensure all your personal data is erased off the hard drive.  You certainly don’t want someone with bad intentions to get ahold of your banking, credit card or any personal files you have created.

 

Until Next Time,

Megabite

904-430-0350

 

 

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This post was written by Karen

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