How to Prepare MacBook for Sale?

Do you want to replace your Mac or sell it to someone else? To complete this, you need to prepare the MacBook for sale or exchange. By this term, we mean cleaning files from the storage, as well as backing up your personal data and settings. You need to prepare your Mac, even if you want to give it to a friend or family member.

We’ve prepared instructions for you on how to prepare your Mac for sale or exchange. Read this article to the end. It will be interesting!

Creating a Backup

Backing up is the first thing to start preparing your Mac for a sale or gift. First, it is important for you because all the information you have entered in your Mac is very important to you and will help you move painlessly to a new device. However, users who buy a used Mac should understand that they should start using either a software update or anything else, namely a backup.

How to backup your Mac:

  1. To do this, you will need enough free space in Mac memory or an external drive with the required amount of memory;
  2. Go to the Mac menu and open the system settings panel;
    how to prepare macbook for sale
  3. Then select Time Machine, specify the desired drive to save the data and run the backup.
    how to prepare mac for sale

Select the external or internal drive you want to write the backup to in the options. You will be able to restore your data after macOS updates and data wiping.

Note. You can also set up automatic backup, but it’s not relevant for future Mac sales.

Sign Out of iCloud on Your Mac

Next, you should sign out of all your accounts. It’s best to start with iCloud. You can sign out of iCloud by clicking on the top bar with your username. You must re-enter your password to log out.

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Note. Don’t forget to sign out of your iCloud account because a new user won’t be able to take full advantage of your Mac. In addition, you endanger your personal data, including passwords, photos/documents and videos.

Creating a New User on a Mac

Creating a new user on a Mac will help you better prepare them for sale.

You can create a new Mac user by:

  1. Go to your Mac settings;
  2. You need to go to System Preferences;
    how to prepare a macbook for sale
  3. Then open the panel of users and groups;
    how to prepare your mac for sale
  4. Enter a simple name and a simple password, don’t forget to add a hint.

Most users change their passwords after buying a used Mac, so everything is fine. Don’t think of obscure passwords if you plan to sell a Mac to avoid forgetting your password.

Note. You must give the user administrator rights, otherwise access will be limited.

Once you’ve created a new user, go to their account and delete your account from the Users and Groups menu, and don’t forget to delete the “user folder” when a pop-up prompts you to save it.

Delete Files From Downloads and Trash

You can then delete all files and folders from your downloads, recent documents, and Trash. Cmd + A will help to select all files, and Cmd + Delete will help to delete. You can empty the Trash by going to it and clicking Empty Trash.

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Reset Mac to Factory Settings

The logical continuation is to reset your Mac to factory settings. This will help to finally bring the device to a state “once from the factory” and will save the future user from your installed programs, as well as cluttered files.

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys: Option, Command, P and R.
  3. Release the keys after about 20 seconds.

After that, you will see the settings menu. Choose to reinstall macOS and wait for the download. You will then have a “clean” Mac ready to be sold or exchanged.


Don’t forget to sign in to your iCloud on your new Mac and download the backup from Time Machine. It will help you restore all your macOS data and settings. Enjoy!

Cyril Kardashevsky

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