Mac & macOS

Reset used Mac for sale

You want to sell your old Mac? Then you should reset it to factory settings. We show how to do it.

Apple calculator like iMac, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro or Mac Mini are popular - their resale value is correspondingly high. However, you shouldn't simply give the computer away as it is: Before selling, you should reset the computer professionally and remove all data - of course only after you have created a Time Machine backup. This is the only way you can be sure that all data has really disappeared from the system before the buyer puts it into operation.

Note: If you're using a Mac running MacOS 12 or later, you might be able to too the MacOS deletion assistant use.

Factory reset or just reset?

A pleasant side effect: The Mac then behaves as it did when it was delivered, the buyer only has to set it up. However, there are two variants: This guide describes how you can reset your Mac with the current operating system version. However, this is not always the same as the one with which the Mac was delivered: In order to really restore the Mac completely and including the operating system to the delivery state using Internet Recovery, you have to follow this tuto here follow. The steps are largely similar, but the variant described here is easier.

Caution: Be sure to turn off FileVault and Find My Mac before resetting! Otherwise it can happen that the Mac blocks and has to go to the workshop!

1. Call MacOS recovery system

Start the Mac and press the key combination CMD+R at the start-up sound to call up the rescue system on the recovery partition. This has been available since Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion". Users of older system versions must insert the CD/DVD that came with the Mac and press the C key instead of CMD+R to start the rescue system. Starts Disk Utility in the rescue system. Caution: It is recommended that you factory reset your Mac completely when you sell it.

Go to recovery partition...

2. Select system disk

In Disk Utility, click on your system disk and select the Erase tab. Depending on the MacOS version and the configuration of your system, you may have to select the system partition instead (“MacintoshHD” in the screenshot) if that doesn't work. The procedure is otherwise identical: Assign a name and click on "Delete". Repeat this with other partitions and internal hard drives if you use any.

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If you really want to be sure that all data is gone, you must also select a secure deletion method under "Security Options", which only makes sense with conventional hard drives - the "Overwrite" options are not useful for SSDs. Unlike conventional hard drives, however, data on SSDs cannot be "saved" as easily. Therefore confirm the message with "Delete", then the hard disk will be deleted.

The only important thing about the Mac...

3. Quit Disk Utility

Now exit Disk Utility with the key combination CMD+Q or via the menu bar. You end up back in the rescue system start screen.

... Quit Disk Utility...

4. Reinstall Mac OS X

Now select “Reinstall OS X” and click on “Continue”. The OS X installation files are not on the rescue partition, but have to be downloaded from the Internet since OS X 10.7. You should therefore ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet via WLAN or network cable before you continue.

... install OS X again ...

5. Start installation process

You are now in the start screen of the OS X installation. Click on "Continue", confirm the message about the verification at Apple with "Continue" and then nod the license agreement.

… approve the license agreement and review by Apple…

6. Sign in to the AppStore and start the installation

Now click on the system hard drive and select "Install". Your Mac will now ask for the access data for your Apple ID - this is only the verification process by Apple, so that you can download the operating system again from the App Store. Then click "Sign in" to start the installation and begin the macOS installation.

… enter AppStore password…

7. Download and install OS X

OS X will now download from the AppStore and then install, which may take a good while. Follow the on-screen instructions to continue the installation if necessary. However, the installation runs largely smoothly. The computer restarts once on the way between the download of the installation files and the actual installation.

… let the download and installation go through…

8. Turn off Mac

Once the installation is complete, all you have to do is turn off the Mac. The operating system is already installed, but not set up, after all the new owner should also do that. In this respect, you can switch off the computer, pack it up and send it off as soon as you see the OS X intro.

... and turn off the Mac at the setup screen.

Factory reset Mac & sell it

By the way: If there are problems with the Apple ID because you bought the Mac used, this tip may help you. Alternatively, you can use your Mac, if it already has the corresponding function, reset to factory settings and thus to the original operating system via Internet recovery – ideal if these instructions no longer work because your Mac is too old. And if you want to know where you can sell the device most lucratively, we've got you covered here are some tips for your convenience.

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By the way: This is of course also possible with iPhone and iPad.

Christian Rentrop

Graduate journalist, born in 1979. First attempts at walking in 1986 at the Schneider CPC. In 1997 it went online. Ever since then as a scribbler in deadwood forests and on digital highways. Often also on the Vespa or with the caravan on the way. Daughter father since 2020, so always very happy about one small coffee donation.


  1. Thanks for the good guide! The only problem I have when deleting the hard drive on my MacBook 2009 is that the top hard drive (named Hitachi ht...) cannot be deleted, but only the partition of it (Macintosh hd)! is this normal? want to sell my MacBook and reluctant to sell files :)
    And image files are also displayed under the hard drive, do you have to delete them too?
    Thank you Teresa

  2. Hello, so I followed it and I have the feeling that it will take another 100 hours, so I would like to ask for feedback. This device has macOS High Sierra on it and it says 5 minutes, but it has been loading for an hour and it still only shows 5 minutes I cancel it and repeat the operation ?

  3. Hello, the post is a bit older, but I got an old MacBook as a gift and wanted to reset it to the factory settings. If I click on delete as described in point 2 and then confirm the deletion, I get the message "deleting the medium failed... the following error occurred: The medium could not be deactivated."
    However, I was able to delete one partition on the hard drive. Now I can only get into the rescue partition window with every restart.
    I don't know my way around very well and am completely desperate because I can't seem to use the MacBook at all.
    What can I do? I would be incredibly grateful for any help.

  4. And what do users with no internet connection or with a very slow internet connection (the download would take over 20 hours for me)?
    I'm now trying to load the latest/latest system onto a bootable USB stick via a fast internet connection. Let's see if it works.

  5. Hallo,

    I'd like to reset my Mac for sale while already installing High Sierra for the new owner. Is there a tutorial for this too? With factory settings I think Snow Leopard or whatever would be delivered.

    Greetings Thomas

    1. But that should work with the instructions described here: Install the current MacOS version (if you haven't already done so),
      Start system recovery, erase hard drive, reinstall High Sierra. Then switch off the Mac when selecting the language.
      Then it is in the delivery state with the current MacOS version.

  6. Hallo,
    I bought a Macbook on ebay a few months ago. Unfortunately, my predecessor did not in
    logged out of its cloud with this copy. I can't log in and unfortunately the gentleman isn't responding to my messages. What can I do, is there another way to format the thing and rip all the old data off of it and log in?

    I appreciate your help.

  7. Hello
    My iMac has been booting into safe mode for a while now. I thought that a factory reset might help. I did that too, but I couldn't reinstall it after deleting it because the iMac couldn't get a WiFi signal. Could this be due to safe mode? What can I do?

  8. Hi,
    I would like to follow your great instructions, but I have the following problem:

    I also get the message "The medium could not be unmounted" after starting with CMD+R when trying to erase the hard drive. There are no open files or similar. What can I do?

    I have a MacBookPro 2011 and the current macOS Sierra on it, I would like to delete all data and reinstall the system because I will be passing on the MacBook.

      1. Great, Thanks! I choose the safe option, then I can do something else on the side ;-)
        Another question, can I reset the system to the current Sierra version (via the Internet) or do I have to go to the original Lions version from late 2011 (via a bootable USB stick)?

      2. Have now reinstalled Sierra and unfortunately still the same problem: After CMD+R while erasing in Disk Utility appears: "Erase failed... Details: Start secure erase, Eject medium, The medium could not be unmounted, action failed... “? Do you have another tip?

  9. Hey Christian,
    I just got an older Mac Mini with no operating system. Thought that wasn't a problem. But the internet recovery does not work. Despite accepted login in the store, the medium is currently not available. In this case El Capitan. How can I revert back to 10.6.x with installation disc. Operating systems installed over 10.6.x, i.e. from 10.7.x, refuse to install from the disc, stating that this is not possible. What steps are necessary.
    With kind regards,
    Bent Hinrichs

      1. Hallo,
        These easy-to-understand instructions give you the courage to lend a hand yourself. I'm thinking about resetting my MacBook Pro A1286 Early2011. Not for sale, but for me. But I don't have a System DVD (only the Application Install DVD). Now I'm wondering if I can restore my system from the App Store or do I need the CD? Before I delete something and then not get any further. I bought the MacBook used and don't even know what was originally on it, now it runs with Sierra.

      2. You actually need the CD/DVD. The question is: Do you want to reset it to factory settings or "just" reinstall it? For factory settings you need the data medium, for the new installation you just have to install a current MacOS (Sierra or something...) and then delete it using the system recovery partition and reinstall it as described in the tutorial.

      3. Hello and thanks for the quick reply!
        A new installation would theoretically be enough for me. The background to the campaign is that I have a small graphics problem. I guessed the "MacBook classic" graphics chip was defective and described my problem to a specialist for this repair. But he said that it doesn't look like a defect to him, but rather a driver conflict.
        That's why I wanted to reset my system. Do you think a new installation will also reload/install drivers? Or do you need a "factory reset"?

      4. Hallo,
        After a new installation was not feasible, I have now tried resetting to factory settings. After entering the Apple ID, "This item is temporarily unavailable" appears "Try again later" . Do I now only have the installation via CD? (which I don't have)
        Greetings and thank you for this site :)

  10. Hallooo I reset my Macbook Pro to factory settings as described in the instructions... can I be 100% sure that all my data has been deleted???


  11. Hello
    already installed the new mac. If I subsequently reset the "old" one, will I also lose the data on the "new" one?
    It's probably logical for you how it works. Since I didn't have to do anything during the installation and all my photos, emails, etc. are simply on the new Mac, I'm afraid of simply resetting the old Mac. I am very grateful for the answer.
    Greetings Veronica

    1. OK, that's weird: you usually have to plug in a Time Machine backup or the old Mac during setup to transfer the data. Did you swap a hard drive?
      If the new Mac is working and all the data is there when the old one is off and NOT plugged into the new machine, there's usually nothing wrong with ditching the old one :)

  12. Hello Christian, this is something you have probably never experienced before. I wanted to prep my mid 2008 MacBook Air for my girlfriend and pass it on with the original factory settings. In the beginning I had the same problems as everyone else down here in the internet recovery discussion. Luckily I still had the original installation DVD, but for some reason I couldn't select the erased hard drive as the target volume for reinstallation. So I came up with the fantastic idea to install the installation DVD into the erased hard drive. I don't understand much why I did this now, but somehow I believed that if the installer was on the hard drive, then I could install Snow Leopard on my MacBook Air.

    What actually happened is that now, every time I start the computer with the ctrl+R key combination, it automatically takes me to the installation DVD layout and no longer to the Internet recovery screen, so I no longer have the current hard drive at all can delete. It's like I've created a reflection in a mirror I can't escape from.

    Is there any other key combination that can just clear everything or even a reset button inside the computer. I don't care about the content, I just want to delete the installer from the hard drive. I'm obviously not a computer scientist, but I think I partitioned the hard drive with the installer.

    I am infinitely grateful for any help.

    1. Normally it should be enough to start the DVD again while holding down the C key at the gong and call up Disk Utility again. There you have to delete all partitions, create a new one and then install Mac OS X.

      1. Thank you very much Christian, in my panic yesterday I couldn't come up with your suggestion on my own. I tried it today and it worked. I am infinitely grateful to you and my girlfriend is already looking forward to her new MacBook Air.

        Greetings from Bogota, Colombia

  13. Hey,
    I'm trying to close my hard drive but it won't work. Is there another way to erase the hard drive on a MacBook Air?
    It would be very nice if you had an answer for me.


        Thanks for any tip without spending more time...


  14. Maybe there's help for me here... I'm a complete loser when it comes to Apple - so sorry in advance!
    I have an iBook G4 OS X version 10.4.11
    and there is a lot of rubbish on it, I would like to delete the entire content, the device should then be given away...
    There are also several user accounts... but I don't have any CD or DVD with me...
    and after several hours of internet research I'm totally confused anyway... can someone help me and explain what I have to do and how?
    and where can I get any CD (what kind of CD anyway) if necessary?
    Greetings Nina

    1. Hello Nina,

      You need to get a CD/DVD with Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 at most somewhere. You put it in, start the computer with the “C” key pressed from the CD/DVD and flatten the hard drive using the instructions. You can then install a fresh OS X from the CD/DVD. Trouble is, it's the only way to go with Macs of this age. It is important when getting the CD/DVD that you buy/download the "full version" of the operating system. The CDs/DVDs that came with it were always for that specific device only, which means you would need a recovery set for your exact iBook model, which is hard to come by. If in doubt, there are those on Ebay, but you have to find out the exact model (via Apple -> About this Mac -> (System Profiler ->) Hardware. It says "iBook 4.1" or something like that. With this information you can buy the appropriate original recovery media.

  15. Hello
    I can't write an @ sign in the Apple ID under point 6 and therefore can't enter my email correctly ??

    1. I could solve my first question myself
      Now comes after entering the Apple ID and password
      This item is temporarily unavailable

      What now ?

  16. Quick question: how do you turn off the Mac when you see the OS X intro?
    After my old MacBook gave me headaches all afternoon because it said my hard drive was damaged, I'm being very careful right now...

  17. Hey today I bought a used macbook pro from 2009, since I'm a newbie and the old operating system was still on it, I went to delete it, now I've got the salad because if I want to reinstall yosemit now, he always wants an apple id and if i enter mine there, it means that the product is not available, but a kind of system recovery doesn't work either. um what can I do now?
    I still have a very old os x cd for 10.4. can i use this somehow?
    please help, thank you :)

      1. the only cd i have is ne 10.4 from my imac, i can use this iwie, since press (c) during booting, the cd drive only buzzes briefly and then nothing happens

  18. Hallo,
    if I reset the Mac, then programs like Pages, Keynote, iMovie , etc. are gone, right?
    If so, how do I get these programs back on without having to buy them?

    1. Yes, of couse. You just have to tell the buyer and, if necessary, suggest downloading the latest OSX version from the AppStore. As long as the buyer knows that the CD is missing, that's not an issue.

  19. Hi. I want to sell my Mac 2009 but unfortunately I don't have the CD/DVD anymore. It has been reset, can I sell it without hesitation?

    1. Revert to current operating system with recovery? Actually, that shouldn't be a problem, the Apple ID is only meant to be able to download it. But it would be important to tell the buyer that he should download the free update to the OS X version from the AppStore again - only then can he reset the Mac himself.

  20. I have the problem with my Mac PC (Maverick) that I can get to step 5 but can't go any further. The installation information is checked, but then I get the error message "No installation information found".
    How do I get on here?
    connected to the Internet.

  21. Yes, I can start and use it normally, but I can't change anything...
    So he bought it in 2013 and he knows where, but he lost the bill... but I think if I bring the device there, they will find out the bill in the system using the serial number. Do you think it would work like that? And what will happen does the fun cost me, and how long does it take?
    Thank you

  22. I have now read on the internet what the firmware password is... and there is no way to skip it. I bought a macbook air from my friend and he says he has never created such a password, but there is one... what is now my options??
    Thank you

    1. Unfortunately, with a Macbook Air, the only option for you now is to go to the AppleStore. However, you then need proof that the device belongs to you (eg an invoice). Where did your friend get it from? Did he buy it himself? Can you still start normally? If so, everything is fine for now, you can use the device. Sorry, unfortunately there's no other way at the moment, you used to be able to reset the password by changing the RAM, but that's no longer possible with the Air.

  23. Hello, after starting I pressed cmd + r during the starton and a lock appears with a password question.
    That's the same password as for a normal computer start, isn't it? because if I enter it, nothing happens... what should I anticipate then?
    Thanks in advance

  24. Thank you for the fast reaction!
    I want to keep the iMac and just rid it of all the "junk" and still keep "El Capitan"!

    So just wipe the hard drive with Disk Utility? And then I would have an iMac with the hardware from 2009 & the software from 2015? :)

  25. Hallo,
    Thank you for the great description!
    I have an iMac from 2009 and have the latest operating system "El Capitan" installed!
    However, I would now like to delete all data (approx. 350GB) from the hard disk.
    I would like to prevent the iMac from rolling back to the 2009 operating system...
    Is there any possibility?

      1. Thank you for the fast reaction!
        I want to keep the iMac and just rid it of all the "junk" and still keep "El Capitan"!

        So just wipe the hard drive with Disk Utility? And then I would have an iMac with the hardware from 2009 & the software from 2015? :)

  26. Hallo,
    I got a used iMac today. Overzealous as I was, I erased the hard drive and wanted to reinstall OS X (Mavericks for me). Unfortunately, when I try to log in using my Apple ID, it tells me that this item is currently unavailable.
    The previous owner cannot be traced because I received it as a gift from a third party. Now my question:
    Can I reinstall the software without the Apple ID of the predecessor? If so, what are my options?
    iMac is completely new to me.
    I hope for an answer and thank you in advance.

  27. Hello and good day,
    I am a "helpless" Windows switcher.
    Unfortunately, I transferred my photos to the "Photo" - Captain" program. Now I can't get them deleted. Can I also reset my iMac - latest version - in the same way as described above? Or is there another way for Apple laypersons to get rid of pictures. Thanks in advance.

  28. I am so thankful to you!!!
    I'm almost desperate because I don't want to sell my mac, but I want to reset it and wipe the data. I've searched the whole internet. I've probably already installed the os x 4 times but didn't manage to delete the data. I hope it works this time. :)

    1. Hello Mr Rentrop,

      Your explanation on deleting the Macintosh HD is helpful. Also, like the user "hank" and "marcel" at the beginning of these comments, I couldn't erase the system disk itself - only when I selected the "Macintosh HD" icon did it work. But that is not explained under step 2 and on the picture you can see that the system hard drive (first symbol) was selected. My assumption is that you can't erase the system disk because otherwise you would accidentally erase the recovery part as well, which you need later???
      Would it be useful to clarify that?
      Thank you.

      1. Hello, thanks for the hint. Now I finally know what the commentators meant when they said it wouldn't work :) I've formulated step 2 more clearly now, maybe it'll help better now.

  29. I have the same problem as yasmindi. I press cmd+r and get to said menu. But when I go to the hard disk settings, I only have "First Aid" and "Partition" to choose from. I don't see the "delete" section at all. Didn't read an answer to this above so please help.

  30. Hi all!
    First of all, thank you for this guide. However, I have the following problem: At point 5, I get the message "An error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running the program again.” If I then click ok, I'm back in the OS X Utilities window. I can't get any further. It is a white MacBook 13 inch from late 2009.
    Does anyone have any other ideas?... Oh, and the device is no longer stored in the support profile or in the iCloud.

    Thanks and regards


  31. Oh yes, of course I then try to download Lion OS X normally:
    "Item is currently unavailable, please try again later" message...
    this has been coming for hours...e.g. with a different Apple ID...

  32. Hello all,

    I have the following problem.

    I have a used Macbook Pro from 2011,
    OS is Lion. Selling this, erased the hard drive.

    Then, following your instructions, try to do a recovery online,
    I also had to decrypt my router for the MB Recovery System to recognize it.

    Then my MB downloads something for about 8 minutes and tries to boot with the Apple logo etc., but I always get back to the gray installation area automatically.
    Even after a reboot.


  33. Hello!
    Unfortunately, I can only get to point 6. My Apple ID is XNUMX% correct and I've already tried other Apple IDs. Unfortunately, I keep getting the message that the Apple ID is wrong and I should change my password (which I've already done out of desperation, but it didn't help)
    I am already despairing. Unfortunately, the battery ran out during the El Capitan. I know this is very bad. Should I rather have the macbook sent in? I've only had it for 2 weeks :(
    Thanks in advance

  34. hello, i want to remotely control garageband on imac from my iphone 4s. found your site and instructions, sounded easy and successful. I did and installed everything as described, but after opening the vnc viewer, the imac does not appear there - wifi is activated on both devices. what can i do or did i do something wrong?
    Thanks and regards

  35. Hello, the installation doesn't work for me. After entering the Apple ID and password, I get the message "This item is temporarily unavaible." What should I do now?
    Lg Vanessa

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Admittedly, that's a shot in the dark, but that sounds like a server error on Apple's part. They're pretty busy right now with the launch of El Capitan. I would just try again in a few days ;)

  36. Wow that was really quick help thank you very much.
    Os x Yosemite, yes very strange at the beginning it's about 2 hours and at the end when you think it's done it's 2 hours and 15 minutes.
    I had it running overnight on lan is already my third attempt.

    And one more question for me is the 500 gb hard drive patonated on 2 hard drives, no idea why, but I can't delete the second one, do you have another tip?

    Ps: Thanks again for the good description and quick help I'm really convinced of you (Y)


  37. Hallo,
    Selling my mac book pro 2012.
    Unfortunately, it always hangs up at step 7 towards the end, then it says 2h 15min even though the bar is already full.
    Please help quickly.

    Thanks in advance Julian

    1. It takes a while, so I would just wait and see - which system is on it? If it doesn't work at all: Call up the Internet recovery with (alt)+(cmd)+(R) at the gong, flatten everything again and start the installer there. Ideally, you should connect the Macbook to the router using a LAN cable.

  38. I am planning to sell my MacBook Pro (late 2011).
    If I reset it now, will it have the OS X it came with?
    Because I currently have Yosemite on it and would like to sell it with it.

  39. I uninstalled Windows via bootcamp and then only had the windows partition available as "free memory". But could no longer map this partition to the Mac partition and make a large partition. Then set up the MacBook Air (early 2015) again. The installation process supposedly lasts more than 14 hours(!!) and it's getting longer. Not less. The blue bar is no more. Can the system hang up? Tried it twice now... Runs and runs...

  40. "...the "overwrite" options don't make sense with SSDs. "
    Why? How else do I ensure that all data has been securely erased; especially since pretty much all new mac's come with ssd...
    Disable the computer in iTunes...
    Deregister the computer from i-cloud...
    Log off computer from i-message...
    and so on…

    Regards, Christian...

  41. Right, you're right! Turn on DHCP! So I'll try it.
    Or., that occurs to me, ... The FB has a DHCP - guest access! ?

  42. Thank you for your prompt reply!
    Of course that would work too.
    But I also have fixed IP addresses on the Ethernet!

  43. Hallo,
    great site here! :-)
    If I now "flatten" my iMac and want to reinstall the system, I need WLAN. My WLAN at home works with fixed IP addresses. Is it possible at some point during the course of the new installation to enter a fixed IP address?
    LG Martin

  44. Hallo,
    reset an older Macbook Air with OS 10.7 today. When I sign in via Itunes and LION 10.7 (which wants to be installed there) Apple fails to load "This item is temporarily unavailable". What can I do to get a system on it again?!

  45. After a factory reset, the system was erased, but the Mac Mini was able to access the Internet and download the OSX without entering the WiFi password. How can I delete the saved WiFi password?

    1. The password may be stored in PRAM. So perform a PRAM reset by pressing and holding the key combination (cmd)+(alt)+(p)+(r) before the start gong and hold it down until you hear the start gong a second time.

  46. Hello, I have step 2. Format and name as well as the "delete" button are greyed out, although I am an administrator.

  47. I have a problem, i reset my mac mini the way it was supposed to, but now i have the problem that my mac mini no longer finds a wifi network, what can i do to make it find the wifi again?

  48. When deleting the hard disk, the following error occurred. Medium could not be deactivated. Please give us feedback

  49. The instructions on how to erase all data on my iMac were perfect and everything worked as described! But now I would like to call up its data for the sale of the iMac, i.e. storage capacity, RAM, etc., precisely the information that is stored in "About this Mac".
    How do I get this data without setting up the iMac – that's supposed to be left to the buyer?

    1. Normally this should be on the packaging. Otherwise, you also have the option of quickly booting the device with the system of another Mac using Target Disk mode, then you can access the system information. The only thing you need to keep in mind is RAM (if you have upgraded from the original configuration). Another option is to google the model number or use a program like Mactracker.

    1. no You then have to reinstall it, like all other programs that do not belong to Mac OS X. If it is to be sold with the computer, I would simply include it (serial number and CD) or just keep it and install it on the new Mac.

  50. I aborted the restore process at point 6 because I didn't have my Apple ID. How do I get back to this point?

  51. I just sold my IMac latest version. Then reset everything to factory defaults. But I had MS Office for Mac 2011 on it... I gave the license key and product ID, since everything was deleted. How does the new owner get the MS Office package back on?

  52. Hi all,
    I only get to point 5 when I put it on again. Then a message comes up
    "An error occurred while preparing to install. Try running the program again"
    I must have done this 20 times
    The Mac got a new hard drive because the old one gave up the ghost.
    It is also connected to the Internet via a long cable.
    What could that be?

      1. Hey, I have the same problem MacBook from 2009 and no matter what I do it always says an error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running the program again...

        And yes, the partitions are correct, I just 'installed' El Capitan using Time Machine Backup. Then reboot and use CMD+R to go to recovery. Started the installation again and the error message persists...

        I have that not only with one but also with 3 other Macs.

        Do you have a tip? I suspect it has something to do with the OS X version shipped, I think it was on the Loin boxes...



  53. Hello Christian, I'm trying to reinstall Yosemite right now after I've deleted the data according to your description... But that doesn't work at all, the installation runs and runs but it just doesn't go any further (almost 2 days now!).
    Do you have any idea what could be wrong and what I can do?

  54. I rebuilt the system as above and sold the MacBook. The new owner is now asked for the user password when installing new software, for example...? Can this be?

  55. The previous owner has to do the deregistration.
    In my case, I am the previous owner and I deregistered it myself. Maybe that's where the problem lies?

  56. exactly the same for me .. I can already do that with my apple id, right? or should the predecessor have done it?

  57. Hello
    great description
    i bought a macbook air in the ricardo win and wanted to reinstall ea for myself.
    everything works up to the step where i want to reload os x lion, i get the message: not available.. what do i have to do now?!

      1. Yes, that's the only way I can get to "OS X Utilities". Then partition deleted... reinstall OS X... entered Apple ID and then comes the message that the item is temporarily unavailable...

  58. Hello, I'm failing to reinstall my Macbook Air Late 2010 (I want to sell it). At the beginning I can select the installation for Lion and after entering my Apple ID I keep getting the message that the article is temporarily unavailable. I had Yosemite (and Mavericks before that) up until last week. Does anyone have an idea how I can proceed? I can also only select Lion for the new installation when selecting at the beginning.
    Thank you in advance.

  59. Hallo,
    I reset my MacBook Air early 2014 for sale yesterday. The buyer wrote to me today that he could only reinstall the Iworks apps for a fee.
    However, I had the apps with me when I bought the Air and I thought they would be included again after the new installation.
    Is there a way to reload them free of charge or to apply for a recovery stick or disc if necessary?
    Unfortunately, the support was not available today, i.e. on Sundays

      1. Hmm, I think I did that. I have it with me removed and logged out of the AppStore app and iMessage. Then I formatted the hard drive.
        The new owner also has the device back in their support profile and logged in to the AppStore app and the iMessage app with their ID. However, the download of iWork etc. will only be possible for an additional fee. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any help in Apple Support either

      2. Hmm, I think I did that. I have it with me removed and logged out of the AppStore app and iMessage. Then I formatted the hard drive.
        The new owner also has the device back in their support profile and logged in to the AppStore app and the iMessage app with their ID. However, the download of iWork etc. will only be possible for an additional fee. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any help in Apple Support either

  60. I can't do point 2 because I only have first aid or partition to choose from. It is not possible for me to rename the hard drive and then erase it.

  61. @Kenan: No, not every one works. However, you can get a "normal" Snow Leopard DVD, which was not included in the bundle but was also sold freely. Alternatively, you have to look for the boot CDs exactly (!) for your model, for example on Ebay.

  62. I have the same problem as Younes, I get the same message and I can't use (cmd)+(ctrl)+(R) either. It just doesn't work. I have a Mac from 2009 and had 'Mountain Lion' on it when I bought it.
    Please help if possible

    1. Macs that old don't have an internet recovery feature, I'm afraid. I hadn't considered that because the function was only introduced with Lion and the Macbook Airs without a CD drive. Many models have the function upgraded via firmware update, but not all.
      However, if you have such a model, that's not a problem either: install the supplied OS X from CD/DVD by inserting it and holding down (C) during system start. Then download the update to the newer OS X from the AppStore and install it. It's more work, but it works.

      1. Thanks! But is there another way since I already had OS X Mavericks on it. In addition, the CD can no longer be found. Would I still be able to order the CD somewhere else?
        And thanks for the quick reply.

      2. Could I theoretically reorder the cD online? Would it work then?
        Would any recovery CD work or do I need my Mac version CD?

  63. Is it also possible to restore a Macbook Air to its original state without having to reinstall the system? That, for example, all programs and settings are simply deleted or restored to their original state? Thanks.

  64. I reset it now and the spinning globe is there and I connected to the internet but now there is an exclamation point with Apple.con/Support and -2002F what should I do?

  65. Thank you for the great instructions, but unfortunately my MacBook 6,1 does not respond to cmd+r ?! And in Disk Utility it says the disk is corrupt.. But I can't fix that because the device doesn't respond to cmd+r (both keys work normally!)

    Is there another way to reset? :-/

  66. On my iMac's (2009), Mountain Lion was the current operating system. Of course there were always updates. I had upgraded my iMac to OS X Mavericks. After formatting, I was only able to install the original version. I don't know if that applies to iMac's or Macbook's.

  67. a really good description.
    I have a 1 year old IMac and I want to reinstall it to the current OS version instead of the original outdated OS version.
    Is that also possible, or does the web installation always use the version that was installed on the device?

  68. I have the problem that OS X Mountain Lion is no longer temporarily unavailable in the Appstore. Should I really try it later or is there a way to install it from the CD?!

    1. After all, if you sell the Mac, you can revert it to the version of the operating system that originally came with it. To do this, you either take the CDs, if any were included, or you use the Internet recovery: Hold down (cmd)+(alt)+(r) at the start gong and wait until a rotating globe appears. Then connect the computer to the WLAN or network, i.e. the Internet. Mac OS X can also be set up on a new hard drive in this way.

      1. Starting from the CD does not work. I have now purchased Mountain OS X through the Apple Online Store. Now it's time to wait. The customer has already paid. How can I reload the operating system after receiving the code!?

  69. Thanks for the simple instructions! Helped me a lot to get a first overview of the reset.

    In any case, you should make sure that the old Mac is no longer registered with the iCloud devices and if you have registered the system with Apple, there is still the “support profile” at Apple:
    You should then remove the device from there!

    I just bought a used Mac, which I can't store in the support profile because it's already assigned to another data record..

  70. I did everything up to point 5. Then I switched off my mac when I switched it on again, a file image flashed - can I still install osx now or is it over now?

    1. No, you just don't have OS X on your hard drive anymore. Press the key combination (cmd)+(R) at startup to start Internet recovery. Here you have to log into the WLAN and can then reset your Mac to factory settings.

  71. Having the same problem as Nicole, "The medium could not be deactivated".
    This always appears when the hard disk should be deleted as described under point 2. Selecting the system hard disk. Is there a solution?

    Thank you

  72. Hello
    I get the message "The medium could not be deactivated".
    What now? I have a MacBook white 2009 and Mavericks on it.
    Thanks and regards

  73. If I enter my Apple ID there as described in point 6, is it still saved on the Mac after the restore? Or is that just for verification? not that the new owner then cheerfully buys in the App Store at my expense.

    Greetings, Jens

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