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Basic steps to consider before selling your Mac

The time comes, and after much thought, you decide to sell your beloved Mac so you can get your hands on the new MacBook Air range. When it comes to selling your device, it’s important to choose the right place to sell it. A copy of your most important information and a good formatting are some of the required steps that we’ll outline below.

If you have in mind to get rid of your device and put it on sale it is essential to know that it is important, advisable and almost mandatory to take some precautions and follow some previous steps before selling it. We will detail, in order, those necessary actions so that, when it reaches our buyer, it is ready and prepared to be used – as if it had been bought from an Apple Store.

Backing up

Basic steps to consider before selling your MacBasic steps to consider before selling your Mac

First and almost certainly the most important of all the steps. When our goal is to get rid of our computer, it will be full of information – documents, photos, music, etc. – personal information that we don’t want to lose. To do this we will need to make a backup of all this data .

One of the fastest and easiest ways to make these copies is Time Machine, which is none other than the backup system that comes integrated into OS X . As easy as pointing out the destination hard drive, click on the Time Machine icon and hit Back Up Now . This will save all your data, applications, settings and more from your computer. This will allow us to migrate all our old data to our new Mac thanks to the Migration Assistant .

We won’t go into more detail regarding backups since, over the last few weeks, our colleague Axel has delighted us with a great and interesting special on backups in OS X where we’ve learned the most basic steps to take before making the copy, how to use Time Machine and other alternatives and many other aspects to take into account.

If you still don’t want to take this step, it would be interesting to move the most important files to a USB stick or an external hard drive . We will always miss some documents and, once we get to the formatting part, we can say goodbye to those that have not been rescued.

Withdraw authorization to our computer from iTunes

We all know that in order to use or play the purchases we make on the iTunes Store our computer must be authorized. Each user with their Apple ID can authorize up to five devices . If a device is not authorized it will not be able to play content from the store.

Because of this, if we are going to sell our Mac, we must disable it so that, from our account we have one more device to authorize . Note that if, for whatever reason, we decide not to get rid of our device, we can re-authorize it without any problem.

To complete the deauthorization we must open iTunes , then go to the Store menu item and select Remove Authorization from this computer .

Formatting the device

Once our data is safe and our computer has been de-authorized it is time to format our hard drive . This will remove all the content from the main memory of the device and will remove any sensitive information – of our property – that may remain on the disk.

To do this, we’re going to reboot our Mac. When it starts, press cmd + R until the Apple icon appears and enter the recovery system . Now select Disk Utility from the menu Utilities . Once inside, click on the main hard drive, select the Delete tab and then within that menu look for the Security Options .

In this menu, we will be given a choice of four security options in erasing . In this case, we either choose the 3 erasing steps or the 7, the two safer but therefore slower options. With this, we will avoid that no data recovery program can rescue our files . After choosing the security option of deletion, let’s move on to the most important step. Turn to choose the Delete option .

To finish this off, let’s clarify that if we have an SSD, we won’t have to select – in fact it doesn’t allow us – any wipe options . Just delete the drive. This particular case is due to the difficulty in recovering data from the disk because of the way the SSD works with the TRIM media to perform the write and read actions.

OS X reinstallation

And we reached the final step. We’re going to install the OS X operating system so that our buyer gets a Mac ready to use. To do this, we’ll go back into the recovery system – if you’ve deleted it you’ll still be in it – and look for the Reinstall OS X option within the Utilities menu. Go ahead and choose the hard drive you want to install it on – the pre-formatted one – and you’re done. OS X, in a matter of minutes, will be installed from scratch . Once the installation is complete we don’t even have to look at the settings. We just turn it off and when the new owner turns it on he will have the satisfaction of starting from scratch.

This way of reinstalling OS X requires an Internet connection as the installer image is retrieved directly from Apple’s servers. If an Internet connection is not available, we must do so directly from a DVD or USB. Remember that OS X Lion, no longer distributes the operating system in physical format so here is an article by our colleague Jordi that explains how to create our boot disk through the image that, from Cupertino, we provide. The process is the same for Lion as for Mountain Lion.


Without a doubt, these are four basic but very necessary steps so that, when it comes to selling our Mac, we can be sure that none of our data is left on it and that the buyer has the satisfaction of having bought a good product . You will be pleased to find a device ready to be switched on and used. Hopefully this will help you and good luck with the sales of your bitten apple equipment.

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