How to Wipe/Factory Reset M1 MacBook Air & Pro

Laptops are a modern miracle, where one doesn’t need to lug around a desktop. Many manufacturers have come up with their own unique laptops, but Apple’s offerings beat them all. The M1 MacBooks reign superior, thanks to its processing power.

MacBooks are powerful – and there are dedicated forums related to that, but that doesn’t mean they are impeccable. M1 Macs still can’t run a few programs; people have reported battery issues and other common problems. But this article will address one common question that many new M1 MacBook owners have – how to factory reset the M1 MacBook Air & Pro.

You will want to reset your M1 MacBook if you plan to give it to your family or friends, sell it, or have a clean slate. But, a simple reset isn’t the option as there are many things you can do.

Many steps lead to the final reset, and I will show you just that with a step-by-step guide. This is why I suggest you bookmark this article for whenever you’d want to factory reset the M1 MacBook Air & Pro.

How to Wipe/Factory Reset M1 MacBook Air & Pro

Keep in mind that we are talking about the Apple Silicon MacBooks and not the regular ones. The M1 completely changes how users access the recovery mode. It is an essential tool that one needs to reinstall macOS or completely wipe the hard drive. Scroll below to find a step-by-step guide to factory reset M1 MacBook Air & Pro.

1. Backup your M1 MacBook

If you want to reset a Mac to its factory settings, you will lose all your data. So, backing up is an obvious first step. For this, we’ll need the Time Machine software. If you are moving to a new Mac, this software makes it quite easy.

You can also opt to clone your hard drive with the help of SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. You don’t have to pay for them, thanks to the trial version each software has to offer.

Backup Your Files on M1 MacBook via the Time Machine

Follow the steps to backup your M1 MacBook via the Time Machine that comes with every Mac.

For this, you will need to connect an external storage device, such as a Thunderbolt drive or a USB, a Network-attached storage (NAS) device that supports Time Machine over SMB, AirPort Time Capsule, or an external drive connected to an AirPort Time capsule or AirPort Extreme Base Station.

  1. To begin the backup, connect your external storage device. Make sure the external device is detected and its icon appears on the desktop.
  2. Now open Time Machine preferences by going in the menu bar > System Preferences > Time Machine.
  3. Tap on ‘Select Backup Disk.’

Now that you have successfully backed up your M1 MacBook, we’ll move on to the next step.

2. Sign out of your accounts and unpair Bluetooth devices

After backing up, you might want to disconnect from the services that you’ve linked in your M1 MacBook. Such services include iCloud account, iTunes, Find My, Messages, etc. I’ll advise you to deauthorize your iTunes Store account and log out. This is essential as you can only use up to five MacBooks to play music and movies locked to your iTunes account.

Unpairing Bluetooth devices is also a necessary step if you want to pass on your Mac to someone else.

3. Access macOS Recovery Mode

After you are done backing up, deauthorizing your accounts, and unpairing Bluetooth devices, you can now erase your M1 MacBook. For this, you will need to enter Recovery mode. This way, you can wipe your MacBook. Keep in mind that the process depends if you have a MacBook other than the M1.

Step 1: Tap on the Apple Menu. Now select ‘Shut Down.’

Step 2: Press and hold the power button to turn on the Mac. You must keep holding the power button.

Step 3: You will soon see that the text switch to “Loading Startup Options“.

Step 4: Now select Options and click Continue. You are now in Recovery mode.

4. Erase the hard drive

You can now erase the hard drive. For M1 Macs, I’ll tell you about the Big Sur method.

Step 1: You’ll need to select Disk Utility from the ‘Utilities‘ option.

Step 2: Now select Macintosh HD or the name that you have given to your hard drive.

Step 3:  Here, you will see numerous options. Select ‘Erase.’ The name of your drive should be visible. Its format should be APFS.

Step 4: Beneath, you should see an option to ‘Delete Volume Group.’ What this does is delete both the Macintosh HD and Macintosh HD Data.

Step 5: Now that you have deleted the Macintosh HD, you can tap on any other drives and volumes. Now select the ‘‘ symbol to delete it.

Step 6: Select ‘Erase Volume Group‘ to ensure that you erase everything.

When the erase process is fully completed, click Done, and then choose Disk Utility > and Quit Disk Utility.

5. Reinstall macOS

Reinstalling macOS is imperative, as you can’t just erase and hand over your MacBook; the other party will see a question mark as they won’t be any OS installed when you erase the drive. You must reinstall macOS before.

(Note: Make sure you’re connected to the Internet.)

Step 1: In the recovery app, click on Reinstall macOS  Big Sur.

Step 2: Now follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall macOS.

Step 3: The MacBook will begin to download and install whichever version of macOS your Mac was running. You can install an older version of macOS.

Step 4: You will have to wait for at least 50 minutes for your Mac to restart. You’ll still have to wait for start-up and watch the white bar.

Step 5: You will soon see your welcome screen. You have successfully reinstalled macOS. If you want to use the Mac, you can set it up, but if you want to see it or give it to someone, you can leave the MacBook as it is.

FAQs

How do I factory reset my MacBook Pro and Air?

To factory reset my MacBook Pro and Air, you will have to shut down your Mac, then turn it on. Now immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. Release them after 20 seconds. This removes user settings from memory and restores certain security features that might have been changed.

Why won’t my Mac let me erase the disk?

You shouldn’t erase the startup disk because your Mac is using it to run macOS. Recovery Mode is a special partition on your MacBook. Through it, you can restore from a backup, reinstall macOS, erase your startup disk, or get online support. You should back up your Mac before trying to wipe it or reformat it.

How do you erase M1 Mac before returning it?

To erase your M1 Mac, tap the Erase button in the toolbar, choose a different name if you want, and format the disk as APFS. Now, click on ‘Erase Volume Group.’ You will have to enter your ‌Apple ID‌ if you are prompted. Select ‘Erase Mac and Restart’ to affirm the action.

How do I wipe my MacBook Pro to sell?

To wipe your MacBook, ensure you shut it down and then turn it on. You’ll have to immediately press and hold Option, Command, P, and R – all at once. Release the keys after 20 seconds or so.

Conclusion

After performing a complete reset on your M1 MacBook, you can sell it to someone or start with a new-like machine. Resetting comes in handy when you pass it on to other people, which removes any information about you. But, what many forget is that the macOS needs to be a working version when it is reinstalled.

Follow the aforementioned step-by-step guide, and you’ll be using your M1 MacBook as if it were new. Tell us in the comments why you’d want to factory reset your M1 MacBook.