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It's been a few days since Apple announced macOS Monterey, and we continue to dig through new features that weren't mentioned during the WWDC keynote, including a much more convenient way of erasing a Mac.

macos-monterey-setup-assistant.jpg

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone and iPad, the Mac has gained an "Erase All Content and Settings" option on macOS Monterey. The option allows you to erase all user data and user-installed apps from your Mac without needing to reinstall the macOS operating system, making it far easier to restore a Mac to like-new factory settings.

From the macOS Monterey features page on Apple's website:
Erase all contents and settings
System Preferences now offers an option to erase all user data and user-installed apps from the system, while maintaining the operating system currently installed. Because storage is always encrypted on Mac systems with Apple silicon or the T2 chip, the system is instantly and securely "erased" by destroying the encryption keys.
In the macOS Monterey beta, the new option can be found by opening the System Preferences app, clicking on System Preferences in the menu bar at the top of the screen, and clicking on "Erase All Content and Settings" in the drop-down menu. An administrator password is required to proceed with restoring the Mac to factory settings.

Erasing a Mac running an earlier version of macOS requires formatting the startup disk and reinstalling macOS, so this new option will make it far more convenient to restore your Mac to factory settings, whether you simply want to start fresh with your Mac or are planning to sell or gift the Mac to another person. After erasing a Mac, it will display the Setup Assistant and be ready to be set up like new.

macOS Monterey is available now in beta for developers, with a public beta to follow in July.

Article Link: macOS Monterey Allows You to Erase a Mac Without Needing to Reinstall the Operating System
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
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Chicago
When I sold a MacBook last year it was a real pain to wipe and reinstall MacOS. Took many hours as I had a slow internet connection. An option like this would’ve been great.

This will make it also a lot less of a pain to do an occasional reset if things ever start slowing down or having random software issues.

Edit: Since I haven't used Windows in a while I didn't realize they had this also. Anyway, it's still good its here on the Mac!
 
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patearrings

macrumors regular
Mar 4, 2009
143
67
Also as per the highlighted text, does this only work for either apple silicon and t2 macs? i.e any imac before 2020 wont be able to do it?
 
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mannyvel

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2019
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This is because they split the volume into the system and user volumes. Blast the user volume and ta-da! The system is clean and ready to go.

I suspect/hope that if you turn off SIP this won't work, since there's no way for the system to guarantee you didn't mess with the system volume.
 
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peter108

macrumors newbie
May 20, 2021
13
5
Wow. This is great. Is it still necessary to unlink your apps and sign out of iCloud as is currently the case?
 
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mi7chy

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2014
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Guess Apple listened to all the complaints with how broken resetting Big Sur is relative to other OS' like Windows 10.

Now if Apple can fix palm rejection on Big Sur.
 
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pi6xjdskfa

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2014
32
1
will this erase all the cruft that builds up in os x months after install? every time i clean install my mac runs super fast and lot more space on ssd even after i move all files to backup drive before reinstall.
 
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