Secure Erase an Apple SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by silverjam, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. silverjam, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    silverjam macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    This post provides a Secure Erase (SE) procedure for the Apple (Samsung) SSD on a MacBook Air 2011 (A1369). I cannot confirm it works on any other Mac other than the one I tested it on. I say "I can't confirm" because I am not willing to make the bold statement that this "Works on Apple SSD's". Having said that and noting the relative similarity across MacBooks (as opposed to PCs) I would be surprised if this procedure did not work on other Macs.

    NOTE: THIS PROCEDURE WIPES ALL YOUR DATA, RECOVERY PARTITION ETC FROM THE SSD. So you need to know how to re-install. On my model that is simply Cmd-R and download Lion to fresh install (to set the Recovery Partition and then load Time Machine/SuperDuper! onto the main drive.

    SE via Parted Magic worked seamlessly except for having to choose the second boot option in the list (boot from CD not RAM). But that was more about boot. If your drive is encrypted then boot via Cmd-R and erase it so you can boot to Option and click CD. Or alternatively, boot via Cmd-R then choose the CD as the startup disk,

    If you don't understand SE or think it is about overwriting then google the subject first so you understand what this procedure is about. Its a 10 second procedure (Sort of like the principle behind PRAM reset) once you understand it. It basically resets your SSD to factory state. You end up with a brand new drive that is also crystal clean. You also get the performance gains from this as you effectively have a brand new drive (noting there will still have been general wear on the cells).

    Basically use Parted Magic (PM). Download the iso and drop it into the lower part of the left main window in the Disk Utility in OSX. Then right click on the file when it appears and click Burn. Then boot into Parted Magic via CD. I used an Apple Super Drive.

    Download page:

    PM should boot up. I chose the second option to load from the CD because the first option didn't work. Then follow the procedure as set out in the various links below.

    Main point to note: Yes the SSD appeared frozen but the "sleep" button procedure worked a treat!! No hot plugging, closing lids etc etc. Brilliant Linux GUI is all I can say. Also note I did both Standard and Enhanced (See Video in below link where he chooses not to take Enhanced). I believe Enhanced also resets the over-provisioned part of the SSD so you get the whole spread.

    Check these links for procedures.

    Video in the above one is good.



    Update: I can confirm the procedure works for me on the MBA 2010, MBA 2011, MM Server 2011, MM 2011.
  2. shiny-blanket macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2007
    Thanks for this, did you create the partition table afterwards?
  3. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    there is an easier way.

    download Recovery Disk Assistant from Apple

    install Recovery Disk onto a small capacity usb

    startup from same, run Disk Utility and erase your SSD from there
  4. VNM macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2009
    I don't believe that is a secure erase. You can zero out in disk utility but not SE (at least in Snow Leopard...).
  5. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Nice work. I ran this on my 2011 MBA. It worked well.


    This is conventional overwriting, not secure erasing an SSD. There is a big difference.
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
  7. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    That's an option but it's not the same. Also secure erase only take 10 seconds and a minute or so to boot up. Secure erase resets the NAND. There is no writing across the whole drive. You also get speed advantages because you have a near new SSD. It is the only way to truly erase an SSD because you reset all the NAND including the over provisioned part.

Share This Page