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MM Answers: what are the steps before selling or donating a Mac?

Sunday day MM Answers! ?

The question of the day:

What are the steps before selling or donating a Mac?


If you have an external HDD or an AirPort Time Capsule, the most recommended option for backup comes under a nice name: Time Machine.

Backing up via Time Machine

To activate the feature, go to Time Machine System Preferences, choose the location to save the backup (your external HDD) and that's it! Now just wait for the backup to be done which can take a long time depending on the amount of files / applications you have. The entire process, once activated, starts to be done automatically and you no longer need to worry about anything.

If you don't want to save all the files on your Mac, the other option is to drag your folders (Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, etc.), sources and everything else that is important to you manually to the external HDD.


As you are going to sell / donate the Mac, removing your iCloud account is very important. Most importantly know that you you must not manually delete the data (Safari bookmarks sites, calendars, contacts, documents, iTunes Cloud items, emails, notes, photos and reminders); if you do, they will also be excluded from iCloud servers.

Removing an iCloud account on Mac

Instead of deleting them, log out and disable "Find My Mac". To do this, go to ICloud System Preferences and click on the button ?End Session?. Thus, the system will automatically remove the data only from the Mac that you intend to undo by also disabling the ?Search My Mac? feature, after all it will no longer be yours.


Deauthorizing iTunes is also important, but most people simply forget to do so. When you authorize a computer, you allow it to sync / use your apps, audiobooks, books, music, movies or other content purchased on iTunes / iBooks / App Store with your Apple ID.

Deauthorizing iTunes

To deauthorize your Mac, open iTunes and, in the "Store" menu, select the "Deauthorize This Computer" option (in older versions of iTunes, access this option in the "Advanced" menu). When prompted, enter your Apple ID and password, and click "Deauthorize".

Remembering that you can use or sync purchases in the iTunes Store on up to five different computers, whether they are Macs or PCs plus information on authorization / disallowing in this support article.

Erasing your Mac

If you are changing machines or just sold your Mac, it is highly recommended that you erase your HDD / SSD before handing it over to the new owner. To do this, follow these steps to enter OS X Recovery Mode:

  1. Restart the computer by holding down the R keys during the restart;
  2. If you are not connected to the internet, choose a network from the Wi-Fi menu (in the upper right corner of the screen);
  3. Select the Disk Utility and click "Continue";
  4. Select the Macintosh HD in the left list and click on the ?Delete? tab;

How to erase the disc in Disk Utility

  1. In the "Format" pop-up menu, choose the option "OS X Expanded (Chronological Reg.)", Type a name for your disk (Macintosh HD) and click "Delete";
  2. After the disc is erased, exit Disk Utility;
  3. Select "Reinstall OS X" and follow the instructions.

If your older Mac or still runs versions like OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), you will not have Recovery Mode available when giving the boot on your machine and you can use the following alternative ways to erase your HDD:

  • Target Disk Mode: connect two Macs with support for Thunderbolt / FireWire connection, press the T key and turn them on. Open Disk Utility and erase the Mac disk that will be passed on.
  • External HDD / USB stick: connect your external disk or flash drive that contains the OS X bootable system; when you start your Mac, press the key (Option), select the external drive that was connected, open Disk Utility, erase the Mac's HDD and reinstall the system.

MM Frum and used table

If you bought a new Mac and want to sell your old one, be sure to advertise in MM Frum Classifieds and / or consult the amount you can get for your machine in our used table.

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