How to: 7 steps to sell your Mac

Macs hold their value in the second user market very strongly compared to competing platforms. These are the steps you should take to prepare a Mac for sale.

Apple, Mac, selling your Mac, guide, how to

Before you begin,you need an idea of the potential value of the Mac you want to sell. Look at similar models on eBay and use Mac2Sell's online quotation site to help.

Typically you'll clean up the exterior of your Mac, but you should also securely delete your data from your system, which means restoring it to factory settings.

Follow these seven steps:

7 steps to sell your Mac


Before you delete your data you should back your existing information up. Time Machine users should have this backed up already, but it still makes sense to create an additional bootable clone of your Mac.

To achieve this use Carbon Copy Cloner ($39.95) or SuperDuper ($27.95) to create a complete copy of the contents of your Mac on an external hard drive. You will be able to boot up this clone as and when you need any of the data the Mac you are selling contains. Then move to the next step.


Music matters

iTunes users should remember to de-authorize iTunes before selling their systems. This is because you can only have five systems linked to your account.

On the Mac you intend selling launch iTunes and select Store>Deauthorize This Computer. You will be asked for your Apple ID and password to complete this process. You can use the Deauthorize All Systems  command within your iTunes account if you forget this step, but will then need to set all your existing Macs up all over again.


Some Mac techs advise you check the status of FileVault encryption on a drive you intend to sell. Launch System Preferences and select Security & privacy>FileVault. If FileVault is not turned off on your Mac then click the padlock, enter your password to unlock the preferences and turn it off.


Most Mac users run iCloud, Apple's system that keeps your contacts and other information synced between your Mac and iOS devices. If you are selling your Mac, then sign out of your account in the iCloud section of System Preferences, using the Delete from Mac command to remove all your synced data from your Mac.

7 steps to sell your mac


Restart your system while holding down the Command and R keys until the Recovery Mode Utilities window shows up on the display. You will be using its tools to erase your drive.


Launch Disk Utility in Recovery Mode and choose your Startup Disk in the left hand sidebar. Once you've selected the correct disk click the Erase button. While it takes longer, it's advisable to use the Security Zero Data One-Pass option, as it cleans your Mac most effectively. However, both commands will erase the data on your drive. This means that data will not be easily recoverable, which is why we recommend cloning the drive in step one. When the deletion process is complete, exit Disk Utility.

System, system

You now have a Mac with no easily accessible data -- not even an OS. You should reinstall the operating system for the next owner.

  • When you exit Disk Utility select Reinstall OS X.  
  • In Recovery Mode your Mac will download and install a fresh copy of OS X Mavericks.
  • When installation is complete you will be asked for your Apple ID and password: don't enter this information -- let the next owner use their own credentials to take complete control of their new Mac.

Following these steps will ensure you leave no personal data on any Mac you sell.

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