Protect Your Data When Selling Your Mac

No matter the reason you are selling your Apple Mac you should always think about your data, that is the files, photos, videos and other documents on your computer.

Firstly ask yourself, do I have a copy of the information that is important to me?

Secondly, is the information on your computer sensitive? Would it be bad if someone else got the files that are on your computer?

If you answered yes to the last question you need to follow the following steps to securely destroy your files that are on the computer that you wish to sell.

  1. If you are selling your Apple product to WhatNeXT Computers you can skip all these steps. We guarantee your data will be wiped within an hour of you leaving your machine with us. Furthermore we are compliant with U.S. Department of Defence 5220-22-M Standards so you know your data will be securely wiped and unretrievable, keeping your private data, private.
  2. If you aren’t selling your machine to WhatNeXT Computers or you’d like to be extremely careful with you data, these are the options available to you:
    • Boot to Recovery partition and Wipe and Re-install your system (recommended)
    • Internet Recovery Boot your machine and Wipe and Re-install your system (requires internet connection)
    • Purchase a re-install USB for you machine from WhatNeXT
    • Sell the machine without the storage devices such as your hard drive or SSD (will reduce the value of the machine, do not attempt to remove the hard drive yourself as you may damage the machine)

Boot from Recovery

To boot to your recovery partition:

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Press and hold the option/alt key
  3. Press the power button
  4. Release the option/alt key when a list of hard drives are displayed on the screen
  5. Use the arrow keys or your mouse to move to and select the Recovery disk (If there is only one option, likely called Macintosh HD, you can’t use this method and you will have to turn one of the other methods above)
  6.  Once the Recovery partition has booted click on the menu option “Utilities”
  7. Select Disk Utility
  8. Select your hard drive on the left hand side (again this is likely called Macintosh HD)
  9. Select Erase at top middle of the panel
  10. Change to GUID and Journaled if the dropdowns are not already configured that way. The name of the drive is not important but it is important to remember the name you put in this field.
  11. If you have multiple hard drives in your machine complete steps 8 to 10 for each drive
  12. Your hard drives are now erased
  13. Close / Quit Disk Utility
  14. You should be presented the screen shown earlier with the second option allowing you to install or reinstall the operation system. It is option to re-install the system to protect your data however it does allow you to show that the machine is working to the buyer (it’s also a nice thing to do if you have time)
  15. Select Install or Re-install macOS
  16. Follow the steps as instructed
  17. When prompted to select a hard drive select the drive you previously wiped and re-named
  18. Wait roughly 10-30 minutes for the install complete (this will vary based on the computer you have and the system you are installing)
  19. Go get a coffee or a tea while you wait.
  20. The machine will automatically reboot and offer options for the language to be used on the Mac, this means you have successfully installed the operating system.

 

Boot from Internet Recovery

This option requires an internet connection and a download allowance of 4 to 8GB. If possible we would recommend you attempt to try and boot from the recovery partition as described above. If that isn’t an option for you try the following:

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Press and hold the COMMAND + R keys
  3. Press the power button
  4. Release the COMMAND + R keys when the Apple logo appears with a global of a world below it
  5. Go grab a snack or a coffee as this can take a long time (depending on your internet connection’s speed)
  6.  Once the Internet Recovery partition has booted click on the menu option “Utilities”
  7. Select Disk Utility
  8. Select your hard drive on the left hand side, this is likely called Macintosh HD
  9. Select Erase at top middle of the panel
  10. Change to GUID and Journaled if the dropdowns are not already configured that way. The name of the drive is not important but it is important to remember the name you put in this field.
  11. If you have multiple hard drives in your machine complete steps 8 to 10 for each drive
  12. Your hard drives are now erased
  13. Close / Quit Disk Utility
  14. You should be presented the screen shown earlier with the second option allowing you to install or reinstall the operation system. It is option to re-install the system to protect your data however it does allow you to show that the machine is working to the buyer (it’s also a nice thing to do if you have time, HOWEVER if you are completing the install via this method it will take a long time so it’s not recommended that you bother with the re-install of the system)
  15. Select Install or Re-install macOS
  16. Follow the steps as instructed
  17. When prompted to select a hard drive select the drive you previously wiped and re-named
  18. Wait for the system to install. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few day depending on your internet connection’s speed. We recommend that if you do complete the install via this method that you leave it overnight so you don’t sit watching it in frustration.
  19. Wake up from a good night’s sleep
  20. The machine will automatically reboot and offer options for the language to be used on the Mac, this means you have successfully installed the operating system.

Buy a Bootable USB From WhatNeXT

This is the best method of wiping, re-installing or updating your old or current machine. It is reusable, fast and reliable. We recommend this option if you don’t have a recovery partition or you have a slow internet connection. We also offer bootable systems on a USB so you can use the external USB as your hard drive and have all your apps, files and settings on one small portable USB memory stick.

  1. Contact us via http://www.whatnextcomputers.com/#contact
  2. We will send you a USB with a bootable installer
  3. Plug it into a spare USB port
  4. Press and hold the option/alt key
  5. Press the power button
  6. Release the option/alt key when a list of hard drives are displayed on the screen
  7. Use the arrow keys or your mouse to move to and select the Orange installer disk
  8. Once it has booted click on the menu option “Utilities”
  9. Select Disk Utility
  10. Select your hard drive on the left hand side (again this is likely called Macintosh HD)
  11. Select Erase at top middle of the panel
  12. Change to GUID and Journaled if the dropdowns are not already configured that way. The name of the drive is not important but it is important to remember the name you put in this field.
  13. If you have multiple hard drives in your machine complete steps 8 to 10 for each drive
  14. Your hard drives are now erased
  15. Close / Quit Disk Utility
  16. You should be presented the screen shown earlier with the second option allowing you to install or reinstall the operation system. It is option to re-install the system to protect your data however it does allow you to show that the machine is working to the buyer (it’s also a nice thing to do if you have time)
  17. Select Install or Re-install macOS
  18. Follow the steps as instructed
  19. When prompted to select a hard drive select the drive you previously wiped and re-named
  20. Wait roughly 10-30 minutes for the install complete (this will vary based on the computer you have and the system you are installing)
  21. Go get a coffee or a tea while you wait.
  22. The machine will automatically reboot and offer options for the language to be used on the Mac, this means you have successfully installed the operating system.

*Note that there are other people that will offer bootable USB installers for Mac OS X, we are one of many suppliers. We can not guarantee these steps will work with other providers installers, however it should be essentially the same. If you are outside of Australia these other providers may be cheaper because postage from Australia to other countries is high. We suggest you do however research in depth the other providers to make sure they are reputable and aren’t providing a faulty or malicious product.

 

Sell Your Mac without a Hard Drive

This is our least recommended option as it will decrease the value of the Mac you are selling. In the case of newer Macs the SSD inside the computer is a special preparatory PCI-E connection so it will only be able to be reused and accessed with a specialised hard drive dock (costing $200+) or another Mac of the same model.

It is also rare that anyone will take the time to recover your deleted files as it takes roughly 48 hours per terabyte to recover files that have been emptied from the trash. If you change the security option in Disk Utility to the U.S. Military Standard of 7 times write over like we do here at WhatNeXT Computers it will take roughly a day per terabyte to wipe your data and place fake data over it 7 times. The result is unrecoverable files and even with professional data recovery and data reconstruction files are untraceable and completely destroyed.

If you are still hell bent on removing your hard drive we highly recommend you leave it to a professional. Take the machine, prior to sale to an Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Store and have them remove the hard drive for you. Note this may incur a fee.

We don’t recommend that you have the company or individual that is buying the machine remove the hard drive for you, especially if its an iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Retina Display or a Mac Pro (2013 or newer). Only allow the company or individual that is purchasing the machine from you remove the hard drive for you they have confirmed that they have an Apple Authorised Service Technician on staff. These individuals are highly trade and tested at working with Apple devices and should be the only people you trust with your machine when removing a hard drive. At WhatNeXT Computers, all our staff are or have been Apple or Apple Authorised Service Provider employees so they are certified Apple technicians with the very best knowledge of your machine and will be able to remove your hard drive promptly, safely and free of charge*

*If you are selling us the machine

 

Legacy Methods

For older machines that don’t support Recovery partitions or Internet Recovery (machines older that 2008) your only options is to use a USB or DVD media installer. WhatNeXT Computers sells USB installers for anything as far back as Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard but DVD copies of operating systems are harder to come by. Don’t forget your Mac shipped with an installer disc in the box so if you still have the box in the roof you will be able to boot of the DVD the same as you would a USB installer (the instructions are above). If not, try eBay or contact us: http://www.whatnextcomputers.com/#contact

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