Recently got a new Macbook Pro 13″ and I'm preparing my old Macbook Air for sale. I'm following steps in the Apple Support article on this topic (as well as other similar articles I've found).

I'm currently at the stage of Erasing the startup disk. I've booted my machine with ⌘R and am running Disk Utility. Initially I was able to set Security Options to Most Secure (7 pass zeros), but after I clicked Erase there was some error and it said it could not be completed.

Now Security Options is grayed out (unavailable), however Erase is still available.

The error occurred after only seconds, so I'm assuming it did not actually complete a 7 pass erase and rewrite before stopping. Guessing that means my data is still there and relatively accessible.

Is there anyway to re-access the Security Options and get this thing to securely wipe from this point?

2 Answers 2


Interesting - so apparently, according to Apple Security Options is grayed out on SSD's because erasing an SSD normally is secure enough:

Note: With OS X Lion and an SSD drive, Secure Erase and Erasing Free Space are not available in Disk Utility. These options are not needed for an SSD drive because a standard erase makes it difficult to recover data from an SSD. For more security, consider turning on FileVault 2 encryption when you start using the SSD drive.

I'm actually on Mavericks, but I'm assuming this article merely hasn't been updated to reflect Mavericks yet.

  • I've had a similar experience. I want to securely erase a FV-encrypted SSD, but my attempt failed quickly with an error (the option to do so was enabled), but the drive seemed to have been "erased" in some form anyway and I proceeded to reinstall OSX. I don't know where I am now though. Is this the correct procedure? Have I performed the "official" ("secure") erase procedure for a FV-encrypted SSD after all (error message and nearly instant completion notwithstanding)?
    – orome
    Aug 26, 2014 at 16:00

Yes, it is possible to re-enable secure erase. All you need to do is to format the partition once again. Just make sure you select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)", with any password that you will remember (just in case). Once formatted, the "Security Options" button will be available again, and you can securely wipe out the partition!

  • ahhhh, this answer worked! Jun 5, 2016 at 3:45
  • Mavericks - doesn't work: Erase to encrypted, then Erase to unencrypted doesn't show the security options.
    – GlennG
    Feb 1, 2020 at 15:43

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