At work I use an iMac which I'm going to have to reset to factory settings after my job ends. Since I only have access to slow, unstable internet, I thought it might save some time to download the El Capitan installer from the App Store in advance and create a bootable installer drive, rather than using internet recovery.

After I (erase the drive and) use the bootable installer to reinstall the operating system, will the resulting installation be associated with my Apple ID in any way? Or more generally, will it have any personal information associated with me? I'd like to leave a completely fresh, un-personalized installation of OS X for whoever is going to use the computer next.


If by reinstall the OS, you simply mean reinstall it and not run first-time setup, the resulting installation will not be associated with you in any way.

If you intend to run first-time setup, obviously do not login with your Apple ID during that process, and of course don't input any personally-identifiable information either.

There is metadata in a receipt file in the installer file itself that is associated with your Apple ID. That is not transferred to the resulting installation, though.

  • OK, cool. That's not a problem for me as I don't expect to be sharing the installer file or the bootable drive with anyone. (And in any case, I don't need to hide the fact that I was the last one to use the computer or that the installer was downloaded using my account.) Do you have a reference for your answer? It's a perfectly good answer without one, but I would like it even more with a link to documentation or something to back it up, if there is any official documentation on such things.
    – David Z
    Sep 17 '16 at 19:24
  • The only way for it to be associated with you is if you run first-time setup and enter your information (login with your Apple ID, etc) as this information is not carried in the installer. I don't have a reference other than having installed it myself.
    – tubedogg
    Sep 17 '16 at 21:56
  • The purchase info is stored in /Applications/Install OS X El Capitan.app/Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt (in an opaque format). I haven't checked, but I think you can remove that file and it'll still work. BTW I'd recommend saving the entire installer application, since I've seen installer disks get into weird states, and if you have the .app you can aways recreate the disk. Sep 17 '16 at 22:09
  • @GordonDavisson To clarify, I meant that it didn't carry all of your account information to automatically set it up once installed, as that was the OP's primary concern.
    – tubedogg
    Sep 17 '16 at 22:10
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    @tubedogg, The first part, "The resulting installation will not be associated with you in any way" is only true if you do not create a login with your Apple ID, yes your said that in a comment and it should be apart of the answer, not left just in the comment alone. That is really way I was trying to communicate and I apologize for that not being clear, sorry. Sep 19 '16 at 23:47

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