I'm selling my MacBook to a friend and obviously want to return it to its newborn state before I do so, following the steps outlined in the Apple support article, What to do before you sell or give away your Mac.

What I can't tell, however, is whether non-standard apps such as Excel for Mac will remain on the MacBook after the process is completed. It would be useful for her to have them.

  • 2
    Well, erasing the HD does erase it, that‘s the whole idea here. There may also be licensing issues involved when passing applications to somebody else
    – nohillside
    Jun 6, 2018 at 7:22

3 Answers 3



Formatting your hard disk and performing a fresh installation of macOS will delete all the apps (both Apple and 3rd party) which are installed on top of fresh install of macOS.

As per your requirements, you can take either one of the following two approaches:

  1. Erase your hard drive and reinstall macOS

  2. Create a brand new administrative user account and delete all the other accounts in the system.

However, irrespective of whichever two of the above approach you take, make sure to backup/move all your data from the MacBook (primarily from under your home directory), sign out of all the Apple services from your account (iCloud, iMessage, iTunes, Mac App Store), remove any saved Wi-Fi passwords and other sensitive items in the Keychain and unpair any paired Bluetooth device(s).

If you take the second approach from the list above, all the installed apps (other than the ones available in a fresh install of macOS) will continue to remain available on your Mac.

However, as mentioned by @nohillside, there may be licensing issues for commercial apps.

When following the second approach, you'll have to login once into the new account and delete all the accounts from Users & Groups in System Preferences.


Straight answer is Yes.

As you format the HD, all contents are deleted. With the new installation of macOS, you will have only Apple apps. Third party apps will be deleted. Your friend can install third party apps as per his/her liking.


If you wipe the HD and reinstall MacOS, and the laptop isn't restored from a backup or signed in to your app store account it won't have any apps that didn't come with it originally.

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