I want to sell my iMac (2011) and I want to reset the system and remove all my data. I tried the Command-R method. It wants me to enter my Apple ID and password but I don't want to do this! I want to pre-install the fresh OS X and let the new user finish the set up as he would after buying a new iMac (enter/create his own Apple id, time zone, etc.).

Any ideas how I can do this?

  • Did you try doing it and seeing what happens? – asmeurer Sep 29 '12 at 4:46

Try this SE question and answer:

Actually, you should be able to do it by removing a hidden system file which tells OS X that setup has run.

It's a hidden file, so you will have to remove it using Terminal, or show hidden files in Finder. You can remove the file like so:

rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

...then restart your computer immediately.


Based on this answer and personal experience with a Yosemite iMac I recommend

  1. Hold +R during boot to boot to recovery console.
  2. Use Disk tool to erase main partition.
  3. Exit disk tool, launch system reinstallation instead.

I was very surprised that skipping step 2 I ended up with a fresh install which nevertheless contained the account I had on the machine before. Not factory default.

The disk erase step allows choosing the tradeoff between speed and security. So if you have personal data on the machine, better do a slow but thorough erase there.


The only way reinstall MacOS X avoiding the new user to be asked for your Apple ID are next:

  • Erase and install from Internet Recovery CMD + ALT + R (if your mac is at least mid 2011 and later).

  • If your mac is early 2011, it was probably build in with 10.6 snow leopard, so you will need the original installation DVD.

  • A third option, it is advance but would solve your problem, it is to create a bootable disk and give it to the new owner so He can install directly from the bootable disk without Apple ID. You can find the steps in the official Apple article https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht201372

Good luck!


There are 2 ways to reset. Either you can reinstall the operating system or remove admin and add a new admin. Reinstalling OS required internet connection and OS file, but an admin can be removed and added without Internet. It will remove all the data from existing account that is kind of reset. This could be helpful; http://www.techgrapple.com/factory-reset-macbook-pro-air-imac/

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