My macbook (feb 2008 white) sold on ebay, but I haven't shipped it yet. I'm concerned about my privacy. I can't wipe the hd clean because I sold the computer with valuable software on it. What files should I remove so that the person who receives the computer can't log into my accounts? And what other things should I do to ensure my privacy is safe?
The simple solution
Create a new admin account, then use it to delete your personal account(s).
When you delete a user, you have the option of performing a "secure erase" on their home directory:
Assuming you haven't stored any personal files outside of your home directory, this will do the trick.
The paranoid solution
If you want to be really thorough, the only way to ensure that none of your personal data remains is to securely wipe the drive. You can do this from Disk Utility by clicking "Security Options" on the "Erase" tab:
After that, reinstall your applications. None of your personal data will remain.
Here is another way to do it:
- Create a new user.
- Encrypt the old user's personal folder with FileVault using an insane random password. (E.g. 100 random characters.)
- Remove old user and select to remove user data.
As all the old user's file are encrypted and then erased, even if those files are restored they would be useless without the encryption key.
This solution assumes that no software is installed as "for this user only" as that software would be removed with the old user.
Don't skip the first steps of the process: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201065
Especially signing out of iTunes is very much recommended to avoid running into limitations of the maximum number of the devices active.
Here is one way to do it:
- Take a full backup
- Secure wipe the hard drive. (Software like DBAN should do the job nicely.)
- Reinstall Mac OS
- Restore apps, but not personal files, from the backup.
A guide from here https://macback.us/sell-macbook-pro/
1 - Create a backup 2 - Sign out of iTunes 3 - Sign out of iCloud 4 - Sign out of iMessage 5 - Erase and reinstall OS X
you can also use
rm -rfP ~/stuff. usage with
sudo may or may not also be required
from there you can target various folders and files for secure deletion
-P Overwrite regular files before deleting them. Files are overwritten three times, first with the byte pattern 0xff, then 0x00, and then 0xff again, before they are deleted.
keep in mind that if you are removing symbolic links you are only removing their references and not the origin files.