I recently got a retina MBP and I would like to give my former MBP to my sister, How do I clean it out the "Apple way" rather than just manually deleting all my files. I would prefer if it ran smoothly like a new MBP to give her the full "Mac welcome experience" Are there steps for this? I have already migrated all my info to my new one.

  • For the hyper paranoid you could try dban.org on the drive first, completely wiping it. then reinstall the OS. Though I'm not sure I have the time to test before making this an answer :-/
    – hoss
    Jul 8, 2013 at 19:22
  • @hoss Please do not make recommendation of such magnitude if you have not tested it.
    – Ruskes
    Jul 8, 2013 at 20:05
  • 1
    receding my original comment as that DBAN gets as far the whipe command then fails with a drvice error on two of my machines, seems there is a fix but no way given it's complexity I'll drop this one :) Thanks @Buscar웃
    – hoss
    Jul 8, 2013 at 20:50

4 Answers 4


To give it a full fresh and clean and welcome experience I would suggest you remove all stuff accumulated over time including all non apple aps.

To do that you can erase all the information from hard drive and simply reinstall the OS X.

Apple's knowledge base article has the steps:

On most computers, the erase and install takes 30 minutes plus how ever long it takes to download the installer package from Apple's servers. That part is about a 4 GB download if you haven't saved it and follow the above instructions.

  • Does this work with Mountain Lion?
    – Josh
    Jul 9, 2013 at 11:04
  • Yes it does work with Mountain Lion.
    – Ruskes
    Jul 9, 2013 at 16:42

If you have 10.7 or later, erase and reinstall OS X from the recovery partition.

  • Hold command-R on startup.
  • Open Disk Utility and erase either the main OS X partition (like Macintosh HD, indented below a drive) (or other partitions you have added) or the whole drive. If you erase the whole drive, it also erases the hidden recovery and EFI partitions, but the Mac can still start up in Internet recovery mode, which means that it downloads a disk image for the recovery system from Apple's servers.
  • Choose Reinstall OS X.

If you don't erase the data securely, the next owner might be able to recover files with an application like DiskWarrior or Data Rescue. If you have an HDD, you can erase data securely by choosing the single pass option from the Security Options sheet in Disk Utility:

If you have an SSD, see this question.

  • → Lauri: +1 ! Excellent answer and correctly tuned (level of secure erasing choosen) toward the original and quite usual need.
    – dan
    Jul 30, 2013 at 20:11

The Apple way is to reformat the whole OS so that the new user can use Apple's Migration Assistant to set it up as if they had just got it from Apple.

To do this in Lion and above boot from the recovery partition and use Disk Utility to erase and the other partitions.


If you want to leave the applications and just delete your personal files, you can create a new administrator account, then log in to that new account and delete the other existing accounts.

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