How to Factory Reset iMac

Reset factory settings would delete existing files but can remove any existing issues in the system. In this article, I will explain the ways to factory reset iMac.

Published on Jun 07, 2023   |  12:13 AM IST  |  110.6K
Factory reset should come as last resort to solve issues in the disc in the system
Factory reset should come as last resort to solve issues in the disc in the system

Key Highlight

iMac was introduced as a technologically updated but easy-to-use machine. Its prices may come as premium though the user interface has made it appealing to customers. This ease of use can be felt while employing the factory reset settings in the iMac. The reason for adding factory reset can be many but it would not differ for the employing methods. In the following article, I will be discussing these methods. 

What to Do Before You Reset Your Mac

Reset factory settings generally means deleting all the files, applications, and cookies which might include the login or preference credentials of the user. Therefore, you have to decide your deeds accordingly. In the following points, you would get to know about those :

  1. All the stored information in the system stays in the primary and secondary memory division. Therefore, you need to take a backup of all that information to another system first. You can do it on any external hard drive or any other secondary storage. 
  2. On your Apple device, you get custom offers and services after logging into iTunes. Therefore, you need to deauthorize the existing accounts. For it, you have to click on the menu bar at the top of the home screen. From the menu, you have to click on Account and then Authorizations. From the Authorizations option, you would get the Authorizations option. Now put in your Apple login ID and click on the Deauthorize button.
  3. You need to log out from the iCloud platform also. For this, you need to tap on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your home screen. Click on that and select the System Preferences option. From there, go to the Overview option. After the completion, you may tap on the Sign-out.

From the System Preferences, you may find the iCloud option

4. You have to exit from the Messages function also. For that, you may find the Messages option in the menu bar. Select the Preferences option and then go to the iMessage option. There, you have to select the concerned account and click on the Sign-out option. Again you need to sign out from the dialog box. 

5. From the System Preferences, you may also unpair the Bluetooth devices and it is also needed before the factory reset. Go to the Bluetooth option and then right-click on the device you want to unpair from the Bluetooth. Then from the popped-up box, tap on the Remove button. 

Existing connections should be removed before implementing factory reset

6. You may also use shortcut keys such as the Command +Option +P+R to reset PRAM or NVRAM in the newer versions of Mac. For this, you have to hold the mentioned shortcut keys for 20 seconds and leave those after hearing the start-up tone of your Mac. P-RAM has been prevalent for the older model of the Mac whereas NVRAM is for the newer models of the Mac. 


How to Factory Reset a Mac Using Recovery Mode 

  1. First launch the Restart mode on the Mac. The process is to click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the home screen. From the drop-down list, select the Restart option. 

Restart can be found in the drop-down menu after clicking in the Apple icon

2. Now you should resort to the shortcut keys. Hold the Command +R keys until or unless the Apple logo appears on the screen. You may determine the entry into recovery mode is completed when the progress bar under the Apple logo is full on your home screen.

The initial screen will show the Apple logo as the opening screen

3. After the screen appears, choose the Disk Utility option.

Disk Utility option will erase the existing files in the storage

4. From the dialog box, select the Continue button. 

5. On the next screen, you would see the Disk Utility dialog box. In this dialog box, there would be details about the system structure. Under the Disk Utility, you will notice the View option. 

6. Under the View button, you have to select the Show All Devices option. This option will show you all the engaged drives and their storage capacity.

Show All Devices will open up about the active memory status

7. From the available drives, you have to select the concerned drive you require to erase. In this dialog box, you can also clear up the collective data from all the drives. This will provide you with a clean system where a new macOS can be installed. 

8. After selecting the drive, you have to tap on the Erase button located at the top of the Disk Utility window. But remember, one copy of macOS is stored in the partition of the main hard drive. It comes in a factory package. Therefore, you can retrieve it later. 

Erase button will clear the memory

9. Now, you need to make a whole new version of the drive by naming it and format and scheme selection. 

10. In the case of name, there should not be any disclosure of personal details as in the case of network sharing, there might be a breach of personal details. Talking about the format, you may have two choices from APFS(Apple File System) or macOS Extended. There can be default help from the Disk Utility in case of suggesting compatible formats. As an example, if the built-in Disk shows it as an APFS formatted, you should comply with it and not change it with Journaled. In Scheme, you have to choose GUID Partition Map. In this step, you can still get back to the previous state, that is, stored with previous data. 


You have to specify the Name, Format and Scheme in the disc

11. After confirming the Name, Format, and Scheme, you can tap on the Erase or you can select the Erase Volume Group.

After clicking on Erase, you won't be able to take back up of your data

12. Wait for the completion of the process and click on the Done step.

Done option would signify the completion of the process

13. Choose Disk Utility from the left top corner of the home screen.

Disk Utility will help in forming up the factory reset

14. After completing the service, click on the Quit Disk Utility.

Quit Disk Utility will help to confirm the exit process

15. Now you can reinstall the macOS. In this position, the system is a clean slate as it does not contain any data now. To continue the process, you have to select the Reinstall macOS and tap on the Continue option.

Reinstall macOS will help in processing the macOS again in the system

16. In the next window, click on the Continue option.

The  Continue will be visible under the icon

17. There would be a set of features for the system and to continue with this, you need to agree with the terms and conditions of the license agreement. Click Agree to continue.

The subsequent step will be about the license agreement

18. Now, you need to click on the Agree again in a new prompted window.

You have to click on the Agree statement

19. Now you have to choose the internal drive. In this part, you have to select the boot disk in your system. The boot disk is the main drive. 

20. Now, click on Continue again.

The next processes would be to continue

21. After this, the installation process will start. The screen will prompt about the remaining time or the time needed to initiate the rest of the process.

Remaining time will be showing on the screen

22. When the installation is over, there will be a prompt on the screen asking for information regarding your country or origin. Now click on the Command +Q keys. 

You may choose the origin as per your choice

23. After the process is over, click on the Shut Down.

For restarting, you have to shut down the system

In this process, you have to make sure that your system is connected with a stable power source and broadband connection. In the 15th step, you can stop the process but at a later time, it might be hard to reinstall the OS again. Therefore, make sure that you do not skip any of the steps mentioned above. Among the APFS and macOS Extended(Journaled), most of the laptops come as APFS formatted nowadays. In the case of desktops, traditional ones come as Journaled. 


iMac has been justified as one of the most user-friendly OS systems by Apple. inc. It invested heavily to develop the system as a new age. This specialty can be seen where in partition, the macOS can be installed in the system at any time. In the format, you need to take utmost care while selecting the particular format. Both APFS and Journaled versions would be available and you should not change the default selected by the system itself. In the rest of the steps, it is quite easy to follow up for a beginner also. Therefore, make sure about the do's and don'ts in the procedures. 

About The Author
Prasun Chakrabarty
Prasun Chakrabarty
Technical Writer

Prasun takes ‘geek’ as a compliment and it ranges from tech to math and sometimes in non-fiction

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