How Can a User Reset iMac back to Factory Settings?

After customizing iMac based on user’s all-time changing preferences and tastes, he/she might want to get back to the factory settings.

There might be several reasons to reset iMac to factory settings:

  • You are about to sell your computer.
  • You are about to give away your computer as a gift.
  • You would like to get rid of all stored information to start everything with a clean slate.
  • You would like to free up space and speed up the device.
  • You would like to fix some issues that can be hardly addressed otherwise.

Anyway, resetting iMac to factory settings is a helpful practice in many situations. Most of the issues are associated with the Apple computer’s performance.

By resetting settings, a user erases the entire data quickly. It would take plenty of time to do everything manually, especially when you have gigabytes of data stored on the device. No matter whether your iMac runs Mac OS X or macOS, follow the stages discussed below to avoid any problems during the process.

Before You Start

Check the Internet connection and back up everything you have. Check whether you are deauthorized in most of the Apple apps, e.g., iTunes, iCloud, iMessage, etc. It will prevent you from the identity theft.

To use Time machine to back up your files you should:

  1. Connect the storage drive to the target iMac.
  2. Wait for the alert to show up prompting to apply the drive with Time Machine. Pick Use as Backup Disk.
  3. In case you cannot see the alert, launch Time Machine preferences. You can find them in System Preferences -> Time Machine.
  4. Select Backup Disk.
  5. Pick the storage device to back up. Then, select Use Disk.
  6. Now, it is possible to pick Encrypt to do a backup. Mind that you will have to enter admin’s passcode to access the backups.

Mind that you also can move the internal hard drive to the external one with the help of various third-party applications.

Launch macOS Utilities

Basically, restoring iMac to factory settings means erasing all your data from the computer and freshly installing the operating system. For both these tasks, you will need to start iMac from macOS Recovery mode.

  1. Reboot the target iMac.
  2. Listen to the chiming sound to go off and push and hold Command and R buttons.
  3. Wait for the menu screen to pop up.

Wipe the Hard Drive

Now, here is what you were aiming for – the macOS Utilities window. From here, you can wipe the hard drive and thus erase all your data on it. To this end:

  • Choose Disk Utility and pick the Continue option.
  • Once Disk Utility launches, choose the bootup volume (in most cases, it is called Macintosh HD). Pick the Erase pane in the window of Disk Utility.
  • Select the type of format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Pick the Erase option. You should wait for the procedure to finish.
  • Shut down the Disk Utility tool.

After that, come back to the main menu and get ready to reinstall macOS.

Give Your Operating System a Fresh Start

Once you are back to the macOS Utilities window, choose the Reinstall macOS option and press Continue.

Then, just follow the on-screen instructions and:

  • Choose the disk where you wish to install macOS to;
  • Enter your Apple ID and password if requested;
  • Press the Install button.

After the installation is completed, the setup assistant window will appear. If you wish your iMac to look like it’s just out of the box, DO NOT use the assistant. Just quit it by pressing Command+Q and shut the computer down.

At this point, we can say that you’ve successfully reset your iMac to factory settings.