Use Disk Utility to erase a Mac with Apple silicon

How to erase (format) the built-in startup disk of a Mac with Apple silicon.

These steps only apply to Mac computers with Apple silicon. If you're not using a Mac with Apple silicon, follow the steps to erase an Intel-based Mac.

Before erasing your Mac

  1. Install the latest macOS updates.
  2. If using macOS Monterey, follow the steps to erase all content and settings instead of these steps. You should also erase all content and settings when selling, giving away or trading in your Mac.
  3. These steps cause Bluetooth devices to disconnect (unpair) from your Mac. To complete these steps with a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse or trackpad, connect it with a USB cable if possible.
  4. Make a backup of any files you want to keep. Erasing your Mac permanently deletes its files. 

Use Disk Utility to erase your Mac

  1. Turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window. Select Options, then click Continue.
    Recovery mode startup screen with
  2. If asked, select a user you know the password for and enter their administrator password. 
  3. If asked, enter the Apple ID and password previously used with this Mac. Forgotten your Apple ID?
  4. From the utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
    macOS Recovery options with Disk Utility selected
  5. In the Internal section of the Disk Utility sidebar, make sure that you see the volume named Macintosh HD. Can't see Macintosh HD?
  6. If you've previously used Disk Utility to add volumes to your startup disk, select each additional internal volume in the sidebar, then click the delete volume (–) button in the toolbar to delete that volume.
    During this step, disregard any internal volume named Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD - Data, as well as any volumes in the External and Disk Images sections of the sidebar.
  7. Now select Macintosh HD in the sidebar.
  8. Click the Erase button  in the toolbar, then specify a name and format:
    • Name: Macintosh HD
    • Format: APFS
  9. Click Erase. However, if you see an Erase Volume Group button, click that button instead.
    Disk Utility window Erase APFS volume group pop-up
  10. If asked, enter your Apple ID. Forgotten your Apple ID?
  11. When asked whether you're sure you want to erase this Mac, click Erase Mac and Restart.
  12. When your Mac restarts, follow the onscreen instructions to choose your language.
  13. Your Mac now attempts to activate, which requires an internet connection. Use the Wi-Fi menu  in the menu bar to choose a Wi-Fi network, or attach a network cable.
  14. After your Mac has activated, click Exit to Recovery Utilities.
  15. If you want to start up again from the disk you've just erased, select Reinstall macOS in the utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.

If you can't see Macintosh HD in Disk Utility

Your built-in startup disk should be the first item listed in the Disk Utility sidebar. It's named Macintosh HD, unless you've changed its name. If you can't see it there, choose Apple menu  > Shut Down, then unplug all non-essential devices from your Mac and try again.

If your disk still doesn't appear in Disk Utility or Disk Utility reports that the erase process has failed, your Mac might need service. If you need help, please contact Apple Support.

For more information about using Disk Utility, see the Disk Utility User Guide.

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