Use Disk Utility to erase an Intel-based Mac

How to erase (format) the built-in startup disk of an Intel-based Mac.

These steps do not apply to Mac computers with Apple silicon. If you're using a Mac with Apple silicon, follow the steps to erase a Mac with Apple silicon.

Before erasing your Mac

  1. If you want to restore your Mac to factory settings, such as to prepare it for a new owner, find out what to do before you sell, give away or trade in your Mac.
  2. If you're using macOS Monterey or later on a Mac with the Apple T2 Security Chip, follow the steps to erase all content and settings instead of these steps.
  3. Make a backup of any files that you want to keep. Erasing your Mac permanently will delete its files. 

Use Disk Utility to erase your Mac

  1. Start up from macOS Recovery: Turn on your Mac, then immediately press and hold Command (⌘) and R until you see an Apple logo or other image. 
  2. If asked, select a user you know the password for and enter their administrator password. 
  3. From the utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
    macOS Recovery utilities window with Disk Utility selected
  4. Select Macintosh HD in the sidebar of Disk Utility. Can't see Macintosh HD?
  5. Click the Erase button in the toolbar, then enter the requested details:
    • Name: Macintosh HD
    • Format: APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled), as recommended by Disk Utility
  6. Click Erase Volume Group. If you can't see this button, click Erase instead.
    Disk Utility window showing Erase volume group confirmation
  7. If asked, enter your Apple ID. Forgotten your Apple ID?
  8. Optional: If you previously used Disk Utility to add internal volumes other than Macintosh HD, you can erase them individually using the same process. 
  9. When you've finished, close Disk Utility to return to the utilities window.
  10. If you want your Mac to start up again from the volume you've just erased, select Reinstall macOS in the utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions. Find out more about reinstalling 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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