Leaving a clean Mac, as if it were fresh out of the box, is one of the functions that you ask us the most about. It has always involved formatting the disk, something that we have been doing tutorials over the years covering the small changes that the process has taken.

Starting with macOS Monterey, this changes. The system has inherited a very simple function from iOS devices, with which we can erase all the contents and settings of a Mac to leave a completely clean macOS and without anybody’s preferences or files. No need to even format the disk, saving less experienced users hassle. Let’s see how to do it.

How to erase all the contents and settings of a Mac

First of all, you must meet two requirements to be able to use this feature:

  • Have a Mac with an Apple Silicon chip, or a Mac with an Intel chip and a T2 security chip
  • Have macOS Monterey installed

If you don’t have a recent Mac with a T2 chip or an Apple Silicon chip, it doesn’t matter if you’ve upgraded to macOS Monterey – the option won’t appear in your menu. The reason for this is because Apple uses its own encryption to delete all data safely, including Touch ID fingerprints and information from the Find application.

If you meet the requirements, go to System Preferences. Ignore the main window of those settings and click on the ‘System Preferences’ menu to find the option’Delete content and settings‘:


Sounds familiar, right? Yes, it is just as Apple offers us to erase all data on iPhones and iPads. macOS will ask you to enter the password, and a dialog will appear in which you will be warned about everything that is going to be deleted (The list will be larger or smaller depending on the Mac you have). Logically, if you want to keep this data, you must have a previous backup ready:

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format mac macos monterey delete contents settings

From here, you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID password (yes, it is mandatory and you cannot delete anything without it for security reasons) and you will be alerted that you are about to delete all data and settings from your computer. Click on ‘Delete content and settings’ to verify it, taking into account that if you do, there is no going back.

The Mac will now have a black screen and can restart multiple times, showing a progress bar on each of those reboots. There will come a time when the word ‘Hello’ in various languages ​​will be displayed and then you can reconfigure the Mac as if it were new, with a clean system.

MacOS Monterey arrives today: how to prepare your Mac so you can install it without surprises

Goodbye to boot from pendrivesGoodbye to Disk Utility, goodbye to the risk of not correctly formatting the disk and experiencing errors. This method makes handover of a Mac a much simpler process from now on. Bravo, Apple.

Image | AB