A Simple Guide on How to Format Mac without Data Loss

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"Hello guys, I recently got a job in a web designing company which came with a new Mac computer. I, therefore, plan on giving my old Mac to my younger brother. Still, there are lots of things he shouldn't have access to on it, and I can't go on a full deleting spree. Please, show me how to format Mac? And thank you in advance." - Vivian

There are so many personal reasons one will need to format Mac laptops or desktops. It may be to create more space for a fresh start, to sell it, or to give to a close friend while maintaining your privacy. 

Whatever the reason is, this article will cover how to format or factory reset Mac. Also, you'll see a bonus section on how to reset your Mac before selling to avoid any intrusion on your privacy. 

How to Format A Mac - No Data Loss

Are you experiencing unnecessary lagging after installing the latest macOS?  Or you wish to format your mac computer without losing any of your data? If your answer is "Yes" to the above questions and its variations, keep reading to see how to format Mac computers.

Step 1: Backup Data from Your Mac Before Formatting Mac

Often, there are relevant files, data, or documents on your soon-to-be old computer, which you aren't aware of will be erased after formatting Mac. The ideal thing to do is to have a backup you can restore if the need arises. With instructions here, you will be able to backup data before you format Mac computer. 

When you consider a full backup of your Mac device, the best option available is with Apple's "Time Machine." Time Machine is a backup software developed by Apple and integrated on all Mac operating systems. This program works by either sending a backup to your cloud service or an external drive. Here we'll show you a better option - back up important files with a third-party data recovery software.

Back Up Your Mac with AnyRecover

AnyRecover for Mac is a computer program whose primary function is to solve issues on your computer and other storage devices. This tool acts as a medium to recover data from your device. Among its many features, AnyRecover has a high recovery rate, thereby giving you access to your lost or deleted files.


1,000,000 + Downloads

Key Features of AnyRecover

    AnyRecover allows you to back up all file formats and types:  Emails, Photos, Documents, Audio, Videos, etc.

    It allows you to preview your files before you start the backing up process.

    It addresses all data loss occasions: Emptied recycle bins, virus attack, bad partitioning, formatted device, accidental deletion, system crash, faulty hardware, etc.

    It allows back up from Mac Computers, Flash Drives, Mobile Devices, Cameras, Camcorders, Hard Drives, iMac, etc.

    AnyRecover guarantees your privacy protection.

    Available for Windows PC and Mac computers.

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Steps to Back Up Data from Mac with AnyRecover Before Formatting Mac

STEP 1. Go to AnyRecover official site and download its set-up file. 

STEP 2. After installation, launch the AnyRecover program. From its welcome screen, select the storage location you lost or want to recover data from, then click on "Start”.

select hard drive

STEP 3. AnyRecover carries out a scan on the storage location you picked; you can periodically pause it if you locate the file you intend to restore. 

scan selected drive

STEP 4. After the scan, your files will be listed out, preview, and mark the files you wish to get back, then click on "Recover."

preview and recover

Please ensure you save recovered files in a different storage location.

Step 2: Format Your Mac

You've backed up important files on the Mac and recovered every possible data, go ahead to format the Mac as you wish. Here introduced are 3 simple ways. Let's check one by one:

Method 1: Restart Mac in Recovery Mode

To format Mac properly, you need to restart your computer in Recovery Mode. Follow the instructions below.

1. Click on the Apple logo from the top left of your screen, next select "Restart," from the drop-down menu. Your device now shuts down.

2. While your Mac automatically power's on, hold down the Command + R keys until the Apple Logo appears. Release the keys and go to the next step.

restart mac in recovery mode

Method 2: Erase From Hard Drive

While still in the Recovery Mode, you won't find the usual login screen. You'll instead have the Windows Utility, which we'll use, follow the steps below.

Step 1: From the macOS Utility window, select Disk Utility then click on "Continue”.

Step 2: From the options given, choose your startup disk, then click on "Erase”.

Step 3: If prompted, pick "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as the format type.

Method 3: Reinstall Mac OS

This is often optional. Nevertheless, your Mac has been formatted. You can reinstall macOS while in the Recovery Mode. 

Step 1. Still, on the macOS Utility window, locate and select "Reinstall macOS."

Step 2. Follow all on-screen instructions to complete the reinstallation. 

Your reinstalling macOS doesn't count as factory resetting it, this is just a suggestion from us. If you formatted your Mac for sales, it is often better that you let your buyer decide.

Bonus Tips: How to Reset Your Mac Before Selling It

At the beginning of this article, we pointed out possible reasons to format Mac. If yours were for sales purposes, this bonus tip is right for you. Follow our recommendations to prepare your Mac for sale. 

Sign Out of Everything on Mac

Look at these instructions like 'how to reformat mac.' You don't want services like your iTunes, iCloud, or iMessage accessible by your old Mac's new owner. Follow the instructions here to sign out of the services mentioned above. 

Sign Out of iTunes

Your iTunes login details might still be active. This is how to sign out properly. 

Step 1. Launch iTunes on your Mac.

Step 2. From the menu bar at the top right, click on "Account."

Step 3. A drop-down menu shows, select "Sign Out."

sign out of itunes

Sign Out of iCloud

You should also sign out of your iCloud services or account. 

Step 1. From the upper-left corner of your Mac screen, click on the Apple icon.

Step 2. In the drop-down menu that shows, select "System Preferences."

Step 3. Locate "Apple ID" or "iCloud," these options vary based on your OS version.

choose apple id

Step 4. Un-tick the "Find My Mac" box next, enter your Mac's password when asked.

Step 5. Click "Sign Out" and select "Remove Data From This Mac" if prompted.

sign out and remove data from mac

Sign Out of iMessage

Step 1. Launch the "iMessages" app on your Mac computer.

Step 2. From the menu bar, click "iMessages" it is often at the top-left corner of your screen. 

Step 3. In the drop-down menu that follows, click the "Preferences" button.

Step 4. Choose your iMessage account and click "Sign Out."

sign out of imessage


We started by pointing out different reasons why you may want to format Mac. We showed you how to format Mac without losing your data. Introduced iMyFone AnyRecover to help restore your lost data in situations where backups aren't present.

We gave you a detailed guide on how to factory reset Mac and gave you every recommendation to take if you plan on selling your formatted computer. Thanks for reading, and we hope you share this article.

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By  Alva Doris , to Hard Drive Recovery

Updated on Apr 23, 2020

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