Resetting Your MacBook Pro M1/M2 Pro: Guide to a Fresh Start

by Farhan Yousaf
How to Reset MacBook Pro M1 M2 Pro

Have you ever experienced your MacBook Pro running slow or freezing up frequently? Maybe it’s time for a factory reset. 

A factory reset erases everything on your MacBook Pro and restores it to the original settings as if it just came out of the box. While a factory reset might seem daunting, it can often fix persistent software issues and give your device a fresh start. 

This guide is specifically for the M2 Pro MacBook Pro, but some of the steps may also apply to other models. Performing a factory reset will erase all data on your Mac, so ensure you have everything backed up before proceeding. 

Backup Your Data

Before resetting your M2 Pro MacBook Pro, it is crucial to back up all your important files to prevent data loss. You don’t want to lose documents, music, photos, or anything valuable to you. It’s best to back up your data on an external drive or using iCloud. 

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Importance of Backing Up All Important Files Before Resetting

A factory reset will erase everything from your MacBook Pro’s hard drive. This means all your files, photos, music, and other data will be permanently deleted. 

If you do not have a backup for them, you may lose them forever. Therefore, it is critical to take backups of all the important files before resetting. 

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Backup Data on a MacBook Pro

You can back up your data in two ways: by using an external hard drive or iCloud. However, using iCloud is not an ideal choice. 

Backing up with an external hard drive: 

  1. Connect the External Hard Drive.
  2. Open “Finder” and select the “Go” menu.
  3. Select “Utilities,” then double-click “Disk Utility.”
  4. Select the External Hard Drive from the list on the left side of the window.
  5. Click on the “Erase” tab and choose the format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  6. Name the External Hard Drive something memorable.
  7. Select the “Erase” button and wait for the completion of the process.
  8. Select the “Done” button once completed.
  9. In Finder click Go > Home > open ‘Desktop’ folder 
  10. Create a Folder with the name backup_data in the Desktop folder 
  11. In Finder, click Go > Applications > Utility folder 

Signing Out of Accounts Before Resetting

If you’re planning to factory reset your M2 Pro MacBook Pro, signing out of all accounts beforehand is essential. This includes iCloud, iTunes, and any other accounts that require authentication. Doing so ensures that no personal data or settings will be left behind on the device after the reset. 

SEE ALSO: How to Reset PS5 Controller: The Ultimate Guide

Why It’s Important to Sign Out

When you sign in to your M2 Pro MacBook Pro account, certain data gets stored on the device for convenience. This can include things like passwords, payment information, and preferences. When you factory reset a device without signing out first, all this data remains on the device and could potentially be accessed by someone else. 

Additionally, if you don’t sign out of iCloud specifically before resetting your MacBook Pro, Activation Lock may still be enabled after the reset. This means that if anyone wants to activate your device again in the future, they’ll need your Apple ID and password.

How to Sign Out of Accounts

To ensure that all personal data is removed from the device during a factory reset process, signing out of all accounts beforehand is crucial. Here are step-by-step instructions for signing out of iCloud and iTunes:

iCloud:

1. Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner.

2. Click on “System Preferences.”

3. Click on “Apple ID.” 

4. Click on “Overview.”

5. Select “Sign Out.”

iTunes:

1. Open iTunes

2. Click on “Account” in the menu bar. 

3. Select “Sign Out.” 

Following these steps and signing out of all accounts before resetting your MacBook Pro to its factory settings ensures that there is no personal information left behind for others who may use your Mac in the future or even hackers who might want access to your data. 

Restart in Recovery Mode

What is Recovery Mode, and Why is it Necessary for a Factory Reset?

Recovery mode in Macbook/Mac is a special mode that allows you to access tools for fixing software issues. It’s essential when you’re doing a factory reset because it lets you erase the hard drive and reinstall macOS. Without recovery mode, you would need an external USB bootable drive to do this kind of procedure. 

Step-by-step Instructions on How to Restart in Recovery Mode

1. Click on the Apple icon at the upper-left corner of your screen.

2. Choose “Restart” from the options presented.

3. Press and hold down the Command (⌘) + R keys immediately upon hearing the startup chime sound. 

4. Release both keys when you see the Apple logo or spinning globe appear on your screen.

5. Wait for your Mac to load into Recovery Mode before continuing with any other steps. 

If Command + R doesn’t work, try using Option+Command+R instead; this will ensure that your Mac downloads and installs the latest version of macOS that’s compatible with your hardware.

Once you’re in recovery mode, several options are available to you, such as restoring from a Time Machine backup, disk utility functions like disk repair or partitioning, and reinstalling macOS, which we will cover later in this guide. 

SEE ALSOHow to Reset Xbox One: A Step-by-Step Guide

Erase the hard drive.

What does erasing the hard drive mean, and why it’s necessary for a factory reset

Erasing the hard drive means wiping all data from your MacBook Pro’s internal storage. This includes all photos, videos, music, documents, and any other files that may be stored on your device.

Erasing the hard drive is a crucial step in the factory reset process because it ensures that all data is removed from your device before reinstalling macOS. 

It’s important to remember that erasing the hard drive will permanently delete all of your data from your MacBook Pro’s storage. If you have not backed up your important files yet, now is the time to do so before proceeding with this step. 

Step-by-step instructions on how to erase the hard drive

Now that you understand what erasing the hard drive entails, let’s dive into how to do it: 

1. Restart your MacBook Pro in Recovery Mode by holding down Command + R keys immediately after hearing the startup chime or Apple logo. 

2. Once in Recovery Mode, select “Disk Utility” and click Continue.

3. Select “Macintosh HD” or whatever name you’ve given to your internal storage disk.

4. Click on the “Erase” button at the top panel of the Disk Utility window.

5. Choose a name for your new partition (optional) and choose APFS format.

6. Click on the “Erase” button again 

This process may take a few minutes, depending on how large the internal disk and data are. After completing this step move to section VI – Reinstall macOS, where we will install a fresh copy of macOS onto our newly erased disk space! 

Reinstall macOS

Why Reinstalling macOS is Necessary After Erasing the Hard Drive

After erasing the hard drive of your M2 Pro MacBook Pro, you essentially erase any trace of your operating system. That means you’ll need to reinstall macOS in order for your computer to function properly again. 

Reinstalling macOS will bring back the operating system and give you a fresh start with your MacBook Pro. This is particularly useful if you’re experiencing slow performance or other issues that are difficult to diagnose and fix. 

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Reinstall macOS

Reinstalling macOS is relatively simple, but it does require an internet connection. Here’s how to do it:

1. Restart your MacBook Pro M2 Pro in Recovery Mode. You can do it by holding down Command + R while booting up. 

2. Select “Reinstall macOS” from the menu once in recovery mode.

3. Follow the prompts and agree to the terms and conditions. 

4. Select which hard drive you want to install macOS on (there should only be one option).

5. Click “Install” and wait for the process to complete. 

6. Once complete, your M2 Pro MacBook Pro will restart with a fresh copy of macOS installed. It’s important to note that reinstalling macOS will erase all data on an internal drive. So, backup your data by following procedure above.

Set Up Your MacBook Pro as New or Restore from Backup

After you’ve completed the factory reset process, you have two options: set up your MacBook Pro as new or restore from backup.

Setting up your MacBook Pro as new means starting everything from scratch. You’ll need to manually reinstall all your applications and transfer over any data you want to keep. 

This method is best if you’re experiencing serious software issues and want a fresh start. You can try the second option, restoring from the backup. 

This method allows you to return all of your data, settings, and applications saved in the backup.

Restoring from a backup is perfect if you’re getting a new computer or if you want things to go back to exactly how they were before the factory reset. 

How to Set Up Your MacBook Pro as New

If you decide to set up your MacBook Pro as new, follow these steps: 

  1. Follow the prompts onscreen to complete the setup assistant until reaching the desktop
  2. Manually download and install all necessary apps and programs for personal use
  3. Create any user accounts or preferences required for the system or individual apps
  4. Restore any files from backups that are needed (for example, music)
  5. If necessary, create new backups of any files which need it.

How to Restore from Backup on Your MacBook Pro

To restore from backup on your MacBook Pro, follow these steps: 

  1. Select “Restore From Time Machine Backup” in Setup Assistant during macOS setup after completing steps I-VI above. 
  2. Select either an external hard drive with previous backups OR select iCloud Drive with previous backups (if enabled)
  3. Select the time frame for restoring — usually the most recent 
  4. Follow prompts for account setup, preferences, and restoring files from the backup

How to Restore from Backup on Your M2 Pro MacBook Pro from Old Macbook

Here are the steps to transfer data from your old MacBook to your new MacBook using Migration Assistant:

  1. On your old MacBook, make sure that it is turned on and connected to the internet.
  2. Open Migration Assistant. Search for “Migration Assistant” in your Applications folder.
  3. When prompted, enter your administrator password and click Continue.
  4. Select option to transfer to another Mac in Migration Assistant.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Your new MacBook will be displayed in a list of available devices. Select it and click Continue.
  7. A six-digit code will appear on your M2 Pro MacBook Pro. Enter the code on your old MacBook and click Continue.
  8. Migration Assistant will begin transferring your data. This will take time, depending on the data you are transferring.
  9. For Faster Transfer: Connect your old MacBook to your new MacBook using a Thunderbolt or USB-C.
  10. After transfer is complete, you can start using your new MacBook.

We’ve made a video on the fastest method to transfer data from an old Macbook to a new one, do check it for easy understanding.

Conclusion

The factory reset process is an excellent way to resolve software issues and start fresh. It’s also a good idea to do if you plan on selling your MacBook Pro. Remember, before starting a factory reset, it’s crucial to backup all important data and sign out of all accounts. 

After completing the factory reset process, you can choose to set up your MacBook Pro as new or restore from a backup. Whatever route you choose, your MacBook Pro will be good as new and ready for anything. 

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