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How To Factory Reset Your MacBook Air

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A factory reset is a good option to solve many problems that might arise with your tech devices. This task can be done on a MacBook Air to improve performance and restore the laptop to its former glory.

A factory reset is a way to ensure your personal and private information are deleted if you decide to sell your MacBook Air. It is important that seller ratings are satisfied by ensuring that another user can access your MacBook Air and use it.

Your MacBook Air will feel brand new by backing it up with Time Machine.

It’s the perfect opportunity to bring your computer up-to-date with macOS Mojave. Mojave is packed with new enhancements and system modifications that will ensure your Air runs well for many years. Please note that macOS Mojave only works with MacBook Airs made after mid-2012.

If you are unfamiliar with how to perform a factory reset on your MacBook Air follow these steps to make sure that all your data is backed-up and that the reset is performed correctly.

Time Machine Backup of Your Data

Apple makes it easy to back up your data on your MacBook Air. Time Machine and an external drive can be used to back up all your important documents and applications.

It’s a good time to get an external hard drive if you don’t already have one. Apple’s AirPort Time Capsule is designed specifically for Time Machine backups.

You can also find 1 or 2 terabyte drives under $100 on Amazon. If you need a recommendation, look at the Western Digital MyPassport or Seagate Backup Plus drives. Both are compatible with macOS right out of the box.

  1. Connect your external drive to your computer. Open the Time Machine app on your Mac. This can be accessed either via Launchpad or in Systems Preferences.
  2. Click on Choose Backup Disk to choose your external hard disk.
  3. Select Use to save your hard disk as a backup drive for time machines.
  4. Select Backup Now in the Time Machine menu.
  5. You can control what backups are being made by hitting the Options link in System Preferences. (If you’re doing this for the first time, it might take some time).

After you have finished your backup, ensure that you safely remove your drive from your MacBook Air.

To properly eject an external hard drive, open the Finder and tap the name of your device. Click on the “Eject” icon (an arrow with an underline) to eject your external hard drive. If your MacBook doesn’t permit you to complete this task, it is likely that the backup isn’t complete or that another program is using your external hard disk.

Factory Resetting your MacBook Air

After you have backed up your user information to Time Machine or another backup program of your choice, it is time to factory reset the MacBook Air. This can be used to fix most problems and issues with your MacBook Air, including slowdowns or freezing.

Resetting your machine will increase its speed to the point it was in when it was new. If you are selling your MacBook Air, a factory reset is necessary to erase all user data.

macOS includes a built-in recovery utility that can erase and reinstall your operating system. You can access it from the boot screen on your Mac.

You can also download macOS Mojave directly from the Mac App Store and create a bootable USB from the downloaded file. Instructions for this can be found here. For now, however, we will focus on how to reset your MacBook Air using the boot screen. This requires an active internet connection.

  1. Click the Apple icon at the top-left corner on your MacBook’s display.
  2. Select Restart in the drop-down menu. Now, you can press some keys on the keyboard.
  3. Hold down Command+ until the Apple logo appears on your MacBook Air’s screen. Do not release the keys until you see the macOS utility window on your display.
  4. Click Reinstall macOS if you wish to reinstall macOS on top of your existing file system.
  5. To factory reset your device click Disk utility at bottom of the list.
  6. After Disk Utility has opened locate and select your MacBook Air’s Startup Disk on the left-hand. This is the primary and only disk that most users will see.
  7. Disk Utility has the Erase button.
  8. Choose Format from the pop-up window, and then choose Mac OS Extended.
  9. To confirm your deletion, give your reformatted drive a name.

Now, you’ll see a display start to wipe your MacBook Air’s hard drive and data. Your disk will be successfully erased once this is completed. However, you’re not done.

You can’t install an operating system on your computer. This means that no matter what you do with your computer (e.g., selling it or reformatting it to increase its speed or performance), you will still need to reinstall the operating system.

Reinstalling macOS On Your MacBook Air

  1. Start by closing Disk Utility with your new MacBook Air. Then, select Quit.
  2. Select Reinstall macOS in the list of macOS Utilities, and follow the prompts for the latest version of macOS.
  3. If it asks for you to select the disk that you wish to install, choose (most MacBook Airs only have one storage drive built into them, unless you’ve added one).
  4. After you click Install, your computer will start downloading macOS. It may take some time to download macOS, especially if your internet speed is slower. As the reinstall process is complete, please be patient. It may take several hours, so give yourself enough time to restart the system before you get back to work.
  5. After macOS has completed downloading, you might need to manually start the installation by agreeing to the download on your computer. After the installation is complete, the laptop should restart automatically and boot into macOS’s Welcome screen. This will prompt you to create a new account and set up your system.

You can sell your MacBook Air here. Your MacBook Air has been restored to its original state and is ready to ship to another user. The purchaser cannot also access your private or personal information.

Time Machine Backup Restore

After you have finished setting up your new Mac, you will need to restore any files that you have saved to your external hard drive with a Time Machine backup. Time Machine allows you to easily restore any of your saved backups, even on newly formatted computers. Here’s how it works.

  1. Open Time Machine from your Dock. If you have removed the shortcut from the dock, click the Apple icon in your menu bar at the top of the display. Select System Preferences and then select Time Machine.
  2. You can plug your external hard drive into your MacBookAir, and browse through your files to determine what you need to restore. You can slide through the timeline to find the most recent or correct backup.

You can click the restore button after you have selected the file. You can preview files by selecting a file and tapping on the spacebar key.

Alternatively, if all of your Time Machine data is lost, you can restore it using the same macOS recovery screen we used in our guide to format and then reinstall macOS.

  1. Just hit Start on the Apple logo and wait for the machine to turn back on. Once the Apple icon appears, hold Command + R until the Apple icon appears.
  2. Once you are back in the macOS Utility display select Repair from Disk Utility and follow the on-screen instructions to restore your files and apps.

Errors in Restoring

Although this is not something you will want to do often, it’s quite surprising how simple a reinstall can make an aging Mac feel like new again. This reset will keep your MacBook Air running smoothly for several years.

Apple Support can help you if you have any problems with your restoral. Some users reported a “No bag Entry” error while trying to restore older software. This is an indication that your MacBook Air is experiencing problems connecting to the App store and is, therefore, unable to reinstall macOS.

It is important that your MacBook Air has strong internet access. Some users have reported that the public wifi won’t allow your MacBook to do the restoral.

Factory Resets

You can trade-in your old MacBook to get a newer model, restore the device’s functionality, or sell an older laptop. Now you know how to factory reset MacBook Air.

Below, share your thoughts and experiences about factory resetting MacBooks.

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