How to Wipe Your Old MacBook Pro and Reinstall macOS

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Whether it’s time for you to sell your old MacBook Pro, want a fresh start to your old machine or just want this damn thing to work again. Wiping and reinstalling macOS is definitely the way to go! Luckily for MacBook Pros, it’s just a simple 3-step process (recovery, wipe, reinstall)! I’ll cover the basic of how to do it and then dive further into a worst-case scenario that I recently encountered. Let’s go!

Making Your Old MacBook Pro New!


Reinstalling macOS seems to have become a regular thing I’ve done. After super-upgrading several old 2011 MacBook Pros these set of actions have become second nature so I thought why not spread the knowledge.

Wipe and Reinstall macOS

Step One: Boot into Mac Recovery

So macOS Recovery is one of the most clutch tools that Apple has created. It’s so smart they’ve made it pretty much built-in to all Macs. The utilities allow you to; restore from Time Machine, reinstall macOS, and repair or erase hard drives. Which covers the fundamentals of pretty much everything you need when troubleshooting your Mac. It’s also super simple to get into; all you need to do is press Command-R right after you press the power button and then let go once you see the apple logo or a spinning globe. This launches you right into the macOS Recovery.

Power On, Hold Command-R till Apple Logo


Step Two: Wipe Your Harddrive


Chances are your computer is probably super slow you just want a fresh start, but if for some reason you want to ATTEMPT to keep your files intact you can skip this step and jump to step three. But like I said most of us just want a fresh computer so we can rid of pretty much all issues.

Now, assuming that you’ve backed up your data, it is now safe to wipe your hard drive completely! If you’ve never done this before it’s actually super simple and is all done using the tool called “Disk Utility”. It’s pretty simple all you need to do is select your drive, press erase and name your drive (I use the default  “Macintosh HD”), select the format you want (usually “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and press erase again.

Erase Harddrive “Macintosh HD”


Now if for some reason you really want to make sure that all files are super securely deleted you’re going to want to go through extra security options. With mechanical hard drives, you need to rewrite it with blanks multiple times to ensure that all the files are untraceable the more time the better but I usually just recommend 2 times is enough because it’s like what are you trying to hide tho? Note: If you have an SSD you don’t need to worry about rewriting it multiple times because they use something called TRIM which ensures that your files are securely deleted.

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Step Three: Reinstall macOS

Now that your drive is freshly wiped, your computer is pretty much good as new! All you need to press now is just Install macOS and select your drive (Macintosh HD) and you’re good to go! It’ll run the installation itself (note: it usually takes awhile I think mine took like an hour and a half?). Whenever it completes your Mac will restart itself and gets you to follow the steps to create your account. So you’re done!

Congratulations on wiping and reinstalling macOS your MacBook Pro 😀


So for some reason, the MacBook I was troubleshooting didn’t have a Mac Recovery and this got me stumped. I had no idea what I was supposed to do so the only thing I could think of doing was to try to boot from a USB installer. So here’s how I did it.


Download macOS from Apple Store

I had an old download when I upgraded to Yosemite so I used that because this was an old 2008 MBP. So just check your specs to know which macOS to use. Once you have your macOS downloaded quit the installation because you’re just trying to move it to the USB. To do so you need to use the Terminal to make your USB bootable.

Create Bootable Drive

Connect a USB flash drive (greater than 8 GB) and note it’s name: MyVolume

Open Terminal and paste the command based on the OS you downloaded.

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Press Return and you’ll be asked for your password type it (note: you won’t see anything but trust it’s working)

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They’ll ask you to confirm press ‘y’ and then you’ll be good to go! This is also gonna take awhile I think mine took like 45 minutes. But once the terminal says done you’re good to go and now you can finally start this tutorial from step one 😀

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