8 Steps to Take Before You Sell a Mac

by Sudarsan

Macs account for an ever-growing 10% of the global PC market and can set you back anywhere from a few hundred dollars on eBay to thousands for new, high-performing machines sold directly from Apple. Given the level of investment that goes into those products, chances are you’ll want to sell a Mac you bought at some point to recoup portions of your investment.

The good news is that Macs tend to hold a ton of their resale value. The bad news is claiming that resale value is a multi-step process that requires a lot of prep work on your part to keep your buyer happy and your data safe.

Which steps are necessary to take when you sell your MacBook or other Mac computer? Keep reading to discover things you’d do well not to forget when safely and effectively parting ways with your machine.

1. Unpair Your Bluetooth Devices

Strangers gaining access to your Mac’s old Bluetooth pairings could lead to serious security issues. Of course, if you’re selling your machine to a stranger that lives far away, the chances of you two walking within Bluetooth range of each other are low.

Still, for safety’s sake, you’ll want to head over to your Bluetooth devices and “forget” each of your connections. If you’re using a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard to prep your Mac for sale, wait until you’re done prepping to unpair your devices for obvious reasons.

2. Clean Your Computer

Take a microfiber cloth, spray computer safe cleaner onto it, and gently wipe down your Mac computer. As you do this, remember that screened devices are prone to scratching, and scratches will reduce the value of your machine.

All of that to say that extra caution should be taken around any displays that require a touch-up.

For desktops, do what you can to clean dust from vents without opening up your machine’s case as that can lead to a whole host of other problems that aren’t worth risking.

3. Remove Damaged Screen and Keyboard Protectors

Suppose you’re one of the responsible people that put a screen or keyboard protector on your Mac product when you bought it. When you’re done prepping your machine for sale, remove those protectors so you can give your buyer a fresh product.

The exception here would be if your protectors are in outstanding condition. In that case, it may be more worthwhile to leave those on. If you suspect that your device’s condition looks better under your protective gear, don’t hesitate to strip that protection off!

4. Take Photos of Your Machine

Before we get into removing applications and stripping too much data off your system, snap some photos of your machine with a working desktop. That way, buyers can see clearly that you’re not sending them a Mac that has a corrupt hard drive or that won’t boot up.

A typical picture buyers will look for when shopping for a Mac is one of your system’s “about details” which describe hard drive space, available ram, charge cycles, and more.

5. Backup Your System

With your computer looking good and photographed, it’s time to get your personal data backed up. Macs make it easy to take system backups and save them to the cloud, assuming you have enough iCloud storage. The process can become even faster with the best Mac backup software at hand.

Go through this process and ensure that when your backup is complete, you can see it stored safely and that restoring from it is an option.

6. Sign Out of Your Applications

There are several applications on your Mac that, depending on what OS you’re running, won’t sign out automatically. Therefore, manually sign out of sensitive applications, if applicable.

The primary applications we’d suggest checking out would be iTunes, iCloud, and iMessage.

It may be that when you sign out of iCloud, other applications will sign out automatically as well. In any case, make sure you get visible confirmation that none of these applications can access your personal data any longer.

7. Wipe Out Your User Settings

This is one of the most commonly missed steps people forget about when they sell a Mac. In your machine, you have something called NVRAM, which stores some of your machine’s personal data outside of your hard drive.

The only way you can delete that data is by turning off your Mac, turning it back on, and right away holding down Option, P, R, and Command. If you do that for 20 seconds, you’ll clear your VRAM and your user settings along with it.

8. Erase Your Hard Drive and Reinstall Your OS

The final step you’ll take when getting your Mac prepped for sale will be to do a complete erase and restore your hard drive. Managing this process can be tricky, particularly if your machine doesn’t have a disk drive you can use to reinstall your OS.

Fortunately, you can head over to https://setapp.com/how-to/factory-reset-mac to get helpful factory reset instructions.

You’re Ready to Sell a Mac Computer

When you sell a Mac, you run the risk of disappointing consumers with a messy machine and/or putting your personal data at risk. Our advice is to side-step both of those things by following the steps we’ve laid out and making your transaction process a smooth one.

And remember, if you’re ever in doubt, head over to your local Genius Bar at an Apple store to get additional advice. They’ll be happy to step you through anything you’ve read that didn’t quite make sense.

Curious to learn more about technology, business, and related topics? If so, we invite you to dive deeper into the content we have available on our blog.

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