With the release of macOS Monterey this year, Apple will make it easier to restore your Mac. In the System Preferences application, there is a new “erase all contents and settings” option, similar to what has been on iOS for years, that makes it dramatically easier to return your Mac to factory settings.
In the past, you’ve generally had to erase your Mac completely, then reinstall macOS in order to restore it to factory settings. This new option in System Preferences will make it significantly easier to do this by allowing you to just click a button. Again, this is similar to what’s been available on iPhone and iPad for years.
Apple explains how this new feature works:
System Preferences now offers an option to erase all user data and user-installed apps from the system, while maintaining the operating system currently installed. Because storage is always encrypted on Mac systems with Apple silicon or the T2 chip, the system is instantly and securely “erased” by destroying the encryption keys.
The new option will be accessible via System Preferences, but it does not appear to be included in the first beta of macOS Monterey. Apple says it will be available by the time macOS Monterey is released to the public this fall.
There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to restore your Mac to factory settings. If you experience problems with your Mac, restoring to factory settings is a common way to fix things. You also restore your Mac to factory settings when you sell or give it away. This will also be incredibly useful for enterprise decommission as well.
macOS Monterey is available now to developer beta testers. A public beta will be available in July, followed by a stable release to the public in the fall.
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