What To Do With Your Mac Before You Sell It

— 3 minute read

I've got a 2007 iMac that's been sitting on my desk waiting to be Kijiji'd to some loving new home. I keep delaying wiping it and boxing it up [footnote]You do keep your computer boxes for resale, right?[/footnote] because I'm worried I'll miss something - a photo, a document - and the stress of trying to make sure I've got a copy of everything somewhere has kept me from wanting to get rid of it.

These days pretty much anything I'm working on is either in Dropbox or iCloud somewhere so I'm really not too worried about recent documents/photos. It's more the stuff from 4+ years ago that I've likely forgotten about but for some reason think I might need. (I won't.)

But then I found this support article from Apple Support that details exactly what to do when you're selling or giving away your Mac.

What helped me let it go [footnote]let it go 🎵[/footnote] was Step 1: Create a backup. Of course! I have a USB hard drive that I've been backing up the iMac with for years and that has everything on it that I'll likely never need again.

The rest of the steps are important to do because they'll save you the hassle of de-authorizing your Mac from iTunes or iCloud when it's no longer yours.

Doing Step 5, Erase and reinstall OS X, properly is very important because you want to make sure your iTunes Store / App Store account is removed from the Mac completely and that whomever buys your Mac can license it under their account. Speaking from experience, it saves a lot of time by doing it before rather than trying to do it after OS X/macOS is reinstalled.

When you're choosing how to erase your hard drive, it's worth considering the Security Options in Disk Utility. If you're at all security conscious you might want to up the amount of times your data is overwritten. This option will make it more difficult for someone to try and recover your data when they've got your computer.

Update: If you've followed the steps but can't get Option-Command-R to load OS X Recovery over the Internet like it's supposed to - mine kept going to what you'd see if you held down Command (⌘)-R on boot, OS X Recovery - it worked for me to try Option-Command-P-R which resets the NVRAM. It's the oldest voodoo support trick on Mac that almost never worked for me over the years but has finally paid off.

Now to sort out how much a 2007 24" iMac will sell for.