How to Factory Reset iMac

There are many reasons why you may want to to reset your iMac. For example, if you are getting ready to sell or give away your device, restoring your iMac to its original factory settings is very important—to ensure that all personal data is removed from the computer. Another reason to reset your Mac is that it may be getting too slow due to many years of use, and you may be running out of disk space.

Resetting your iMac is also a good idea if there’s a problem with your device. That’s always a good first step when it comes to troubleshooting, especially if it means avoiding a trip to the Apple store. The good news is that performing a factory reset on your computer just requires a series of simple steps.

In this blog, we’ll share some of the most common problems with iMac, what to do before a factory reset, and the steps to take to factory reset your device.

Related: Where Can I Sell My iMac For Cash Near Me?

Factory Reset iMac
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Common Problems with iMac

There are many common iMac problems that may prompt you to consider factory resetting your device. Typically these issues are hardware-related, but with some troubleshooting tips, you should be able to fix most problems yourself. It will also be helpful to know your iMac’s specs and product details. The following are some of the more prevalent Mac hardware issues that you might face:

  • Mac won’t charge or turn on
  • Flashing power LED warnings
  • Question mark on screen at startup
  • Mac won’t startup all the way
  • Screen issues such as flickering or no backlight
  • Jittery trackpad or mouse movement
  • Liquid or other physical damage
  • Stuck keys or keyboard not working
  • External devices such as a USB-C not working

If you’re unsure as to what the problem is, we recommend first using Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac. This tool helps diagnose problems within your computer’s hardware, such as the logic board, memory, and wireless components.

In some cases, a simple retart of your device will do the trick, but before you perform a full factory reset on your iMac, you’ll want to follow the troubleshooting tips in the next section.

What to Do Before a Factory Reset

Whether you are experiencing problems with your Mac and/or preparing your computer for a new owner, the following are key steps you should take before restoring your Mac to factory settings. Log out of all accounts.

This includes any and all apps that you are logged into. Some apps such as Apple TV and Music use an authorization system for your connected devices. Here’s how to deathorize those accounts:

  • Open the app.
  • From the main menu bar, click Account.
  • Choose Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
  • Type your Apple ID and password > Deauthorize.

Disable iCloud.

It’s important to ensure that all bookmarks, notes, reminders, or any other data stored in the cloud is not visible to new users. To sign out of iCloud:

  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
  • Click Apple ID.
  • Select Overview in the sidebar.
  • Click Sign Out.
*Note that these steps may vary slightly based on the version of macOS you are using.

Sign out of iMessage.

This will only apply if you’ve set up your iMac to send and receive iMessage chats. To sign out, open the Messages app on your computer, click Messages, choose Preferences, find your account, then click Sign Out.

*Also be sure to unpair Bluetooth devices that are connected to your computer.

Reset NVRAM.

NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) refers to computer memory that can hold data even when power to the memory chips has been turned off. As with erasing Touch Bar data, this step will require you to shut down your Mac.

Backup your data.

This is probably the most important step to take before resetting your iMac. It’s crucial to backup your data to ensure that you don’t lose access to all of the content on your drive. We recommend investing in backup software to efficiently facilitate this process.

Once you’ve successfully completed the steps above, it will be safe for you to perform a factory reset on your iMac. Learn how in the next section.

Steps to Factory Reset iMac

Performing a factory reset on your iMac is easier than you might think, but it’s crucial that you first save everything you need on your device before all of your software and files are wiped. Once ready, simply follow these series of five steps:

  1. Restart your Mac by holding down the command and R keys until the Apple logo appears. You can also hit Control + Command + Eject or the power button to restart your device.
  2. You should see a window saying Disk Utilities.
  3. Click the Disk Utility icon and continue (Mac OS Extended should be selected in the popup menu.)
  4. Click Erase
  5. Click Quit Disk Utility.
*Note that you can also find the Disk Utility icon, also known as the macOS Utilities window from Finder > Go > Utilities.

Once you’ve completed the five steps above, select Reinstall macOS > Continue, select your boot disk, and wait for the installation process to complete. When the installation is complete, press the Command + Q keys on your keyboard simultaneously.

And, voila—it’s that easy!

Related: How to Factory Reset a Macbook Pro

About SellYourMac

Founded by company Brian Burke “The Mac Man” in 2006 and branded as (SYM) in 2009, SYM is positioning itself to become the world’s largest and most trusted purchaser of used Apple computers, iPhones, and iPads.

SellYourMac is OWC’s Apple trade-in program that gets you cash for your Mac and ensures that it doesn’t end up in a landfill. The product will be securely wiped and refurbished before heading to a new home. Any parts that are removed are cleaned and assessed for either reuse or recycling.

You can also extend the life of your Apple computer with memory or storage upgrades—a service that OWC is reputed for. Head to the OWC trade-in page and see what your device is worth.

For more information, visit


  • What are some of the common problems that you may encounter with iMac?
    Typically the most common iMac problems are hardware-related. Refer to the comprehensive list in the first section of the blog for some of the more prevalent issues such as your Mac not turning on or stuck keys.
  • What should you do before a factory reset?
    Before performing a factory reset, you’ll want to first log out of all your accounts, disable iCloud, sign out of iMessage, and backup your computer’s data. Refer to section two of the blog for detailed instructions.
  • What steps should you take to reset your iMac?
    You’ll first want to restart your Mac by holding down the command and R keys until the Apple logo appears. You can also hit Control + Command + Eject or the power button to restart your device. Then follow the remaining steps in the third section of the blog.

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