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How to clean install macOS on your Mac

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Check How to clean install macOS on your Mac

A clean install of macOS is often done to remove the annoyances and weird behavior a Mac has inherited over time, and it can also help reclaim space caused by junk files from third-party apps. But even if you haven’t experienced any of these issues, sometimes it’s good to start over to get that “new Mac” feeling, and then migrate your apps, documents, and data, either manually or by migrating from a Time Machine backup. .

Clean installations of earlier versions of macOS typically involve creating a bootable copy of the macOS installer on a flash drive or USB stick, then reformatting the drive before installing the bootable copy on the Mac, or using macOS Recovery to reinstall the system Mac operating on an Internet connection. However, a third option has come into play in Monterey, which on newer Macs offers a very simple and straightforward way to clean up your Mac without having to reinstall the operating system.

When we talk about a “clean install” of macOS Monterey, we mean removing all files on the primary hard drive, and then installing the new operating system on the newly removed drive. When you are offered an OS upgrade in the Apple app store, you are usually prompted to simply download the new version and overwrite your existing settings without wiping your entire hard drive and destroying your data.

How to clean install macOS on your Mac

Clean up your Mac and reinstall macOS

  • Make a copy of the macOS installer on a USB stick, reformat your drive, and then install macOS on your Mac from the installer.
  • Use macOS Recovery to reinstall macOS on the web.
  • Use the new setting for the Erase All Content and Settings option in System Preferences (available if you’re running macOS Monterey on a Mac M1 or an Intel Mac with a T2 chip).

How to clean install macOS Monterey

Before the arrival of Monterey, it was necessary to create a bootable USB drive or use recovery mode to erase the drive. However, with Monterey, Apple has made it easy to get a fresh install from the factory. There’s a new Erase All Content and Settings option in Monterey’s System Preferences menu that will allow you to factory reset your Mac without having to go through the many steps to erase and format your drives.

If you have the option to Erase All Content and Settings in Monterey, you can easily wipe your system, remove all your data and user-installed apps, and start fresh. This is what you need to do:

  • Open System Preferences.
  • Click on System Preferences in the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  • Click Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Enter your password.
    • You’ll be reminded to back up with Time Machine before you start the deletion, but you can skip that step.
  • A window will show you what will be removed, including your Apple ID, Touch ID, accessories, and Find My settings.
  • Finally, you will need to sign out of your Mac and all services related to your Apple ID.
  • Before your Mac is erased, you’ll get one final warning, so if you’re in doubt, you can at least stop at this point!
  • After clicking the second Erase all content and settings, your Mac will restart. You will eventually see a black screen as it reboots.
  • Once your Mac restarts, you can follow the steps to set it up as new, or you can leave it at this stage for the next owner to set up. Just shut down the Mac first.

How to do a clean install via Recovery

If you want to enter recovery mode on a Mac M1, you need to press and hold the power button when you start your Mac and continue to press and hold the button until you see a boot options window appear with an Options icon. Select Options and click Continue. To enter Recovery on an Intel Mac, press Command+R.

  • Once the recovery starts, you’ll see a macOS Utilities window with options to restore from Time Machine backup, reinstall macOS [version], Safari (or Get Online Help in earlier versions), and Disk Utility. If you want to erase your Mac before reinstalling, choose Disk Utility.
  • After you have erased the drive, click Disk Utility > Exit Disk Utility. Or just Command + Q.
  • Now choose Reinstall macOS from the options.
  • Wait while macOS reinstalls. Expect this to take a while.

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James Hogan
James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.


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