Removing personal info from my Mac

Discussion of general issues, not related to a specific Mac or iDevice operating system.
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BarbJ
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Removing personal info from my Mac

Post by BarbJ » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:58 am

I am going to sell a Mac computer. Is there a standard procedure that I would use to make sure the new owner does not have access to my past files? Could he get access after I remove them, if he used Time machine? Any suggestions for a quick way to delete my personal information in a way that the new owner cannot restore it? I erased the hard drive and reinstalled El Capitan, and started it up using my Apple ID to get it up and running. Can he change the administrator name and take my name off the list of accounts? Would that be a good way to go? I don't want him to be able to log in to my iCloud account. Do I need to notify Apple of the sale?

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Removing personal info from my Mac

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:33 pm

Here's Apple's support document:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201065

That says it all, and is the procedure I'd strongly recommend. You can find many more lists of suggestions by searching "Prepare your Mac for sale'" and some may have useful further tips.

You don't want to leave your Apple ID set up. And that goes for all your Apple IDs. For one reason or another, we have 7, one of which I had forgotten and just recently reaccessed. It's nearly impossible to actually delete an Apple ID, even for someone who has died. (This is an issue that estate lawyers really, really need to address and set up standard procedures for.)

You don't need to notify Apple, but you probably want to remove the Mac from the list here, as noted in the Apple document:

https://supportprofile.apple.com

Time Machine data is stored on an external hard drive. If you sell that with the Mac, you must repartition it, at least. You could also do a multiple erase on any hard drives, but that takes many hours.

That's all for normal humans. If you have state secrets stored on your Mac, you should destroy all hard drives.

There are some previous discussions of this issue right here on the SMUG forum, including here:

http://www.straitmac.org/phpBB3/viewtop ... hard+drive

http://www.straitmac.org/phpBB3/viewtop ... ilit=shred

http://www.straitmac.org/phpBB3/viewtop ... ilit=shred
Last edited by Stephen Hart on Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BarbJ
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Re: Removing personal info from my Mac

Post by BarbJ » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:25 pm

Thank you, Stephen. This is very helpful.

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