High-End MacBooks Are Being Thrown in the Trash for One Simple Mistake

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Are you looking to sell or trade-in a MacBook because you’re ready to upgrade the latest model, but want to recycle your gear responsibly? Don’t forget to wipe your laptop and restore it to factory settings – If you don’t, your fully functional MacBook might end up in the dumpster.

Many people don’t realize it but, starting in 2018, Apple’s MacBook Pro and Air models were equipped with a T2 security chip. Apple added it to its iMac Pro and Mac mini models, too. The processor handles security on the Mac both during startup and while the Mac is operating. It provides a secure boot that allows only macOS authorized software to run and encrypts the hard drive to protect your data.

What’s the Issue?

Because of this security, a problem arises when a MacBook is turned in without being wiped.

Users can wipe their computer and create a fresh slate for the new user by factory resetting the device. This process requires the user to enter their password to authorize the deletion of all data on the drive.

Without this password, nobody can wipe the hard drive except Apple repair employees who have access to Apple’s official diagnostic software.

According to Vice, this security is a considerable problem to recyclers and refurbishers who take used Macs and restore them for resale. These companies are required by law to remove all existing data, but this can only be done by the original owner if the computer wasn’t reset.

Approximately 20 to 30 percent of T2-equipped Macs are not reset when they are sent in by an owner, said refurbisher John Bumstead to Vice.

These locked units are useless. Because they cannot resell these Macs, resellers often shred them and sell them for scrap. This happens to machines that are less than two years old and are fully functional except for being locked.

How to Factory Reset Your Mac

Taking a few minutes to reset your Mac is the best way to ensure your T2 Mac has a long life in the hands of another owner. It’s a relatively straightforward process to reset your Mac.

  1. Sign out of user accounts including iCloud, iMessage and iTunes
  2. Erase your hard drive and reinstall macOS following Apple’s instructions.
  3. After macOS is finished installing, the Mac will restart to the welcome screen.
  4. Press command-Q at this point to shut down the Mac and allow the new owner to complete the system configuration.

Does Your Mac Have a T2 Chip?

Before you worry about the T2 chip and wiping your Mac, you should confirm you have this added security feature.

  1. Open the Apple menu in the upper left corner.
  2. Click About This Mac.
  3. Click the button labeled System Report.
  4. In System Information window, look at the sidebar and click on either “Controller” or “iBridge” depending on the version of macOS that is installed.
  5. If the controller information says, “Apple T2 Security Chip,” your Mac has the Apple T2 security chip.
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