MACbeth: Today you reinstall macOS

Thomas Henry

Oct 6, 2022

6 min read

A new beginning, a clean slate, a fresh start. We all need it from time to time and so does your Mac. Your Mac could be slow, facing a serious issue or you might be selling it so someone else can enjoy the Mac as you have. So, let’s reinstall macOS.

No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.

Why you might want to reinstall macOS

Scenario 1: Your Mac is facing a serious issue

Most people reinstall macOS when their Mac faces a serious issue, it may show too many popup messages, or some software might not work properly. In extreme cases, the Mac may not even boot up. Even though it’s uncommon, power users who frequently experiment with new software and change system settings are more likely to experience this. However, anyone can face this issue.

Scenario 2: You have a slow Mac

No one likes a slow computer, let alone a slow Mac. To resolve this issue, you may need to delete some starting applications, execute system updates, or wipe up your storage disk. Reinstalling the OS does this for you.

Scenario 3: You are selling your Mac

Because a Mac can retain its worth for so long, you can typically resale your system years later and retrieve some of the cost. You don’t want the new owner to have access to all of your files whether you sell the mac online or gift it to a near and dear one.

Scenario 4: Downgrading the existing OS

Most of the time, updating to the most recent version of macOS is a simple process. This gives you access to additional features and, in most cases, improved performance. However, you may regret changing the operating system on your Mac. Perhaps the most recent version included a modification that impacts your workflow, or perhaps it just does not operate properly on your older PC. In such instances, downgrading macOS is an option.
No matter what the reason, you have now chosen to reinstall the macOS.

Scenario 5: The ever-decreasing disk space

As and when a device is used by someone, the disk space of the device will always be in a state of decline as new files would be downloaded and they don’t come for free. Similarly to add fuel to the already existing fire, OS updates encroach over the already limited space and that is a major reason people prefer to simply reinstall macOS

The itinerary

There are quite a few steps in the reinstallation process to be followed

  1. Boot into the recovery mode
  2. Erasure of the disk
  3. Reinstall macOS
  4. Set up Mac for the first time again

The prologue: Before you reinstall macOS

Before we begin with the reinstallation, there are a few things we must keep in check. Back up your essential data, once the device is renewed with a new copy of the OS, the existing data may not be there. Once you have finished initializing the backup you might want to sign out of your applications. Some services limit the number of instances which can be signed into, so you would want to avoid losing access to such apps. Finally, wind up the pre-requisite steps by signing out of Apple services like iCloud and iTunes. One thing to consider before reinstalling macOS is to prevent users from upgrading the OS by themselves. Read more about it here.

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step: Begin to reinstall macOS

Gone are the days when we could use the DVD provided with the Mac that we purchased. Due to the absence of an optical drive, we must reinstall the macOS through the recovery mode.

  • You begin by shutting down the device.
  • Once the Mac is switched off, you need to hold ⌘+R and turn the power back on.
  • Continue holding the 2 keys until the is on screen.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to use the internet recovery mode which runs on the internet instead of a partition on your hard drive. To access this hold ⌘+⌥+R at startup.

To erase, or not to erase. That is the question.

If simply reinstalling macOS is the goal, then you can skip this step and go forward to the next. To truly reinstall macOS you’ll need to erase your disk. To achieve this:

  • select Disk Utility from the menu and select your internal hard drive (aptly named Macintosh HD) from the left menu.
  • Switch to the Erase menu on the right and make sure the Format is set to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). The name can be given as per your desire.
  • Click Erase and confirm the operation.
  • You have now successfully erased the disk and are ready for the next step.
  • To recommence press ⌘+Q to quit the disk utility.

The raison d’être.

Now that we’re back on the macOS utility menu, you can proceed with why you’re here.

  • Choosing Reinstall macOS (or Reinstall OS X) will begin the reinstallation process, Apple now verifies the computer’s capacity to install macOS.
  • You might be prompted to enter your Apple ID as a part of this process.
  • You will now be asked to accept the license agreement.
  • After proceeding with the due diligence click install.
  • Depending on your hardware specifications (and internet connection speed if you chose that method) this will take some time.

While you wait, grab a cup of coffee and take a journey with us exploring the online security risks in Mac and how to combat them.

The epilogue

Once you see the Welcome screen your Mac is back to factory defaults. If the Mac is going to see a new owner, then pressing ⌘+Q at this point will shut down the laptop and the new owner can set it up according to their liking. Unless the Mac is going to a new home, continue to be guided throughout the setup.

The sequel: What to do after you reinstall macOS

Congratulations! You have now reinstalled macOS. Let’s set it up.
You are now facing the welcome screen.

  • Choose your region and click continue.
  • Confirm your keyboard layout and hit continue.
  • If you skipped step 2 then now you can restore the data backed up from the time machine.
  • You can also transfer information from a Windows PC if needed or choose not to transfer any data and continue.
  • You then enter the Apple ID of your choice and then, you guessed it. Continue.
  • Accept the terms and conditions, then create your computer account if you didn’t sign in with Apple ID earlier.

Now you wait for the computer to set up and there you have it. A new instance of macOS.

Thomas Henry

A writer, reader, and traveller. Also, a comic book, TV & film geek who is always on the lookout for adventures in the concrete jungle.

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