Apple announced macOS Monterey during this week’s WWDC event and one of the features that didn’t get mentioned, but is an important one, is the arrival of a new “Erase All Contents and Settings” option.
If that sounds familiar it’s because the same feature already exists on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches.
It’s a great way to completely remove all data from a device before selling it or recycling it – and it’s coming to the Mac with macOS Monterey. Currently, removing data from a Mac can be a multi-step affair and it’s easy to get wrong. That’s all going to change with macOS Monterey, however.
Apple detailed how the new feature will work.
System Preferences now offers an option to erase all user data and user-installed apps from the system, while maintaining the operating system currently installed. Because storage is always encrypted on Mac systems with Apple silicon or the T2 chip, the system is instantly and securely “erased” by destroying the encryption keys.
macOS Monterey is currently in developer beta and will enter a phase of public beta testing next month. It’ll be made available to the rest of the Mac userbase this fall, although Apple hasn’t been more specific than that as yet.