How to securely dispose of your old Mac

“It’s time to move on and end your relationship with your current Mac. You had good times together; you’ll always have memories of the best moments you shared,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Intego. “But there’s a better Mac now, it may be faster, have a better display, or be lighter and more portable. While break-ups are always tough, it’s good to make this one as smooth as possible.”

“Your Mac contains a lot of personal information, and is connected to a number of Apple accounts,” McElhearn writes. “When you plan to dispose of your Mac — whether you sell it, give it away, or send it for recycling — there are a number of things you should do to make sure your data and your accounts remain secure.”

McElhearn writes, “There are also a few steps you need to take to remove that Mac from Apple’s accounts.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Have fun deauthorizing and securely erasing!

38 Comments

  1. Thanks to Tim Cook focusing Apple on social issues instead of computers, for the first time since the early 80’s I will be purchasing a non-Apple computer and transitioning to Ubuntu/Linux.

    Purchases throughout the years: Apple II, Mac 512k, Mac LC, iMac gumdrop (grey and purple), eMac, iMac snowball, Intel iMac 24″, MacBook Color, Macbook Pro (at least 5 that I can remember; 17″, 15″ and three 13″), Newton (yes, I am willing to admit it), iPod 1 and many other iPods, iPhones of various flavors. Probably forgetting some, but no longer.

    I refuse to support Tim Cook’s Apple. Suppressing free speech that you disagree with is criminal. China and Theocratic States get a free pass from Tim Cook. But white supremacy sites are blocked from using Apple Pay??? Apple hypocrisy on full display.

    White supremacy is vile. I do not support them in any way. The three individuals who won’t be able to buy a racist T-shirt are not my concern. But I do support their right to speak. Apple’s willingness to ‘stand up’ to a small group of idiots but cow-tow to China’s regime is disgusting.

    Finding a tech company that understands this basic right is going to be damn near impossible. But I wont purchase any more Apple gear.

    End of Line.

    1. “But I do support their right to speak.”

      Apple didn’t infringe upon their right to speak. Apple simply did not want to process payment transactions and be part of the purchasing process for racist t-shirts.

      They’re still allow to speak. They’re still allowed to have a website. They’re still allowed to sell racist t-shirts. Apple just doesn’t want to be a part of their business.

      Just out of curiosity, but what company are you going to be buying a computer from which does process payments for these groups?

      As far as the hypocrisy with China…

      You really should watch/listen to some interviews with Cook on this specific issue. He very directly addresses it. You may disagree or agree, but he’s not being hypocritical.

      The two cases are different. Not being a part of selling racist t-shirts is choosing not to propagate that messaging at the expense of… well, really nothing. For every one of you, there are many others who further respect the brand.

      By contrast, not doing business in China would have no positive impact whatsoever. Instead, by furthering the adoption of devices that enable information and communication, Apple is providing part of the basic infrastructure which will be used for news, education, and eventually change.

      1. Apple (Tim Cook) is choosing who can use Apple products and who can’t based on Apple’s perception of right-and-wrong. There are bakeries in the USA that have had courts tell them this is illegal. With minor exception, companies don’t get to chose who they can and can-not do business with.

        You are very correct that there will be others who further respect the brand. That is exactly what Cook is expecting. Standing up to a small group of bullies is excellent PR. Standing up to China, now that WOULD hurt the brand. It’s all about the shareholders. In this day and age of ‘pat-yourself-on-the-back’ feel good superiority, company actions such as this feed directly into the company coffers.

        I have been watching Apple’s views on China very closely. I disagree with him, thus my decision. Apple stands to make billions in China. If they don’t, someone else will. It is a race to exploit. I don’t buy for a second Apple’s claim about basic communication needs in China. Either the company supports oppression/freedom of speech or they don’t. For me, they can’t have it both ways.

        It is a personal decision and I am not a billion-dollar company. And yeah, it will suck picking gear in the future. Agreed.

        1. “Either the company supports oppression/freedom of speech or they don’t.”

          That’s not how the world works. Absolutism is not very useful. As the saying goes, no-one has the freedom of speech to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater.

          But anyway — what is this perfect company you perfectly matches your principles?

          1. Short answer to your question about companies matching principles – none. I don’t value the dollar more than my morals. That is not intended as a criticism. Good companies (for the shareholders) are profit/success driven. If the shareholders agree with the companies positions, great. Let’s avoid diving deeper down this rabbit hole. Capitalism reigns for the time being.

            I believe that a computer/media company shouldn’t be dictating who may or may not use their products based on beliefs. Especially companies that are richer than most nations. That is bordering on fascism.

            Its not about absolutism. Apple picked an easy target by singling out white supremacist. Who does Apple black-list from using their products next?

            1. “Its not about absolutism. Apple picked an easy target by singling out white supremacist. Who does Apple black-list from using their products next?”

              Pedophile groups? Terrorists? The slippery slope goes both ways. Why not boycott Apple when they actually stop doing business with a group that you object to?

              “I believe that a computer/media company shouldn’t be dictating who may or may not use their products based on beliefs. Especially companies that are richer than most nations. That is bordering on fascism.

              Actually, it’s just Apple saying they don’t want to take part in retailing racist shirts. Those racist a-holes are allowed to buy and use Apple products, Apple just doesn’t want to process payments on racist shirts.

            2. Payment processing is a product that Apple provides to the retail industry. Picking and choosing which retailers get to use Apple products simply because of their beliefs makes Apple just as reprehensible as a baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay couple.

              And, no. It only works one way. Apple’s way. Conform to Tim Cooks beliefs or Apple will ban you from using their products. Scary times.

            3. So let me get this straight. Your moral code tells you it is okay for a bakery to deny service to a couple who are not heterosexuals. That discrimination is fine in your book. But Apple, you think, should be boycotted for coosing to refuse to do business with a hate group that specifically tries to make money by spreading symbols of, among other things, fascism or slavery. Then you call Apple fascist.

              Apple isn’t fascist, it is corporatist and it has probably done the maths to determine what political position makes the most amount of profit. Not unlike Ford, which calculated that the lawsuits from the burning deaths of Pinto owners would be less expensive than the cost to make the fuel tank safe. Big evil government didn’t force a minimum standard at that time, so profiteer gets to choose what to do and customers get the freedom to take it from company A or from company B or go without.

              That’s why MDN’s fantasy of a world without government rules is a fantasy and the naive republican support of always trusting corporate leaders is a bad policy.

            4. No. My moral code says that a business should provide service to the community. A business should not pick and chose who gets to use its products simply because of beliefs. If I was a baker I wouldn’t care about who you were marrying, just that I got to sell a cake. I wouldn’t make a moral call.

              Apple is large enough to not care about three three idiots not being able to buy a hateful t-shirt. But Apple can make a hell of a lot of publicity by refusing to let those vile companies use Apple Pay. So we are in agreement that Apple’s decision was a calculated move designed to maximize profits.

            5. Apple is not an outlier. There in lies the problem. For-Profit companies are dictating what is socially right and what is wrong. Its nothing new, regrettably. But when companies chose who get to use their products based on some moral code, I take issue.

              Remove all the social gunk around this issue and my core statement to Apple is this, “Get off your social high-horse and get back to making insanely great products.”

              Under Tim Cook, I believe Apple has taken its eye off the ball.

            6. Payment processing is a service not a product. That may seem like a pedantic distinction, but it’s rather important in this case.

              Apple isn’t denying these groups the ability to buy or use their products as in iPhones, computers, iPads, etc…

              What Apple is doing is denying to work with them on the service that provides racist shirts for sale, such that a buyer is using that service for the purchase.

              This is very different from the cake and the gay couple, we’ve already gone over the legal reasoning, but just from a moral perspective one is discriminating against a group of people based on who they are, the other is discriminating against a group of people for what they are doing, and in this case, propagating hate/violence with the products being sold via the service specifically communicating this.

              I think I’d be more aligned with you if…

              1) Apple was doing this in a more morally ambiguous situation.

              2) Apple wasn’t protecting their brand identity.

              3) Apple was a monopoly for the service with the group having no other option.

              4) The boycotting of Apple made any sort of reasonable sense.

              That last one is really a big hurdle here. You’re refusing to do business with a company based on what they believe in which is not doing business with a group that believes in all kinds of discrimination (as well as hate/bigotry/racism/etc…).

              Further, you’re going to boycott Apple, but in doing so do business with companies that are/have been doing the exact same thing. Notably, other payment services companies have chosen not to do business with these groups.

              Just a thought, but if you own a business, should we boycott your business for the very same reason you’re boycotting Apple?

            7. I disagree that ApplePay is not a product. But I’ll concede for discussion.

              Apple chose a side in the Charloteville fiasco. Both sides came armed and itching for a fight. Apple choosing not to work with one side and letting the other side pass is wrong.

              Counterpoints or concessions to your four points:

              1) Apple didn’t have a problem with providing the service until after Charlottesville. Apple has a history of ambiguity regarding what rules they play by, changing the board on a whim. Others have expressed frustration with Apple in the past for this very same reason.

              2) denying three idiots the ability to purchase t-shirts is not protecting brand identity. Apple knew what those losers were selling (or should have) prior to Charlottesville. Apple changed direction when it was convenient for Apple.

              3) ok. You got me on this one. There are other options. But as you have pointed out, those companies are going the same as Apple, choosing not to do business with these groups only after it became socially inconvenient.

              4) ok. Got me again. My boycott won’t amount to a hill of beans for Apple. But it makes me feel better. In the larger scheme of things, big deal. But in my small world it matters.

              Apple does not believe in, ‘not doing business with hate groups’. They had no problem prior to Charlottesville. Call me a cynic, but I believe it was strictly a PR move.

        2. “Apple (Tim Cook) is choosing who can use Apple products and who can’t based on Apple’s perception of right-and-wrong. There are bakeries in the USA that have had courts tell them this is illegal. With minor exception, companies don’t get to chose who they can and can-not do business with.”

          This just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the civil rights act and how it pertains to protected classes.

          You might want to read up on the following:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

          Religion is a protected class. Racism is not a protected class. A business can choose not to conduct business with another or a customer who is racist. Apple’s not even doing that. They’re choosing not to participate in the retailing of racist t-shirts, and in no way does this infringe upon the group’s 1st amendment right.

          “And yeah, it will suck picking gear in the future. Agreed.” Yep, because no computer company is partnering with them in retailing racist shirts, and pretty much every computer company does business with China.”

          1. I have been attempting not to take a legalistic view of the situation. The law is a floor. A minimum. I’d like to believe that people won’t settle at the bottom of the curve. But history is proving me wrong again and again.

            1. Fair enough but I’m just pointing out that what you said about the courts and the bakeries was incorrect. The courts told the bakery that they could not violate the customer’s civil rights, not that the bakery couldn’t chose who to do business with outside of that.

            2. True enough. I am happy to concede your point.

              I’ll return to my original concern… corporations picking and choosing who gets to use their products based on the CEO’s likes and dislikes is very troubling, regardless of how popular those likes and dislikes are socially.

    2. carassius, I personally believe that your rationale for leaving the Mac is total bunk. But whatever makes you happy.

      This is not a free speech issue, in my opinion. And you are not going to find greener pastures anywhere else in the retail world. But again, whatever makes you happy.

      With respect to the right to free speech, my opinion is guided by the great minds of our past. The speech that requires the most protection is the speech that conflicts with your own viewpoint. It is far too easy for the majority to suppress the opinions of the minority, and that leads to the disintegration of a democracy. Dissenting opinions, no matter how repulsive they may be personally, are a critical ingredient to a functioning democracy. Many dissenters throughout American history have, in subsequent decades, been judged to have seen the better path despite the harsh vitriol that was issued to their ideas at the time by the majority (or, at least, the vocal majority). That does not mean that you have to support dissenting opinions, but the First Amendment must be upheld and protected for the welfare of this country.

      Amendment I

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      It should be noted that the First Amendment protects the right to *peaceably* assemble. I stressed the peaceful aspect because, in my opinion, arriving at a protest armed with weapons and clad in helmets and body armor invites violence. This is an example of a case in which I believe that the First Amendment supersedes the Second Amendment. A protest/counter-protest assembly is a potential powder keg for violence. In such a situation, the presence of firearms (and knives and clubs and other weapons) can easily lead to horrific escalation from a simple confrontation and disorderly conduct to a battle zone. In Charlottesville, the white supremacists and other allied groups arrived prepared for violence and incited violence, thus violating the First Amendment. They, like everyone else, have the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble under the law. But those rights can be abused.

      carassius, I believe that your views on China are overly simplistic and myopic. Do you carry those views to their natural conclusion and eschew all products created by the highly flawed People’s Republic of China? If not, then you are simply picking and choosing your claimed moral high ground for dramatic effect and personal satisfaction. In truth, you end up in a morally weaker position than others.

      1. I appreciate your detailed answer. But I do believe you are discussing ‘free speech’ when discussing ‘peaceable assembly’. For what its worth I agree with almost everything you say. So why is Apple targeting one side of the equation and giving the other a pass? Both sides came loaded for bear and itching for a fight. An honest civic discussion needs to address all involved, not just single one side out because most (myself included) don’t believe what they stand for. Ignoring one side’s penchant for violence does a great disservice to the public discussion.

        Regarding China, I never said I was boycotting China made products. My point is that Apple is picking and choosing a claimed moral high ground simply for convenience and the almighty dollar. I believe Apple has chosen a morally weak position chasing popularity.

        For what its worth, I don’t purchase food products from China and I do look for alternatives when shopping for other products. I support local when I can. I support mom-and-pop when I can. I try to live my life with as clean a conscience as I can.

        Distilling my point down to its lowest common denominator, “Apple! Get off your social high horse and get back to making Insanely Great Products!”

    3. Not wanting to carp on your pov…but why are you here? Why are you “sharing” your opinion? Are you a proselytizer? Are you intent on evangelizing we happy Apple-ites to follow Saint Linus of The Open Source? Why are you here? Spread your chum elsewhere less the carnivorous chompers you attract catastrophically un-man you…oh, the tragedy of an opinion led astray. Oh my.

      1. I’ve been an Apple user for Almost 40 years expressing an opinion about Apple. This is not about Linux. I’m not attempting to proselytize anything other than my wish that Apple would refocus attention on what made Apple, insanely great products. Mr. Cook is distracted by social issues.

        Up until your comment this has been a rewarding and engaging conversation. I encourage you to follow the thread in full and the intelligent responses from others. Disagreeing without being disagreeable is a talent sorely lacking in today’s social climate.

    4. Moving this back to a top level for readability, but replying to your latest response…

      “Apple didn’t have a problem with providing the service until after Charlottesville.”

      Sure they did. Their published policy states that Apple Pay is “Prohibited on sites promoting hate, intolerance, and violence based on race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.”

      The sites were violating the policies of Apple Pay from the beginning. The two sites that were banned are very low traffic with not enough traffic for Alexa site rankings. One implemented Apple Pay between after October 2016 and the other sometime after August 2, 2017.

      It seems very likely to me that nobody bothered to report these sites to Apple until after Charlottesville and when these sites started selling shirts relating to the terrorist act that took place, specifically a bumper sticker showing a car plowing into stick figure demonstrators.

      “denying three idiots the ability to purchase t-shirts is not protecting brand identity.”

      It absolutely is.

      Do you really think it’s good for Apple’s brand to be associated with selling bumper stickers promoting acts of terrorism?

      “Apple does not believe in, ‘not doing business with hate groups’.”

      Yes, they very much do. Look, I’m just some guy on the Internet, and it’s silly for me to expect you to believe that I have any insight into anyone involved at Apple, but I do, and I could point you in the right direction for finding out for yourself, which isn’t too hard if you’re in the Bay Area, or take part in any national political organizations.

      It’s not too hard to listen to things like Tim Cook addressing HRC (Human Rights Council) or other interviews, and commencement speeches that demonstrate where their values are, and have been for a very long time.

      One weird thing about Apple is that due to their success, relatively tiny executive management team, and where shareholder power resides, Apple is being run in many ways that isn’t solely about returning profits to shareholders… for better or for worse, and many of these things get fuzzy on what the team wants versus protecting identity, but there are some very clear results from this.

      PS: Thanks for keeping this debate civil and sharing your thoughts and opinions. I wish more on MDN could be like you (whether I agree or disagree with them).

      1. Thank you for continuing the discussion. I have really enjoyed it. And your responses have softened my original stance. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

        I’ll focus on Apple’s policy that Apple Pay is “Prohibited on sites promoting hate, intolerance, and violence based on race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.”

        Someone at Apple dropped the ball, allowing this group to use Apple Pay. Granted, the approval process is layers removed from management. BUT… that simply highlights my point regarding how difficult it is for corporations to determine what constitutes hate, intolerance, and violence based on race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I agree that many times it is easy. But there are grey moments that are neither black or white. Banning this hate group is a black and white issue, no doubt. But I’m sure there are other groups that Tim Cook shares common beliefs with, yet these groups also promote hate. I am uncomfortable having a corporation dictating who can or cannot use their products/services based on management’s beliefs and popular opinion (which I currently agree with, but may not in future management decisions).

        Taking my point to the extreme for dramatic effect only, how do you determine the race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation of a stick figure on a bumper sticker? (For what its worth, I live in Santa Cruz. I know bumper stickers. Many of them are specifically purposed to antagonize; both the left and the right sides of the discussion.)

        My admiration for Apple makes me hypercritical of their ‘non-insanely great product’ decisions. I do not have the same connection for Google/Alphabet. In my mind that company has no soul and has always been searching for a reason to exist beyond being a search engine. But that is a whole ‘nother discussion for another time.

        Your last paragraph about Apple’s weirdness is spot-on correct. Its the fuzziness that concerns me. Bringing it up many levels and generalizing a lot… the left has always been afraid of corporations taking over the world and controlling everything (Umbrella Corporation – Yay, Resident Evil!). I’m fearful that is currently happening, but many on the left are aligned with the current CEO’s beliefs. When those alignments drift, what then?

        … And that last thought is too damn deep for a Wednesday morning. 😉

        1. “Someone at Apple dropped the ball, allowing this group to use Apple Pay. Granted, the approval process is layers removed from management. “

          There’s only an automated process for setting up Apple Pay. There’s no content/product/service review.

          The removal/banning process is a result of user reporting, and someone making a decision based on reviewing the complaint, the site, and making a determination based on their policies.

          I searched, but I can’t find any other instances of Apple blocking the use of Apple Pay on websites other than this particular instance.

          “Taking my point to the extreme for dramatic effect only, how do you determine the race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation of a stick figure on a bumper sticker?”

          Well, in this case we actually know the woman’s name that the figure represents. It’s pretty clearly promoting terrorism. However the other items range from obviously promoting racism to subtly supporting it to being ambiguous. You’re right, it won’t always be an exact science, but it doesn’t have to be. See below…

          “(For what its worth, I live in Santa Cruz. I know bumper stickers.”

          LOL, so true.

          “I’m fearful that is currently happening, but many on the left are aligned with the current CEO’s beliefs. When those alignments drift, what then?”

          Well, would you go to a restaurant that was owned by say a Klan/Nazi leader, knowing that the profits from your dollars spent there would be used for racist propaganda?

          I wouldn’t.

          It sounds like you wouldn’t either because you’re willing to boycott Apple for taking action based on what they believe in.

          The actions of refusing service/products or patronage aren’t evil or illegal in of themselves. It’s the reasons why that may make them evil or illegal. In this case, not providing Apple Pay services to retailers of racist propaganda isn’t evil/illegal any more than denying those services to a website that was a scam/fraud or selling dangerous items.

          If a company developed Company Pay and denied services say to African American owned websites, that would be evil and illegal. The law would protect against that. If Company Pay was denied to say sites owned by homosexuals, that wouldn’t necessarily be illegal (depending on state), so it’s up to us to decide if it’s evil, and act accordingly.

          I have my own sense of what’s right and what’s wrong and want to spend my dollars on companies that do the right thing as opposed to ones that do the wrong thing or act with disregard to what’s right or wrong.

          Companies have the incentive to act in accordance with what people think is right and in this case doing so may or may not have an impact on the business, but it doesn’t normalize them.

          BTW: I’m a huge Resident Evil fan.

        1. If the drive is mostly full, it will probably take longer to encrypt the drive and erase it than it would to securely erase it with a single pass.

          I’d highly recommend turning on FileVault to begin with.

            1. You can select the number of passes for Secure Erase. It’s a slider that doesn’t quite tell you what’s going on, but it’s 1 to 7 passes.

              It depends upon how full the drive is for comparison to single pass, but anything more than single pass would likely be faster to encrypt… however that defeats the whole purpose of selecting more than single pass. The best option is to just encrypt to begin with.

        1. I’ve always replaced the hard drives in old Macs before selling them and kept the old drive in case I need to access any long forgotten files on it. It used to be very easy, but they’re making access to the drives increasingly more difficult.

          The new drive gets a fresh install of the most recent version of Mac OS possible and the buyer is good to go without any risk of nasty surprises for them or me.

          1. 1- Pull the hard drive
            2- Demagnetize it
            3- Take a screwdriver and drive a hole through the platters.
            4- Send it to recycling meltdown.

            That is how you keep your financial data secure.

            I would never sell one of the sealed up Macs made today eBay or Gazelle. There are too many recovery methods and I want my investments, retirement funds and banking info to stay secure.

  2. I’ve got a G4 MDD in the closet and a first gen Intel cheese grater that Is non op. Someday I’ll just pull the hard drives and render them useless. Currently enjoying my factory refurb mid 09 MBP with it’s non glare screen.

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