How to Do macOS Clean Install: Guide

If your Mac is running slow or you just want a fresh start, a clean install of macOS can make your computer feel brand new again.

Here’s how to do a macOS clean install easily and effectively.

What You Need Before You Begin

Before you start the process of a clean install, there are a few things you’ll need:

Backup Your Data

A clean install means all data on your Mac will be erased.

Make sure to back up important files.

You can use an external hard drive or a cloud service.

macOS Installer

You’ll need to download the macOS installer.

Go to the App Store and find the latest version of macOS.

Click “Get” to download the installer.

USB Drive

Get a USB drive with at least 16GB of storage.

You’ll use this to create a bootable installer.

Admin Access

Make sure you have admin access to your Mac.

You’ll need it to make changes to the system.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Create a Bootable USB Installer

First, insert your USB drive.

Open Disk Utility by searching for it in Spotlight.

Select the USB drive and click “Erase”.

Choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and click “Erase”.

Once done, open Terminal.

sudo /Applications/Install macOS [Version].app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/YourUSBDrive
Replace [Version] with the macOS version and YourUSBDrive with the USB drive name.

Press Enter, then enter your admin password and wait for it to create the bootable installer.

Step 2: Boot from the USB Installer

Shut down your Mac.

Turn it back on and immediately press and hold the Option (⌥) key.

Keep holding until you see the Startup Manager window.

Choose the USB drive to boot from and press Enter.

Step 3: Erase Your Mac Hard Drive

Once the macOS Utilities window appears, select Disk Utility.

In Disk Utility, select your main hard drive and click “Erase”.

Choose “APFS” or “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” format.

Click “Erase” to wipe your hard drive completely.

Step 4: Install macOS

Close Disk Utility and go back to the macOS Utilities window.

Select “Install macOS”.

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

This process will take some time, so be patient.

Finalizing Your macOS Setup

After the installation is complete, your Mac will restart.

Follow the setup instructions to configure your preferences.

You can restore your files from your backup during the setup.

Select “Transfer Information From a Time Machine Backup or Startup Disk” if you backed up your data.

Once setup is complete, your Mac is ready with a clean install of macOS.

Updating and Installing Apps

Now that you have a fresh macOS, it’s time to update and install necessary apps.

System Preferences

Head to System Preferences and check for any updates.

Install any available updates to keep your Mac secure and up-to-date.

Reinstall Your Apps

Download and reinstall the apps you need.

Use the App Store or the developers’ websites to get the latest versions.

Tips for Keeping Your Mac Clean

A clean install is just the beginning.

Here are some tips to keep your Mac running smoothly:

Regular Backups

Make it a routine to back up your data.

Use Time Machine for automatic backups.

Stay Updated

Keep macOS and your applications up-to-date.

This helps keep your system secure and efficient.

Manage Storage

Regularly check your storage usage.

Delete files and apps you don’t need.

Use the “Manage Storage” option in “About This Mac”.


A macOS clean install can breathe new life into your Mac.

It’s a great way to start fresh and resolve performance issues.

Just remember to back up your data first, create a bootable installer, and follow the steps carefully.

Enjoy your refreshed Mac experience!