Disable iCloud Before You Get Rid Of Your Mac

Disable iCloud Before You Get Rid Of Your Mac

Using iCloud to monitor the location of your Apple devices is an easy way to keep track of your stuff, and lock it down when it’s in the wrong hands. Just remember to say goodbye to iCloud before you sell that ageing iMac. Designer Brenden Mulligan signed into his iCloud account and found an old friend waiting for him among his list of devices: the iMac he had sold nearly three years prior.

Photo: Brian Kersey (Getty)

Mulligan had formatted and reset the machine, so there was no trace of his data on it, but the device was still associated with his iCloud account, and still let him interact with the sold iMac, thanks to Find My Mac and its theft prevention tools. He may have removed all his data from the machine, but it turned out there there was more to be done.

Just wiping your Mac, it turns out, won’t get rid of its association with you. Unless you separate it from your actual iCloud account, you’ll still be able to track your old Mac, at least until its new owner signs into their own iCloud account. In Brenden’s case, that hadn’t happened, which is why he was able to keep tabs on his old all-in-one for nearly three years.

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So: before you sell your Apple device, be sure to remove it from your iCloud account like so:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Click iCloud
  3. Deselect Find My Mac

You should also remove your iCloud account from the device:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Click iCloud
  3. Click Sign Out

After removing your iCloud account from your Mac or iOS device, feel free to format the computer or reset the device to its factory settings to prepare it for its next journey. If you want to go the extra mile to get this Mac as far away from you as possible, ensure its new owner signs in to their iCloud account to associate the device with the new owner.

That way you won’t find yourself accidentally stalking some unsuspecting buyer who just wanted a decent computer for their home office. 


  • I know this is on the more technical side but if I may share.

    As well as signing out, it is a good idea to at least zero out the drive and do a fresh install of macOS.

    For the most part, it’s to make sure no non-iCloud data remains on the machine and strengthens one’s privacy.

    It’s also good for the person receiving the machine. The machine maybe “new to them”, but at least the experience will be new and fresh for them.

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