Open Disk Utility for me. If you have any files you want to save, copy them to another disk or volume before you erase the disk or volume they are on. Open the Disk Utility app on your Mac using one of the following methods, depending on the type of disk or volume you want to erase:. If you want to erase your startup disk or startup volume: If you want to erase any other type of disk or volume: If you want to erase a disk, eject each volume on the disk select the volume in the sidebar, then click the Eject button. Select the disk or volume in the sidebar, then click the Erase button.
APFS Case-sensitive: Uses the APFS format and is case-sensitive to file and folder names. Uses the APFS format, is case-sensitive to file and folder names, and encrypts the partition. Mac OS Extended Journaled: Uses the Mac format, requires a password, and encrypts the partition. Uses the Mac format and is case-sensitive to folder names.
Uses the Mac format, is case-sensitive to folder names, requires a password, and encrypts the partition. Just be aware that if you want to properly erase the hard drive that is also your startup drive, you will have to start your Mac from an external media first. An external hard drive or thumb drive will do. For help creating a bootable external drive, have a look at Apple's page here , or use a popular tool such as DiskMaker X.
As you can imagine, having an external bootable drive or installer drive can come in handy. Some people say that the standard erasing of an SSD makes data recovery hard enough for it to be "secure. Technology such as wear leveling , which tries to ensure each memory block on an SSD is used the same amount of times, can really mess with a secure erase. If we can't be confident an SSD was properly erased, then there is only one route to take that will ensure all data is beyond the reach of anyone: Using encryption. By using FileVault to encrypt the drive startup drive and Disk Utility to encrypt external drives, all the data on the drive will be garbled, unless someone has the encryption key your password.
Now, when it comes time to part with your drive, all you have to do is a basic erase in Disk Utility. This will delete your encryption key, leaving nothing but garbled data on the drive.
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Without a way to decrypt the garble, even if all of it is recovered, it will be useless. Of course, you can apply this to hard drives as well, but as those have actual secure erase options available, it's better to use those.
How to Securely Erase Data from Your Mac and External Drives | The Mac Security Blog
If you are unable to mount the drive, whether it's a hard drive or solid state drive, tools like Disk Utility won't help you. You might think that if you can't access it, neither will someone else. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While a dumpster diver won't go through the trouble of repairing the drive, someone with more time, deeper pockets and more motivation certainly can.
Securely erase a Mac hard drive
Hard drive platters can be extracted from the drive enclosure and read out using specialized equipment. For drives that are not accessible, there is only one option to ensure the data is unrecoverable: Smash it to bits. Professional data recovery companies can extract data from drives that were under water for long periods of time—or even in a serious fire. Smashing a hard drive with a sledgehammer or baseball bat is strangely satisfying too, but unless you open the enclosure to make sure the platters or chips are pulverized, even a few well-placed hits may not be enough to destroy your data.
Even better with SSD and FileVault 2
Of course, there is also a health hazard with debris flying around. So take precaution with this fun, albeit super destructive, method to securely erase data. A professional service that uses hard drive shredders is a safer and probably more effective option. That said, if you think you can do better than this , or if a professional service is not in your budget, or if you simply believe smashing it with a hammer is more satisfying, have at it!
Just make sure you take the necessary safety precautions.