In context: Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday with a keynote of what’s coming in all of its operating systems. The team covered many new features like Live Text for macOS and iOS and Universal Control for macOS and iPadOS. However, the team did not have time to cover all changes to all systems.
Even as WWDC 2021 starts to wind up through Friday’s conclusion, we’re still learning things from the various developer seminars Apple has held throughout the week and going through the release notes. One new feature for macOS Monterey that the team didn’t cover on Monday is the ability to Restart a Mac to factory condition without having to format the drive or reinstall macOS.
In System Preferences, users will find a new option called “Erase all content and settings”. This option removes user profiles, data, and all applications. It will also revert all settings to factory defaults. Eliminate the time consuming process of formatting the HDD / SDD and reinstalling macOS.
But how safe is it? Data never disappears from a drive unless it is zeroed. Therefore, the Monterey method would generally not be preferred for those who want to sell their device. However, since Apple started using the T2 security chip (and now built into the M1), the data on a Mac drive is encrypted and the process of erasing all user data also destroys the keys. Apple claims that it is completely safe with no possibility of data recovery.
The feature doesn’t have the wow factor of, say, the Universal Control demo, which is why Craig Federighi didn’t mention it in the main note. However, sysadmins who sometimes have to restart multiple computers on a monthly basis for new hires probably applaud the option, which should significantly speed up their workflow.