Can A MacBook Be Tracked After Factory Reset: Top 6 Steps

Can a MacBook be tracked after factory reset? [Top 6 Steps]

Can a MacBook be tracked after factory reset? This question is still a topic of debate for many people. Some users believe that resetting to factory settings will create a problem and erase all data traces and make the device untraceable.

Is it so? Let’s find out together.

can a macbook be tracked after factory reset

Tracking a MacBook after factory reset process

To understand tracking, it’s essential to know what a MacBook factory reset means. When the device is restarted hard, all the data, settings, and applications that were previously stored are deleted, and the device is returned to the original operating system state.

To save your data, make a copy of the data.

The factory reset process can restore your MacBook to its original settings, or fix any configuration issues that may be affecting its normal functioning. This includes troubleshooting software updates, fixing operating system bugs, and improving overall performance. To factory reset your Mac, you must be in macOS recovery.

And so, is it possible to track the MacBook after resetting? As already noted, resetting deletes most of the device’s data and setups, and therefore tracking after resetting settings can be a difficult task.

You should also keep in mind that a properly performed MacBook reset clears NVRAM and disables the Find My utilities’ enable find feature, making your MacBook impossible to find. Adding a firmware password to your MacBook protects against unauthorized NVRAM resets and disables the Find My feature.

The options to disable or enable “Find My” in the System Preferences menu help you control the ability to track your MacBook. While an improper reset can result in keeping your old iCloud user account and tracking capability.

Furthermore, there are additional techniques you can take to increase the chances of locating your MacBook even in the event of a factory reset.

Serial number permanence

Maintaining anonymity after a factory reset can be difficult because each MacBook has a unique serial number.

This number remains constant even after a reset and can be used by local law enforcement and Apple to track down a missing Mac.

If you have a new Mac, you can find the number on the original box of the computer.

For older Macs, you may need to search online for the serial number.

Once you have the serial number, you can contact Apple Support to locate your lost or stolen MacBook. They may be able to find your device if it is still registered under an Apple ID.

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Apple and iCloud activation lock

Apple has strong security measures in place to protect its devices, even after they have been reset to factory defaults.

Enter your Apple ID and password to unlock your device. This process requires the activation lock feature associated with iCloud.

If your MacBook is linked to an iCloud account, the Activation Lock remains active after resetting the MacBook to factory settings, making it challenging for unauthorized users to gain access.

Firmware and continuous tracking

If you perform a factory reset on your MacBook, all data on the hard disk will be erased. However, it might not completely erase all traces of having existed.

Firmware-level tracking mechanisms, such as the MacBook’s unique Firmware Update (DFU) mode, can still be used to identify the device.

Can lost or stolen MacBook be traced?

The only situation we don’t want to be in is to lose something important to you. And if you own an expensive Apple device like a MacBook, losing or stealing it can be devastating, right?

To our great joy, a stolen or lost Macbook can be tracked in several ways, such as by IP address, GPS tracking system, or with the Find My Mac utility.

Let’s explore the possibility of tracking your lost or stolen MacBook, where the Find My Mac utility can help.

First, you need to worry about connecting the “Find Mac” function, which is inactive by default from the factory. To enable Find My Mac, all you need to do is follow the instructions below:

  • go to the menu and select “System Preferences”
  • once you’re in, go ahead and click on the iCloud panel
  • if you’re not already logged into iCloud on your Mac, enter your credentials
  • then, search for “Find My Mac”
  • make sure it has a checkmark next to it
  • after that, click on the “Allow” button.

You have set up Find My Mac and the worst thing that could happen is happening. Now you have two options to locate your device using a configured Find My Mac or Find My MacBook Pro. You can use any Mac or computer that can run a web browser, or you can use the Find My Mac app on your iPhone or iPad.

To use a web browser on a new computer with two-factor authentication enabled, you need trusted devices registered to your iCloud account to receive an authentication code. Usually, this will be an iPhone. Afterward, open iCloud on your Mac or PC, go to, and log in with your username and password.

To ensure your security, create a strong password and enable the “Require a password when you sleep or when the screen saver starts” option in the Security & Privacy section of System Preferences.

If you’re using a trusted device, click Allow and enter the six-digit code that appears. If you’re using a public computer, select Do Not Trust to prevent unauthorized access.

Once you’re logged in, click the Find button on the iCloud home screen. From the All Devices menu, select your MacBook.

If your Mac is online, the map will show its location and the time since you last confirmed its presence in Find My Mac.

Now you have three options displayed in a window at the top right of the screen under the name of your MacBook. You can play a sound to locate your MacBook, even if it’s not nearby. This may startle the thief and cause them to abandon your laptop. You can also track your stolen MacBook using the ‘Find My Mac’ feature, which displays a message on the screen.

To prevent unauthorized access, you can log into Find My Mac on a Mac, PC, or iOS device and use the Erase or Lock buttons to wipe data or lock the thief out of your MacBook.

If Find My Mac is enabled and the activation lock is active on your MacBook, performing a factory reset will prevent unauthorized access to the device without your Apple ID and password. This can be an effective disincentive for thieves.

To increase security, do not enable a guest account during a factory reset. Enabling a guest account before a reset may offer limited tracking capabilities.

Also, a big plus for protecting your device will be the default enabled FileVault, a macOS feature that is a full startup disk encryption. Without it, files on the disk will remain unencrypted and anyone with access to the disk can read them. FileVault is very easy to set up and is enabled in the OS’ system preferences. So take care to enable this feature on your device.

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Bottom line

In conclusion, it is incorrect to assume that a MacBook is untraceable after being reset to its factory defaults. Although resetting removes user data, some persistent elements like the unique number and activation lock can still be tracked.

In addition, Apple has created a feature that, when pre-enabled, increases the chances of quickly finding the Mac if it is stolen or the owner has lost it.

To stay safe, users need to understand these differences and take extra steps to protect their privacy, data, and devices.

It is also recommended to neglect the available and reliable security features for your MacBook provided to the consumer by the manufacturer itself.

Install protection functions immediately after purchasing an Apple product — this is a guarantee of security for your Mac, as well as your protection from financial losses.

Users can contact Apple Support, report a lost or stolen device, and ensure the device is removed from their iCloud account.

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Topics & Questions

The topics and questions presented will help supplement the basic question of can a MacBook be tracked after factory reset.

Can MacBook be tracked after reset?

Even if the MacBook is reset to factory defaults, its unique serial number remains the same. If the MacBook is lost or stolen, you can use this number to track its location.

Additionally, the company has implemented strong security features to protect its devices after a factory reset.

Can a stolen Mac be traced?

If your MacBook was recently lost or stolen, you can use iCloud’s location software to trace it. Additionally, modern MacBooks come with built-in security features, such as the T2 security chip, which can also help locate the device if it is stolen.

Does factory reset remove Apple ID from MacBook?

The answer is yes. After a factory reset, your MacBook will no longer be associated with your previous Apple ID. It will be like setting up a new MacBook.

Can data be recovered from Mac after factory reset?

The answer is yes. Factory resetting a Mac only performs a quick erase of the volume, which means that it erases the file directory but does not overwrite any data on the drive.

As a result, it is possible to recover data after reinstalling the Mac operating system, as long as you act quickly.

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