Erasing a Macbook HD that has FileVault enabled - Can I just completely erase?

Dallas Smetter
Dallas Smetter used Ask the Experts™
Erasing a Macbook HD that has FileVault enabled - Can I just completely erase and start fresh? Or will I have problems doing that since FileVault is currently enabled. The recovery key is nowhere to be found. Thank you in advance!
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You can just erase it and start a new install.
Dallas SmetterSolution Engineer


Thank you!
btanExec Consultant
Distinguished Expert 2018

Should not be an issue.
  • Erase via Recovery. Hold down Command-R at startup (Option by itself won’t work on a FileVault-protected Mac), and then erase the FileVault partition using Disk Utility, and then reinstall macOS. This may not always work, in which case you have two other options.
  • Erase via another startup drive. FileVault protects the startup drive from access, but you can hold down Option at startup and select other attached drives’ volumes that have valid macOS (or OS X) startup partitions. Boot from one of those, and you simply wipe the FileVault drive. You’ll need to reinstall macOS entirely on that drive to wipe out the Recovery Disk settings.
  • Use Internet Recovery. At startup, hold down Command-Option-R, and you can select Reinstall macOS. This retrieves macOS over the Internet, which can take a while if you have a slow connection.

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