Does resetting a Mac get rid of viruses?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Resetting a Mac can be an effective way to get rid of viruses in most cases. When you perform a reset, you essentially erase all the data on your Mac and restore it to its factory settings. This means that any viruses or malware that may have been present on your device will be removed. However, there are a few important factors to consider.

Firstly, resetting your Mac will only eliminate viruses that are present on your device itself. If you have connected external devices such as USB drives or external hard drives to your Mac, there is a possibility that these devices could be infected. It’s important to scan these devices for viruses separately or clean them thoroughly before reconnecting them to your Mac after the reset.

Additionally, if you have a backup of your data that contains viruses, resetting your Mac may not completely solve the issue. When you restore your data from the backup after the reset, the viruses could potentially be reintroduced to your system. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your backup is clean and virus-free before restoring it to your Mac.

Another important consideration is the recovery partition on your Mac. Some types of malware can infect the recovery partition, which is used for reinstalling the operating system. If your recovery partition is infected, resetting your Mac may not completely eliminate the viruses. In such cases, it is recommended to create a bootable USB installer for macOS and reinstall the operating system from that clean source.

Furthermore, if your Mac has been infected with a rootkit, which is a type of malware that grants administrator-level access to an attacker, resetting your Mac may not be sufficient. Rootkits can be deeply embedded in the system, making them difficult to detect and remove. In such cases, it may be necessary to seek professional help or use specialized antivirus software to thoroughly scan and remove the rootkit.

While resetting a Mac can generally help get rid of viruses, it is important to consider the factors mentioned above. Ensuring that your external devices and backups are clean, addressing any issues with the recovery partition, and dealing with rootkits separately are all important steps to fully eradicate viruses from your Mac.