Erasing a Mac Disk

I have done this enough times to be completely annoyed at the difficulty but not enough times to have committed it to memory. Therefore it belongs on my website so I can look it up one last time. Actually it's not quite done so this page will be changing over time.

Disk Utility

First try this:

Delete Sierra APFS partition

diskutil list

Get the disk identifier of type "Apple_APFS" (e.g. disk2s3)

diskutil apfs deleteContainer <identifier>

Delete Sierra APFS partition

Booting to Recovery Mode

ARM (M1/Apple Silicon)

Turn off Mac. Press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window.


Restart Mac and hold one of these key combinations.


If you replaced the logic board, it might boot the latest macOS that is compatible.

If you just erased your entire startup disk, it might boot the macOS that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available.


Published: 2021-12-09, last edited: 2021-12-09

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