Because of the very nature of the APFS file system and the nature of Solid State Media, a simple erase of the drive is considered sufficient. However the equivalent of the Erase and Install (a.k.a. nuke and pave
) can be accomplished by
- Being very sure you have a viable backup of your applications, data, and settings in Time Machine, another drive, or system just in case.
- Boot into the Recovery Drive (from a cold start, hold ⌘R on Intel Macs or Press and hold the power button on Macs with Apple silicon)
- In the Recovery Assistant launch Disk Utility and erase the target drive to APFS with a GUID partition scheme. A simple erase (recreating the directory) is all that is really needed unless it is known that your system has had the launch codes for the strategic nuclear weapons or similar informatIon on it. Quit Disk Utility.
- Launch Install/Reinstall MacOS and install it on the blank drive (Note: an internet connection is required)
- During the install process you will be offered the opportunity to recover your third party applications, User settings, user files. But if you are going to do that you could just as easily omitted step 3 (erasing the drive) and just do a Reinstall which will result in a clean new version of everything except the data volume and its contents.
- If you want a truly pristine install and have a lot of time and patience, you can skip the Migration Assistant and manually reinstall all of your applications and recreate all of your settings and data yourself.