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Here’s How to Delete the Data Associated with the Touch Bar on Your MacBook Pro

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If you're looking to sell your MacBook Pro, you should consider deleting the data associated with your Touch Bar as a way to protect yourself.

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If you’ve got a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, and you’re looking to sell it, Apple recommends an extra step.  Specifically, they are suggesting that you erase the data associated with the Touch Bar.  In order to do this, you need an obscure Terminal command that you wouldn’t assume and isn’t required on Mac’s without the Touch Bar.  It’s also not clear what Touch Bar data is being stored on your MacBook, so why does it need to be erased?  The Touch ID fingerprint reader is part of the Touch bar, but the data from it is stored in the Secure Enclave.  So it’s not really clear why Apple wants you to do this, but they are recommending it.

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They also provide a lot of steps before you actually get to the erasing part.  Before you run the Terminal command, you should:

  1. Create a backup.  Be sure you have an up-to-date backup of your important files and data.  Apple even provides a link on how to back up your data.
  2. Sign out of iTunes.  More specifically, you want to deauthorize your MacBook from having access to your iTunes account.
  3. Sign out of iCloud.
  4. If you’re using OS X Mountain Lion or later, sign out of iMessage.
  5. Unpair any of your paired Bluetooth devices.  This is an optional step, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. To unpair your Bluetooth devices, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth. Hover the pointer over the device that you want to unpair, then click the remove (x) button next to the device’s name. When the dialogue asks if you’re sure, click Remove.

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Now we are at the step where you are actually going to get to erase the data from the Touch Bar.

  1. Startup from macOS Recovery: Hold down Command-R on your keyboard immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, or immediately after your Mac begins to restart.
  2. When the macOS Utilities window appears, chose Utilities > Terminal in the menu bar.  Type in this command in Terminal: xartutil –erase-all
  3. Press Return, type yes when asked if you’re sure and then press Return again.  Finally, choose Terminal > Quit Terminal and proceed to the next step.

After this, you may want to erase and reinstall macOS.  If not, follow these instructions:

  1. After macOS installation is complete, the Mac restarts to a Welcome screen and asks you to choose a country or region. If you want to leave the Mac in an out-of-box state, don’t continue with the setup of your system. Instead, press Command-Q to shut down the Mac. When the new owner turns on the Mac, setup assistant will guide them through the setup process.

What does the Touch Bar do exactly?  It performs quite a few functions, but like I said earlier, it’s still unclear as to why you would need to wipe the data from your MacBook.  It won’t be the end of the world if you forget to clear out the data, but with the number of data and security breaches we’ve seen lately, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

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