How to Secure Wipe a SATA Hard Drive using a MacBook Pro

In this tutorial you'll learn how to securely wipe all the data from a SATA hard drive so that it can't be retrieved using forensic software.

You’ll definitely want to do this when selling or throwing out an old hard drive containing sensitive data.

Tools Required

Introduction

I’ll show you how to securely wipe (also known as format) the SATA drive on a MacBook Pro (2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports) running macOS Mojave. However, the steps below might work on different Apple hardware with different versions of macOS.

Step 1: Connect the SATA Hard Drive

The first thing you need to do is take the SATA hard drive out of your old machine and connect it to the MacBook Pro using a SATA to USB Adapter* and a USB-C to USB Adapter* as you can see below:

SATA Hard Drive Connected to a MacBook Pro (2017)

Step 2: Open Disk Utility

Search for Disk Utility in spotlight and then open it. You should see a screen that shows your Mac internal hard drive and the external hard drive you connected in step 1. As you can see below, the name of mine is WD:

macOS Disk Utility

Step 3: Select Drive to Erase

Right click on the external drive and then click Erase…

Erasing External Disk in Disk Utility

Step 4: Name, Select Format and Security Options

Give the drive a name and select the format. Choose MsDOS or ExFAT if you want the drive to work on Windows, Linux and Mac. I’ve chosen ExFAT because it allows you to store individual files greater than 4 GB in size. Click Security Options…

Disk Utility Erase Options

Select option 3 or 4 by dragging the slider to the right. Option 4 is the most secure but it takes a long time. Option 3 should be secure enough. Select option 3 then click OK and then Erase.

Disk Utility Security Options

You should now see the Erasing disk progress bar. Wait awhile for Disk Utility to do its magic and then you should have a blank disk that even forensic software will not be able to restore data from.

Disk Utility Erasing Progress Bar