Trending December 2023 # How To Factory Reset A Macbook Or Any Mac # Suggested January 2024 # Top 15 Popular

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Even though Apple Macs are one of the most reliable laptops on the planet — it won’t require a reset until you sell your Mac — but some issues can still come up. In these cases, resetting or erasing your Mac can be the best solution. And just like erasing an iPhone is easy, you can factory reset your Mac in just a couple of steps.

In this simple how-to guide, let me explain when you should factory reset the Mac and how to do it.

Why you may want to reset your Mac?

How to reset M1 or Intel Mac running macOS Monterey or above

Before macOS Monterey, there were quite a few steps involved to reset a Mac to its factory settings, such as backup, iCloud sign-out, etc. (complete list below). 

However, now, you can reset your Mac just like an iPhone, i.e., through System Preferences. The Erase All Content and Settings option erases all your settings, data, and apps securely while maintaining the currently installed macOS. 

It even signs you out of Apple ID, removes Touch ID and all Apple Wallet items, turns off Find My and Activation Lock. So, you get a fresh and new-like device after the reset. To reset a Mac running macOS Monterey or above:

Note: During the process, you might need to: 

Reconnect a Bluetooth accessory like a mouse or keyboard. Restart the accessory if it doesn’t auto-connect. 

Select a Wi-Fi network or attach a network cable – Use the Wi-Fi menu from the screen’s upper-right corner.

If your Mac is running macOS Big Sur or below

Apple didn’t have an Erase Assitant-like tool on any macOS versions before Monterey. Moreover, there are different procedures for Macs having an Apple Silicon chip or an Intel chip.

So, select the process that fits your Mac — whether it has an Intel chip or an Apple Silicon, running macOS Big Sur or below — and follow the steps mentioned carefully.

What to do before your reset a Mac or MacBook

Before you go ahead and erase everything from your Mac, Apple suggests considering a few things as listed below:

How to reset Apple Silicon Mac on macOS Big Sur

1. macOS Big Sur 11.2 or above

Apple released a simple reset tool for Apple Silicon Macs with macOS 11.2. Here’s how you can use the Recovery Assistant to reset an Apple Silicon Mac:

2. macOS Big Sur 11.1 or below

To reset an Apple Silicon Mac running macOS 11.0 to macOS 11.1, follow these steps:

How to reset Intel Mac on macOS Big Sur or below

Go to the next section if you don’t know how to install macOS on your Mac.

Note: If you’re facing issues with your Mac’s system files, the best solution is to reinstall macOS. It is simpler than factory resetting the Mac.

How to reinstall macOS without erasing data and deleting apps?

When you factory reset a Mac, it erases all the files, including apps, documents, folders, pictures, and everything on the laptop, and you start afresh.

But when you reinstall macOS through recovery options, you just reinstall the operating system part of your laptop. Everything, including your files, data, apps, pictures, remains intact. It just erases and installs the whole operating system layer underneath.

Steps to reinstall macOS on the Apple Silicon Mac

Reinstall macOS on an Intel-based Mac

Reinstalling macOS on an Intel Mac is a bit different than reinstalling it on the Apple Silicon Mac.

Shut down your Mac.

Press and hold the power button until you hear the startup chime.

Now, press either of the below mentioned key combinations:

To reinstall the latest macOS on Intel-based Mac: Press Option + Command + R key combination.

To reinstall factory version macOS on Intel-based Mac: Press the Shift + Option + Command + R.

You’ll be taken to the internet recovery menu.

Select your preferred Wi-Fi connection or connect an ethernet cable to your Mac.

Next, enter your Mac password.

Now, select Reinstall macOS from the options.

Follow the on-screen instructions.

Once everything is complete, you’ll see the setup screen on your Mac.

I hope you now know how to factory reset your Mac. I’m grateful that Apple finally released a single Erase Assistant tool with macOS Monterey, which simplifies the process a bit.

You may like to read these as well:

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How To Factory Reset An Ipad (Working Methods)

How to Factory Reset an iPad (2023)

This guide not only covers how to factory reset an iPad but goes into detail into other methods that might resolve your problem before you need to reset it. Use the table below to find your specific solution.

What Happens When You Factory Reset an iPad

In normal circumstances, whatever data you delete on your iPad stays inside the system even after it’s gone. However, when a user factory resets an iPad, it deletes all the device’s content and settings and any stored data permanently. A factory reset is usually performed when you either want a fresh start on the device, it is riddled with bugs and glitches. However, there are things you can do before you decide to factory reset your iPad.

Soft Reset Your iPad Instead

If your reason for factory resetting your iPad is simply because it has been slowing down, hold your horses. Before you go about deleting everything, perhaps you’re better off performing a Soft Reset. Put simply, a soft reset of the iPad is like restarting it. However, this proves useful when you’re tired of slow load times or any temporary bugs that have shown up. If a soft reset for the iPad works, you’ll be saving yourself some time. Follow the steps below to perform a soft reset on the iPad:

2. The power slider will appear titled “Slide to power off.” Swipe it to the right to power off your iPad.

3. Once the iPad has been turned off, simply hold the power/lock button again until you see the Apple logo and then let go.

Your iPad has now gone through a soft reset. While there is no guarantee that this will fix all your issues, immediate ones like slowing down apps and features should resolve. If you feel this is not enough, keep reading.

How to Force Restart an iPad

If your iPad is completely frozen and not responding, there’s a good chance the slider menu won’t open up. In that case, you need to force restart your iPad. Don’t worry as it won’t damage your data. Simply follow the steps below:

1. Press and release the Volume up button quickly.

2. Press and release the Volume down button quickly.

3. Press and hold the Power button until your iPad restarts.

Prepare the iPad for Factory Reset

If the above methods have failed to work or your mind is set on factory resetting the iPad, we understand. However, before we begin deleting everything off the device, there are some things we need to do to make sure we don’t run into any problems. These are:

Turn off Find My on the iPad

If you’re using your computer to factory reset your iPad, you will need to turn off the Find My service before you can proceed. This is easy to do. Just follow along:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

2. Tap on your name at the top left and a list will open up. Tap Find My to open its settings.

4. Toggle off Find my iPad and enter your Apple ID password for verification.

Find My has been turned off and you’re now ready to proceed.

No matter if you’re using a Mac or a PC, make sure your OS has been updated to the latest version. While we will be using iTunes for this guide, Mac users with macOS Catalina or later can use Finder for the same process. Mac users who cannot update to the latest version can update their iTunes using the built-in App Store. For more information on how to go about it, check out Apple’s Website.

Windows users can either download iTunes from the Microsoft Store or from Apple’s Website. Once you’re all set with the above steps, keep reading.

Make an iPad Backup How to Make a Backup of an iPad

Creating a backup of your iPad will ensure that you can safely restore your data once the iPad has gone through a factory reset. You can quickly create the latest backup of all your data from the iPad itself. Follow the steps below to do so:

1. Open the Settings app on the iPad.

2. Tap your name and then tap iCloud.

3. From the list that appears, tap iCloud Backup.

How to Factory Reset an iPad with a Computer

So you’ve decided to go for it then. For the iPad’s factory reset, we will be covering methods that involve a computer and a process without it. This method involves the use of a computer. If you’re trying to reset your iPad with a forgotten passcode or it has been disabled, you can try this method. If you don’t want to go through this trouble, simply skip this section. Others, follow the steps below:

1. Connect your iPad to your PC or Mac.

2. Open iTunes or Finder depending on your method.

3. If you see any messages asking you to enter your passcode or any permissions, simply follow them.

Factory Reset iPad Using iTunes (For Macs Older than macOS Catalina)

Factory Reset iPad Using Finder (macOS Catalina and Later)

Image Courtesy: Apple

5. Once selected, you will see all the details regarding your iPad along with the OS version. Among the options, find and tap the Restore iPad button.

6. A dialog box will now open up asking if you want to make a backup. Depending on whether you made a backup before or simply don’t want to, choose your desired option and proceed.

Once your iPad has been factory reset, you will be met by the initial welcome screen asking you to set it up. Follow the same settings you did when you first got your device and you’ll be good to go in no time. As said before, your data and settings have been deleted and you’re starting fresh.

How to Factory Reset an iPad Without a Computer

If you don’t have access to a computer or simply want to get it done faster, you can. The iPad settings offer a factory reset option that will easily delete all your data. However, this will only work if you know your passcode and your iPad is unlocked. For the users whose iPad is disabled, check out how to factory reset a disabled iPad. Follow the steps below to factory reset your iPad without a computer.

1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

2. Find and tap General and then tap Transfer or Reset iPad.

5. Enter your Passcode on this screen and proceed.

6. You’ll be met by another screen offering a backup. If you’ve already backed up your iPad, select Erase Now and let the factory reset process begin.

The iPad will now begin to reset and should be done in some time. Once through, you’ll be met with the setup screen. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to set up your fresh iPad and begin using it.

Make Your iPad Brand New

How To Fix A Water Damaged Macbook

So, you’ve just spilled water on your MacBook

Water and electricity are never a good mix and could even be dangerous. If your MacBook is currently connected to a power source, you should unplug it immediately. While it’s tempting to try to fix a water-damaged MacBook yourself, don’t turn your laptop on, boot it up, or attach it to any power source while it’s still wet.

If you just splashed a little water directly onto the keyboard, you may be in luck. The MacBook’s built-in keyboard has an air-right mechanism that should help prevent (a small amount of) water from spreading to important components. You’ll still need to replace your keyboard and perhaps take your MacBook in for service, but you may have dodged a bullet.

What to do right now

Have you remembered to unplug? This is your final reminder that it isn’t safe to interact with a wet MacBook that’s still attached to any kind of power source.

Remove the battery and unplug any peripherals. If you can remove the battery, this is also a good idea. You should also disconnect any peripherals that are attached to your MacBook, such as a printer, camera, scanner, or wired mouse.

Power down your laptop. There’s no time to worry about losing unsaved work, so press and hold your MacBook’s power button. If you have something non-conductive close at hand, such as a pencil, you may want to use this to press the power button. You don’t want to risk getting a nasty shock!

Flip your MacBook into a tent position to drain. This will pull the water back into the keyboard and away from your MacBook’s core components.

Wipe your MacBook carefully. If the exterior of your MacBook is visibly wet, it may help to wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. You can also try drying any ports or vents using a non-conductive instrument such as a cotton swab.

Wait for 48 hours. This step may be painful, but leaving your MacBook in the tent position for a few days lessens the impact of any potential water damage. While it’s tempting to turn your MacBook back on to assess the damage, this can result in a current being transferred through damp components. This may cause more damage to your MacBook. Leave your Mac for as long as possible to give the liquid a chance to drain away completely.

The longer you can let your MacBook sit, the better, but 48 hours is the absolute minimum. To help the drying process, you may want to place your MacBook somewhere warm, such as an airing cupboard, or near a source of heat, such as a radiator. If you own a fan, it may help to move it nearer to your laptop, as increasing the airflow can encourage any remaining liquid to evaporate.

Test your MacBook. Once your MacBook has completely dried, it’s time for the moment of truth! Try to power your MacBook back on and see if it works. If it does power up, then test your trackpad, all of the keys, Internet and Bluetooth connectivity, plus any other features you use on a regular basis. Fingers crossed that your quick thinking has saved your MacBook – or at least limited the damage!

Give your MacBook a clean. If you’ve managed to recover your MacBook, now’s the perfect time to give it a good clean. This is particularly important if the spilled beverage was anything other than water. For example, soda is going to make your MacBook seriously sticky, and soda residue may damage your MacBook over time. A clean, dry microfiber cloth is great for cleaning your MacBook’s exterior casing. You may also want to carefully clean your MacBook’s vents and ports using a non-conductive instrument, such as a cotton swab or wooden toothpick.

What not to do

Now that we’ve looked at steps that can help you limit water damage, let’s look at some things you definitely shouldn’t do which may eliminate any chance you have to fix your water-damaged MacBook.

Do not turn your MacBook back on. Chances are you’re in panic mode and desperate to find out whether your MacBook is toast. However, trying to power up too early is the worst thing you can do. Electricity can cause more damage and may even be dangerous. It’s not easy, but it’s vital that you avoid the temptation to power up your MacBook until it’s completely dry.

Do not shake your MacBook. You may be frustrated, but shaking your laptop will only spread the liquid around. It may even force the water into more delicate areas of your MacBook, causing more corrosion and damage.

Forget the hair dryer. While this may seem like a great way to hasten the drying process, in reality it has little real impact, and direct heat may even damage your MacBooks’s sensitive components.

Ignore the old urban legend of using rice. There’s a widely held assumption that rice will draw moisture from devices. While this may work for your phone, applying a coating of rice to your MacBook isn’t going to pull moisture from core components, such as the battery and circuit board. If only fixing a waterlogged MacBook was that easy!

Would AppleCare Help?

Okay, so you have tried all of the steps above and there is just no other option – you need to replace something internally. As one might suspect, liquid damage is not covered under your general Apple MacBook warranty.

In this case, “AppleCare” is the limited warranty you receive for up to one year of purchase. That includes 90 days of complimentary technical support but only extends to hardware defects such as mechanical or electrical and will not help you fix your water-damaged MacBook.

On the other hand, AppleCare+ is also offered and does cover liquid damage. Available for $99 every 12 months, AppleCare+ ensures that you are covered for up to two incidents within those 12 months. Those two incidents are not just specific to liquid but can also extend to drops, bad battery, breaks, cracked screens, etc.

When you have a liquid-damaged computer, Apple will require a $299 service fee for repair. Turnaround time for repair is frequently dependent on the specific Apple store’s backlog and the same goes for mailing a computer directly to Apple.

How to safeguard your MacBook in the future

Spilling liquid on your laptop is a serious accident. Even if you do manage to recover your laptop, you’ll want to ensure it never happens again!

To help safeguard your MacBook, we recommend not only getting AppleCare+ but investing in a waterproof laptop skin with ventilation holes for both halves of the case, a clear plastic or silicone keyboard cover, and a waterproof screen protector.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, the above methods can help you fix or at least save your water-damaged Macbook. If you’re looking to bolster your Macbook setup, then see our list of the best docking stations for the Macbook and Macbook Pro. We also have a list of ways to apply an equalizer in macOS for audio enthusiasts.

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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How To Reset Twitter Password Without Email Or Phone Number

Resetting your Twitter password is easy—all you have to do is to select the “Forgot password?” link on the login screen.

Then, you can follow the on-screen instructions to reset your password and recover your account.

However, if you forgot your email and phone number, resetting your Twitter password is more difficult.

This is because there isn’t a way for Twitter to contact you and send you a link to reset your password.

So, how can you recover your Twitter account then?

In this guide, you’ll learn how to reset your Twitter password without email or phone number in 4 steps.

You’ll also get answers to frequently asked questions.

How to reset Twitter password without email or phone number

To reset your Twitter password without email or phone number, you need to contact Twitter support.

File a login issue report via their Help Center and wait for Twitter’s response.

Due to the overwhelming number of reports, it might take several days or even weeks for them to get back to you.

When they do, they’ll send you an email with your next steps.

If they haven’t responded to you after a long period of time, try filing another report.

However, do not send report after report as your email might be marked as spam.

Instead, file another report only if Twitter support haven’t responded to you for more than a week.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can file a report to Twitter support to recover your Twitter account.

Step #1: Visit the Twitter Help Centre and select “File a report”

The first step is to visit the Twitter Help Center so that you can file a report.

To begin with, go to the Twitter Help Center website on a browser.

You can either search for “Twitter Help Center” on Google or visit the website’s link.

Once you’re on the Help Center, you’ll see multiple options you can choose from.

However, you do not want to select any of those options as they’ll lead you to a help article.

Instead, the option that you want to look for is the “File a report” option.

This option is hidden from plain sight as Twitter hopes to mitigate as many reports as possible due to their massive user base.

To find the “File a report” option, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Under “Contact Us”, select the “File a report” button to contact Twitter directly.

In the next step, you’ll learn the categories to select for your report.

Step #2: Select “I need login and account support” followed by “I can’t login to my account”

Now that you’ve selected the “File a report” button, you need to select the appropriate categories for your report.

This is to let Twitter know the exact issue that you’re having.

In this case, you’re experiencing a login issue, so the “I need login and account support” option is the most appropriate option for your circumstance.

After you’ve selected the “I need login and account support” option, there are seven subcategories that you need to choose from:

I can’t log in to my account

My account is hacked or compromised

My account is locked or suspended

I need help activating my account

I want to request my account information

I need to deactivate the account of a deceased user

I have a question about privacy

As you’re unable to login to your account, select the “I can’t log in to my account” option.

You’ve successfully chosen the appropriate categories for the report that you’re going to be filing.

In the next step, you’ll have to enter your Twitter username.

Step #3: Enter your Twitter username

After you’ve chosen the appropriate categories for the report that you’re going to be filing, you can now file a report.

But first, you need to enter your Twitter username.

Under “Your Twitter username”, enter your Twitter username for the account that you are unable to log into.

Then, select the “Search” button for Twitter to find your account.

In the next step, you’ll learn how to navigate to the actual form to file your report.

Step #4: Select “Still need help?”

Select the “Still need help?” button.

After you’ve selected the “Search” button, Twitter will find your account.

Then, you’ll see a message like this, “Great, we found the account @username”.

At the end of the message, there’ll be an “instructions” link that you’re supposed to select.

However, you don’t want to be selecting that link as it’ll lead you to a help article.

Instead, select the “Still need help?” button to file a report.

Many users have no clue on how to contact Twitter directly because they missed the “Still need help?” button.

Twitter has deliberately made the navigation difficult for people to file a report.

This is because they hope to decrease the number of reports they get on a daily basis due to their massive user base.

In the final step, you need to complete and submit the form to file your report.

Step #5: Complete and submit the form

After you’ve selected the “Still need help?” button, you’ll land on a contact form.

To begin with, enter an active email address that Twitter can contact you with.

Next, describe your issue and the help that you need.

Here’s an example of a description:

“Hi, I need help in recovering my account. I forgot my Twitter account’s password and I lost access to my email and phone number.”

After you’re done with writing the description, select the “Continue” button.

Then, complete the reCAPTCHA on your screen and select “Verify”.

Lastly, select the “Submit” button to submit the form to Twitter.

The Twitter Support team will then review your report, and they’ll usually get back to you within a few days via email.

If you haven’t received a response after a few days, make sure to check your junk/spam mail.

Congrats, you’ve learned how to reset your Twitter password without email or phone number!

How do you reset your Twitter password if you forgot it?

If you forgot your Twitter password, you can reset it by selecting the “Forgot password” link on the login screen.

Next, enter your email/phone number/username, and enter the email address that is associated with your account.

A link to reset your Twitter account will be sent to your email.

Why is Twitter saying my password is wrong?

Twitter is saying your password is wrong either because your username or password is incorrect.

If that’s the case, make sure to double-check the login details that you’ve entered.

At times, there might be a mistype in your email address, username, or password.

Passwords are also case sensitive, so make sure that Caps Lock is turned off.

How do I change my password on the Twitter app?

To change your password on the Twitter app, tap on “Forgot password?” on the login screen.

Then, enter your email/phone number/username, and enter the email address that is associated with your account.

A link to reset your Twitter account will be sent to your email.


Resetting your password is an annoying process to go through, especially if you’ve lost access to your phone number and email address.

To avoid having to reset your password in the future, make sure that you note down all of your passwords someplace safe.

For example, you can store your passwords on the Notepad app and save it to One Drive.

That way, you can easily access all of your passwords in one place.

Further Reading

How to Recover Discord Account Without Email

How to Reset Your Snapchat Password Without Email or Phone Number

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Lim How Wei is the founder of Followchain. Feel free to follow him on Instagram.

How To Take A Screenshot On Any Device

This story has been updated. It was originally published on February 21, 2023.

There are lots of reasons why you might want to take a screenshot on your computer or phone: to prove you finally completed that video game, to record a website layout for safe keeping, or even to make some desktop wallpaper from your favorite movie. Whatever the reason, here’s how to get it done on all the major platforms, whether it’s Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS.

How to take a screenshot on Windows

Ah, the old Windows Snipping Tool. You may still have it, but it will soon be replaced by Snip & Sketch. David Nield

On Windows, a simple tap on the PrtScn (print screen) button will copy a shot of the desktop to the clipboard, and you can then paste it into an image editor.

There are other keyboard shortcuts to know about which make use of the Windows key (if your keyboard has one): press Windows+PrtScn and the shot will be automatically saved into a Screenshots folder within your account’s Pictures folder. Meanwhile Alt+PrtScn will grab only the currently active window and copy it to the clipboard.

You can get help from various utilities too. Locate the new and improved Snipping Tool (now Snip & Sketch) on your computer—you can search for it from the taskbar or hit Win+Shift+S to summon a simplified version of it. Use the crosshair tool to select an area on your screen, and the moment you let go of the left mouse button, Windows will add the screenshot in your clipboard. Use the buttons at the top of your screen for more options—the Freeform Snip button (second to the right), allows you to make selections in any shape you want; the Window Snip button adds a screenshot of the current open window to your clipboard; and finally, the Fullscreen Snip takes a picture of your entire screen and saves it to the clipboard. You won’t get some of Snip & Sketch’s features—such as time delay—when you summon the tool with the keyboard shortcut, but if you search for the program, you’ll be able to take screenshots with 3 and 10 second delays, annotate pictures, crop them and even measure them. Alternatively, you can use the Game DVR tool in the Xbox app that comes with Windows 10 to capture grabs from games.

If you need even more options and features, consider tools such as Dropbox (free) and Snagit ($50).

How to take a screenshot on macOS

We heard you liked screenshots, so we took a screenshot of a screenshot. John Kennedy

Apple keyboards don’t have a PrtScn key—or, of course, a Windows key—so the shortcuts are completely different. Ctrl+Shift+Cmd+3 copies the current screen contents to the clipboard, or you can drop the Ctrl part to save a PNG file directly to the desktop.

If you just want to capture part of the screen and send it to the clipboard for subsequent pasting, use Ctrl+Shift+Cmd+4. Then drag the mouse to outline an area of the screen or press the spacebar to capture a particular window. As before, leave out the Ctrl button and the image will be saved to your desktop rather than copied to the clipboard.

As on Windows, there are numerous utilities that will help you in your screen-grabbing endeavors. Screenshot is a handy app you’ll find built right into macOS (just type “screenshot” into your computer’s Spotlight Search bar), Dropbox has its own screenshot feature, and Lightshot Screenshot (free) and SnapNDrag ($10) give you a few more options in terms of annotations and customizations.

How to take a screenshot on Android phones and tablets

Sometimes, you just need to remember what day it is. David Nield

On the majority of Android devices, you can press the volume down button and the power button together to take a screenshot. The screen should flash, and you’ll see a notification that a grab has been captured (tap this notification if you want to share or edit the image). If you need to find the screenshot afterward, it’ll be in your device’s Photos app. If you have Google Photos, tap on Library in the bottom right corner of your screen, then choose the Screenshots folder under Photos on device. You can also go straight to the Files app, tap on Images, and then touch Screenshots at the top of your screen.

That said, Android devices come with all kinds of manufacturer-made software skins running on them, so the shortcut might be slightly different depending on the make and model of your phone. Still, most manufacturer’s have adopted the same key combo—on both Samsung Galaxy and HTC phones, for example, just press the power and volume down buttons simultaneously to take a grab. If you want to go hands-free, just engage the Google Assistant and ask it to take a screenshot for you.

Do you take a million accidental screenshots on your iPhone, or is it just us? David Nield

While Android runs on phones and tablets made by multiple manufacturers, Apple makes all of its iOS and iPadOS devices, so these gadgets don’t require multiple shortcuts. The button combination for your model is guaranteed to work.

[Related: The best screenshot and screen recording apps for your phone]

On Windows, you can use an AirPlay client such as LonelyScreen or Mirroring360, then broadcast the iPhone or iPad screen to your laptop or desktop using the AirPlay feature built into Apple’s operating system. To do so, swipe down from the top right corner (or up from the bottom of the screen on some devices) to open the Control Center, then tap on Screen Mirroring to get connected.

The Fastest Way To Thaw A Frozen Turkey—Or Any Other Food

As you prepare to cook a feast, you open the fridge…and realize that a key ingredient is still frozen solid. Most cooks would say you’re doomed. But don’t lose hope: You can get the ice out of your food quickly and easily—and sometimes, it results in an even better dish. Here’s what you need to know to safely thaw that frozen food at top speed.

How freezing and warming changes food

We all know water becomes ice when it gets cold enough. When it comes to food, that’s a bigger deal than you might think. As H2O freezes, it can expand up to nine percent. When this happens to liquid within your chicken cutlets or green beans, the resulting ice crystals rupture the cells, sort of tenderizing it from the inside. This means, when you’re ready to cook the ingredient, you have to be careful with that other key aspect of food, its texture

Like freezing, defrosting changes a food item. For starters, the ice throughout those cells does not melt evenly: Food left out to thaw at room temperature will start defrosting at the surface, and then the warmth will work its way inward. Depending on thickness and density, it might sit out for hours and remain frozen solid in the center. Worse, bacteria clings to the surface of food, and freezing doesn’t usually kill it. So while you’re waiting for the turkey to fully thaw in the center, bacteria on the surface can spoil your bird, creating off-flavors and putting you at risk of food poisoning. To thaw quickly and safely—and still wind up with quality food—the answer is not to let your ingredients sit at room temperature.

Safe thawing by the numbers

For safe thawing, you need to remember two numbers: 40°F (4.4°C for you metric sticklers) and 140°F (60°C). The defrosting item (usually) should not sit anywhere between these two temperatures for more than a few minutes. Outside of that range is the safe zone: At or below 40°F, the cold will keep bacteria dormant, and at or above 140°F, the heat will kill those germs. So keep a kitchen thermometer (or two) handy during the thawing process to track temperatures.

Just one caveat: If you plan to pop your food right onto the stove or into the oven, and you’re trying to thaw the raw ingredient as quickly as possible, you can let that item fall into the danger zone. The concern here is bacteria on the surface of the food, and you’ll be putting it well over 140°F with most cooking methods, so germs won’t have time to ruin it. . Otherwise, stick to these numbers.

While monitoring temperature is a good general guideline, the question remains: How can you speed up the defrosting process without endangering the health of whoever’s coming to dinner? That depends on the type of food you want to de-ice.

Roasts, turkeys, and other large hunks of meat

Defrosting even one pound of meat in a refrigerator can take up to three days. Depositphotos

You know better than to leave your Thanksgiving turkey sitting out on the counter, but defrosting in the fridge is notoriously slow: The USDA recommends you leave a measly one-pound roast in there for up to three days. Instead, try cold-water thawing, which will take—at maximum—one day for a 20-pound beast.

Why water? Heat moves from warmer objects to colder ones, and this remains true even when there’s only a few degrees of difference between the two. If you put a frozen object in contact with something just warmer than freezing point, the two temperatures will approach each other. Whether the two items end up freezing or thawing is a question of volume—for example, if you put a few ice cubes in a glass of warm soda, there’s more soda than ice, so the drink remains liquid while the cubes melt.

However, not all environments are created equal. Water has a much higher specific heat than air—that is, it takes more energy to raise its temperature. In fact, heating one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius takes 4,184 joules of energy, more than performing the same feat for any other common substance, including air. That makes this liquid ideal for keeping and transferring heat.

Going back to that frozen object, when you submerge it in enough cold water, the item will gradually thaw without significantly changing the temperature of the liquid.

To bring this out of the region of the theoretical, place your meat in an airtight container, such as a vacuum-sealed bag, and completely submerge in a bath of 40°F water. Then leave the hunk in there for thirty minutes for every pound of meat, adding ice to keep the liquid at 40°F or so and changing out the water roughly every thirty minutes.

Once that time runs out, you’ll need to cook the meat right away. So do your math ahead of time, and have the oven ready to go.

Thin cuts of meat

Despite all those safety warnings, it turns out you can safely defrost thin cuts of meat in a hot-water bath. In 2011, the FDA did an experiment with one-inch-thick beef strip loin steaks and found that rapidly defrosting the meat in an immersion circulator at 102°F for 11 minutes, then immediately getting it on the pan or the grill, created a meal with juiciness and texture close enough to fresh beef for the majority of taste testers.

If you need to get burgers, chicken strips, or similar cuts of meat from cold to hot at top speed, just seal the meat in an airtight Ziplock or vacuum seal bag and submerge it at about 100°F for 10 to 15 minutes. If you need the stove for other prep, you can defrost them under cold running water.

Baked goods

For sliced bread, pastries, and other frozen baked goods, leaving them out on the counter to thaw will make them go stale faster. As the cooked dough warms, the starch inside it crystallizes, sucking up the melting water and drying out the texture. Instead, apply some heat to defrost your snack.

With slices of bread or small portions of pastries, you should zap them in the microwave for 15 to 25 seconds per item. For whole loaves and larger baked goods, fire up the oven to 325°F and leave the item in for 20 to 30 minutes.


Most frozen veggies go straight into your recipe without requiring a separate thawing process. Depositphotos

For almost all frozen veggies, you don’t need to defrost them at all, because you’re going to toss them in your bubbling recipe. So, during the cooking process, just throw them in frozen. This holds true particularly if the greens serve as a smaller element in a broader recipe, or if you’re going to eventually roast, steam, or otherwise heating them until they reach 140°F. Skipping thawing will save you the most time and give you the highest-quality results.

Also, remember that many frozen vegetables are blanched—that is, steeped in boiling water for a few seconds—before freezing, which means they’ll cook faster than fresh ones. That said, there’s no set standard, so check the manufacturer’s website, or keep an eye on your dish as the veggies cook and make sure to add the frozen ones last.


The method you use for defrosting fruit will depend on how you plan to eat it. For example, do you want a healthy snack? Bad news: Many manufacturers pack frozen fruit in sugar to maintain its quality for longer, so if you plan to eat it whole, we’d recommend a fresh alternative instead. That said, frozen fruits make ideal components of sweet sauces, jams, and even baked goods. If you don’t care about having whole fruit versus pieces, and you’re going to use it right away, then defrost it in the microwave: Put the package in for thirty seconds on defrost, check it, and repeat. Keep this up until it’s soft, and finally drain the package of any water. Don’t forget to check the packaging to see if it includes added sugar before you mix in your own sweetener.

To keep your fruit whole, first assess what you’re defrosting. Something fragile like raspberries simply cannot revert to its former self when it thaws: The ice crystals will render it mush. Even sturdier fruits shouldn’t sit out to thaw: You’ll need to cook straight from the package. To compensate for the frozen state of the fruit, add at least five minutes to your bake time. Before tossing in the frozen pieces, lightly coat them in flour and add more thickener to compensate for the water released in thawing. Or look up a recipe that specifically calls for frozen fruit and use its proportions instead.

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