How to Reset the SMC, NVRAM, or PRAM of Your Mac

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Sometimes, your Mac just acts strangely for no obvious reason. There are times when the lights don’t work correctly. There are also instances when your system settings are all messed up. Worse, your Mac just won’t boot at all.

Well, fret not. The good news is you can resolve some of these problems as easy as pie. While some of them can be easily fixed by closing all the active apps and restarting your Mac, others require to reset the NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC.

But what are an SMC, an NVRAM, and a PRAM and how do you reset them?

What Is an SMC?

SMC stands for System Management Controller. It is simply a chip that is embedded in Intel-based Macs. It is responsible for running most parts of your Mac, including the keyboards, external peripherals, LED indicators, power buttons, and cooling fans. It is also involved in running the hard drive and power supply, and it plays a vital role in how your Mac behaves while in sleep mode.

When Is an SMC Reset Required?

Whenever you find out that your Mac’s hardware is acting up, it is probably worth resetting the SMC. After all, it is responsible for a lot of functions on your Mac. But when can you really tell that a reset is necessary? Here are a few potential signs to look out for:

  • The status lights and the battery indicator act strangely.
  • The backlight of the keyboard doesn’t seem to be working properly.
  • Your MacBook does not switch on when you press the Power
  • The power adapter LED indicator does not light up.
  • The fan is running, but at an abnormally high rate.
  • The trackpad is not working.
  • You cannot connect to a WiFi network.
  • The app icons keep on bouncing for a certain period of time after startup.
  • Your Mac runs slow, especially when under a low CPU load.
  • Your Mac shuts down slowly.
  • Your Mac won’t boot.

How to Reset Your Mac’s SMC

There are ways to reset your Mac’s SMC, but that depends on what type or model of Mac you’ve got. For instance, the way to reset the SMC of a MacBook Pro is completely different from the way to reset the SMC of an iMac.

Reset the SMC of a MacBook

If you’ve got a MacBook that has an Apple T2 security chip, here’s how to reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the Power button for about 10 seconds and then restart.
  3. If you are having problems upon startup, switch off your Mac again.
  4. Press and hold the Power button, the right Shift key, the left Control key, and the left Option key for a couple of seconds.
  5. Release all the keys and wait a couple more seconds.
  6. Restart your MacBook.

To reset the SMC of a MacBook with a battery that is non-removable, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your MacBook.
  2. Press and hold the left Option, Control, and Shift keys while pressing the Power button for about 10 seconds.
  3. Release all the keys and wait for a few seconds.
  4. Switch on your MacBook.

To reset the SMC of a MacBook that had been released before 2015, here’s what you should do:

  1. Shut down your MacBook.
  2. Take out the battery.
  3. For 15 to 20 seconds, press and hold the Power
  4. Put back the battery again and switch on your MacBook.

To reset the SMC of an iMac Pro, follow these steps:

  1. Switch off your iMac.
  2. For 15 to 20 seconds, press and hold the Power
  3. Release the Power button and wait for a couple of seconds.
  4. Restart your iMac.
  5. If you encounter problems, switch off your iMac.
  6. Unplug the power cord and wait for 15 to 20 seconds.
  7. Reconnect the power cord again.
  8. Switch on your Mac.

To reset an older desktop Mac version, here’s what you should do:

  1. Switch off your Mac.
  2. Unplug the power cord and wait for 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. Reconnect the power cord again.
  4. Switch on your Mac.

Now that you know how to reset the SMC of your Mac, let’s proceed with getting to know what a PRAM and an NVRAM are.

What Are PRAMs and NVRAMs?

Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) and Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) are the components of your Mac that hold your Mac’s data configuration, such as the date and time settings, as well as the mouse, volume, desktop, and other important control settings. These areas of your Mac’s memory are powered by a tiny battery so data won’t get lost whenever you shut down your Mac.

While the modern Intel-based Macs have NVRAMs, the older Mac models have PRAMs. So, don’t be confused why some Mac users refer to PRAM when what they actually meant is the NVRAM. It does not really matter because both components do the same function. Also, you can reset them the same way.

So, when is a PRAM or NVRAM reset required?

When to Reset the PRAM or NVRAM of a Mac

In most cases, the problems associated with the NVRAM or PRAM are software-related; perhaps your computer has forgotten certain settings or it has encountered connectivity issues. Aside from that, here are other signs to look out for to find out if a PRAM or NVRAM reset is required:

  • The volume does not work properly.
  • You can notice a strange clicking speed and mouse scrolling.
  • The keyboard does not respond normally.
  • The clock and the time zone are not correct.
  • The display resolution cannot be changed.
  • Your Mac shuts down slowly.

How to Reset the NVRAM or PRAM of a Mac

You need not know whether your Mac has a PRAM or an NVRAM because the reset process for both is the same. Here’s how to perform it:

  1. Switch off your Mac.
  2. Press the Power
  3. Before you reach the grey screen, press the R, P, Command, and Option keys together. Hold them down until your Mac restarts and the startup sound is heard.
  4. Release the keys.

After you reset the PRAM or NVRAM, you will notice that some of your Mac’s settings are lost, including the keyboard preferences, as well as the volume, mouse, and time settings. If you remember your previous settings, then you should be able to restore them in a few minutes.

Important Notes

Although it isn’t necessary to reset your Mac’s SMC, NVRAM, or PRAM, it is still good to know what these components do and how to fix issues that you encounter.

Just so you avoid encountering more errors, it is best that you download and install Tweakbit Mac Repair. Though it is not a miracle cure for all Mac problems, it does a pretty great job at optimizing your Mac and ensuring it performs at its best all the time.

Do you know other ways to reset your Mac’s PRAM, NVRAM, or SMC? Let us know in the comments section below.

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