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How to reset the NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC on any Mac

Posted in General   DECEMBER 14, 2021

    How to reset  the NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC  on any Mac

    The usual troubleshooting procedures that you go through when your Mac starts acting up are: restarting the Mac, running Disk Utility and sometimes you might perform the Safe Boot. But there are two other procedures that eliminate some inscrutable problems. These procedures are resetting the SMC and zapping the NVRAM.

    Here, in this article, we will show you the steps to zap the NVRAM and reset the SMC.

    SMC in Macs

    SMC or the System Management Controller is a chip in the Intel-based Macs. Many physical parts of the Mac are run by it, including LED indicators, keyboards, and many other peripherals, power buttons, and cooling fans. Even the behavior of your hard drive, be it how the Mac behaves in sleep mode and the power supply, depend on this.

    SMC in Macs

    Whenever you find your computer's hardware behaving in a strange way, you should try resetting the SMC but there are some other more specific symptoms when you can reset the SMC.

    • If the status lights and the battery behave strangely.

    • If the backlight of the keyboard doesn't work properly.

    • When you open your Macbook, it doesn't turn on.

    • If your Mac doesn't connect to Wi-Fi.

    • If your Mac becomes slow, even when there is less CPU load.

    • If your Mac is very slow shutting down.

    Also, if your Mac doesn't boot, then too, resetting the SMC is highly recommended.

    Resetting the SMC on Mac

    Depending on what kind of Mac you have got, there are a few different ways to perform an SMC reset. For instance, the process to reset an iMac are different from resetting a MacBook Pro.

    Resetting the SMC on Mac

    Try closing all your open apps and restarting your computer, before you begin. This can fix many problems by itself.

    On M1 Macbook

    On a MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini powered by Apple Silicon, you don't need to reset the SMC. As Apple's chip does not have a system management controller, you can't reset the SMC on these devices.

    On Intel MacBook

    On a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air with the Apple T2 Security Chip, you can reset the SMC by following the given steps:

    1. First, shut down your computer.

    2. For 10 seconds, press and hold the power button and then restart.

    3. Turn the computer off again, if that doesn't fix the problem.

    4. Then, for seven seconds, press and hold the right Shift key, the left Control key and the left Option key.

    5. While you press and hold the Power button for seven seconds, keep these keys pressed.

    6. Then wait for a few seconds as you release all the keys and restart your MacBook.

    On a Mac with a non-removable battery you can reset the SMC by following the given steps:

    1. First, shut down your computer.

    2. Then, on the left side of the keyboard, press and hold the Shift, Control and Option buttons. Then press and hold the Power button.

    3. Press the keys down for 10 seconds.

    4. Release the keys and then turn on your MacBook.

    On a Mac with a removable battery, you can reset the SMC by following the given steps:

    1. Shut down your computer.

    2. Remove the battery.

    3. For five seconds, press and hold down the power button.

    4. Turn on your Mac after you reconnect the battery.

    On iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro

    On a desktop Mac with a T2 chip, you can reset the SMC by following the given steps:

    1. Shut down your computer.

    2. Then, hold the power button down for 10 seconds.

    3. After releasing the power button, wait for a few seconds and then restart the computer.

    4. Turn the Mac off again, if the problem hasn't gone yet.

    5. Wait for 15 seconds after you unplug the power cord.

    6. Then wait for 5 more seconds after you reconnect the power.

    7. Turn on your Mac.

    On older Macs (mostly before 2018), you can reset the SMC by following the given steps:

    1. Shut down your computer.

    2. Unplug the power cord and wait for 15 seconds.

    3. Wait for five seconds after you reconnect the power cord.

    4. Turn your Mac on.

    PRAM and NVRAM in Macs

    All the information about the configuration of a Mac, including the date and time, as well as desktop, mouse and other control settings, is held by the PRAM (parameter random access memory) and NVRAM (non-volatile random access memory).

    To make sure that these settings don't get lost every time you turn your computer off, these areas of memory are powered by a small battery.

    PRAM and NVRAM in Macs

    The older PowerPC Macs have PRAM while the Intel-based Macs have NVRAM. They can both be reset in the same manner.

    The PRAM or NVRAM problems are mostly software-related. There could be connectivity problems or your computer might forget certain settings due to a problem with this memory. There are some specific symptoms when you can reset the PRAM or NVRAM.

    • If the volume isn't responding properly.

    • If the mouse works in a strange manner with its scrolling and clicking.

    • If your keyboard is not responding properly.

    • If the clock or the timezone is wrong.

    • AirPort problems

    • If your Mac is very slow to shut down.

    Resetting the PRAM or NVRAM on Mac

    You don't need to reset the NVRAM if you have got an M1 Mac. The process will happen automatically if needed and whenever you start the computer.

    Resetting the PRAM or NVRAM on Mac

    You don't need to know if yours has NVRAM or PRAM for the older Macs, as they can both be reset using the same process:

    1. Shut down your computer.

    2. Press the power button.

    3. Press the Cmd, Option, P, and R keys at the same time, before the grey screen appears.

    4. Until you hear the startup sound for a second time, keep holding the keys.

    5. Until the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time, keep holding the keys on Macs with the T2 Security Chip.

    6. Release the keys.

    You will notice that some of your settings, like the time, volume, mouse settings, etc, are lost after you reset the NVRAM or PRAM. You will be able to get it back to normal in a few minutes if you remember the previous computer settings.

    Conclusion

    So now you know how to reset both, the NVRAM or PRAM and the SMC. Most hardware errors will require resetting the SMC and the software errors would require resetting the NVRAM or PRAM.

    Published by: Amundra
    Tags:macOSXramhowtoinstallation-guide
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