How (and Why) to Reset SMC and NVRAM on Mac
Summary: Starting from display resolution problems to erratic Mac behavior, there are plenty of minor issues that can ruin the Mac user experience. Resetting the SMC and NVRAM on Macs can help fix many of them. Let’s discuss how to reset the SMC and NVRAM of your Mac to make it operate correctly. If the SMC/NVRAM reset process led to accidental data loss, download Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac to recover lost files hassle-free.
It is hard to imagine something more frustrating than your Mac acting up for no apparent reason. A misbehaving Mac can ruin your user experience through various performance bugs. It can be battery charging problems, unusual fan noises, computer display glitches, or even your Mac refusing to start up. If these issues are something you deal with daily, find out more about how to reset NVRAM and SMC on a Mac to bring things back to normal.
Learn how to reset SMC and NVRAM on MacBook Pro and other Mac models. This blog will also focus on exact situations where SMC/NVRAM reset can be helpful.
What is SMC, and When Should You Reset It?
System Management Controller (SMC) is a chip integrated into motherboards of Intel-based Macs that is responsible for low-level settings. They include fan cooling, video displaying, power settings, and more.
If you experience minor system performance issues, your first instinct might be to restart your Mac. Indeed, force-quitting irresponsive apps with a consequent system restart is typically enough to fix a great variety of the problems Mac users face. However, in particular cases, it is the SMC reset that can help you improve your Mac’s performance.
Reset the SMC on your Mac if you deal with one of the issues below:
- Atypical fan noises.
- Mac doesn’t turn on.
- Mac or MacBook Pro doesn’t charge through a USB-C port.
- Battery charging issues on Mac.
- Slow system performance.
- Power button malfunctions.
- Display backlight issues.
- External devices or Bluetooth connection failures.
How to Reset the SMC of Your Mac?
The SMC reset procedure differs depending on your Mac model. Mind, Macs running Apple Silicon (M1/M2) don’t have an SMC chip. So, the SMC reset is not possible for them.
Pro Tip: Shutting down and turning your Mac off for 30 seconds will work as the SMC reset for M1 Macs.
If unsure what Mac model you operate, check your processor type:
- Open Apple Menu.
- Go to About This Mac.
- Select Processor type in the Overview section.
How to Reset SMC on a Mac with T2 Security Chips?
Mac models from 2018 and higher operate with T2 security chips. The SMC on these Macs differs from older models.
How to reset SMC on a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air (T2 chips):
- Turn off your Mac.
- Press simultaneously the left Control, left Option, and right Option on your keyboard.
- Hold the key combination for 7 seconds and press the Power button.
- Stop pressing the keys and turn on your computer.
How to reset SMC on Mac mini and iMac with T2 chips:
- Turn off your Mac.
- Hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
- Release the Power button and restart your Mac.
Pro Tip: If the problem stays unresolved, shut down your desktop again. Then, try unplugging the power cord and waiting for 15 seconds. Reconnect the cord and turn the Mac back on after another 5 seconds.
How to Reset SMC on Older Mac Models?
Depending on whether your Mac has a removable or non-removable battery, you will have to follow different SMC reset procedures.
Mac models with non-removable batteries:
- Turn off your Mac.
- Press the Power button and Shift, Control, and Option keys on the keyboard.
- Press the Power button and the key combination for 10 seconds.
- Release the keys and turn on the Mac.
Mac models with removable batteries:
- Shut Down your Mac.
- Remove the battery.
- Press the Power button for 5 seconds.
- Return the battery and turn on the Mac.
If you own an older Mac desktop, the SMC reset process will involve disconnecting the power cord.
To reset previous versions of Mac desktop computers:
- Shut Down your desktop computer.
- Unplug the power cord.
- Wait for 15 seconds to plug it back in.
- Turn on your Mac desktop.
What is NVRAM and When to Reset It?
NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory), formerly known as PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory), stores data needed to boot your system correctly. It includes startup disk selection, display and sound settings, kernel panic information, and more.
NVRAM issues are relatively uncommon. However, it is still possible that a key to fixing your Mac’s weird behavior is resetting NVRAM.
NVRAM reset can help fix the following issues:
- Start-up disk location failed.
- Wrong screen resolution or display settings.
- Sound not working or other volume issues.
- Bluetooth connectivity issues.
- Unexpected system shutdowns.
How to Reset NVRAM on a Mac?
The NVRAM reset process depends on your Mac model. Mac owners who operate Apple Silicon machines don’t need to execute the NVRAM reset. This process is automatic for M1 and M2 Macs and happens during a system restart.
To reset NVRAM on Intel-based Macs:
- Shut Down your Mac.
- Turn it back on by pressing the Power button.
- Press Command, Option, P, and R combinations on your keyboard.
- Hold it for 20 seconds.
- Release the keys after you hear the startup sound or see the Apple logo twice.
How to Restore Files Deleted Due to the SMC/NVRAM Reset?
In general, the SMC/NVRAM reset doesn’t pose a risk to the data stored on your Mac. However, accidental data loss may still occur. The optimal solution to fix such a problem is to use data recovery software.
We recommend going with Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac. It can help restore files even from non-bootable devices and is compatible with newer Mac models.
Experiencing minor system bugs and glitches can be annoying and tiring. Luckily, the SMC/NVRAM reset can help resolve many of them. The procedure for resetting NVRAM and SMC on a Mac depends on the Mac model you run. If, after the fix described, performance issues stay unresolved, contact Apple Support for further assistance.
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