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How to Reset SMC and PRAM on MacBook


resetting the smc

Reliability is at the cornerstone of Apple’s vision of Mac. Love it or hate it, Macs have proven to be built to last. However, despite the almost spotless reputation, Macs are not perfect. Scarcely, your Mac may act up without any obvious reason — keyboard isn’t responding, wireless connections don’t work, battery charge isn’t displayed correctly, or Mac enters sleep mode unexpectedly. These things operate under PRAM and SMC, resetting which can help solve the issues.

Before jumping into the “how” aspect of resetting these parameters, lets first take a look at what each of them are responsible for. 

What is PRAM and NVRAM?

Parameter Random Access Memory — PRAM — is a parameter that preserves custom system settings like time zone, speaker volume, display preferences, etc. It has a dedicated internal battery that supplies sufficient power to keep the information stored even when your Mac is powered off. Under certain conditions PRAM can still be prone to corruption. Resetting the parameter helps fix acquired issues.

Newer Macs don’t use PRAM anymore and have moved on to non-volatile RAM — NVRAM. It servers nearly the same purpose but with lower chance of malfunction. Regardless of the technology your Mac uses, resetting these is fast and safe.

How to Reset PRAM on Mac

Resetting PRAM gives Mac a clear start with default settings in place. PRAM and NVRAM reset helps resolve the following issues:

      Question mark at startup

      Locked display resolution

      Sounds volume resets

      Uneven mouse scrolling speed

      Incorrect time zone, date, or time

If your Mac happens to have any of these unpleasant problems, the parameter reset can potentially resolve them:

      Shut Down your Mac

      Press the Power button

      Hold Command-Option-P-R key combination while booting up your Mac

      Release the keys when your hear the startup sound

If the problems aren’t resolved after the PRAM/NVRAM has been reset, then consider doing the same for SMC.

What is SMC?

System Management Controller — SMC — is a controller that manages various aspects of Intel-based Apple computers. Unlike PRAM, that is mostly responsible for current system settings, SMC deals with things like fans, power, indicators, system performance, etc. Resetting SMC to factory settings can as well help handle tons of underwhelming issues on your Mac.

MacBook SMC Reset

As already noted, the SM Controller on Mac deals with a wide range of things. Learning how to reset SMC adds useful knowledge to your troubleshooting arsenal and helps do something to provide a quick fix to the following issues:

      Display brightness being unadjustable

      Keyboard backlighting not working

      Fans spinning abnormally fast

      External devices not being recognized

      Power button not working well

      Lid opening and closing isn’t responding

      Unexpected Shut Downs

Resetting SMC is not difficult by any means, but it requires a different approach based on they type of computer you have.

MacBook with removable battery:

      Shut Down your MacBook

      Remove battery

      Press and hold the power button for up to 5 seconds

      Put the battery back in

      Turn on your MacBook

MacBook with non-removable battery:

      Shut Down your MacBook

      Press Shift-Option-Command key combination + Power button

      Hold for up to 10 seconds and release

      Turn on your MacBook

Mac desktop computer:

      Shut Down your Mac

      Unplug the power cord for 15 seconds

      Plug in the power cord

      Turn on your Mac

Clearly, despite the variables, resetting SMC or PRAM/NVRAM is not that big of a challenge. Once you complete the reset, your Mac should be back to operating as it should on its default settings. You can now make preferred changes and enjoy the properly functioning Mac again.

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