How to Reset SMC, PRAM and NVRAM on Mac

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by William on Sep 19, 2023 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

People are asking how to reset SMC, PRAM, and NVRAM. Here in this article, step-by-step guides are offered for users as references to do the task. Check out the details below.

What Is SMC?

SMC stands for System Management Controller. As its name entails, the SMC is a chip in Mac that controls some system settings (mostly the low-level settings such as the power and thermal settings). According to Apple’s official Website, the SMC manages behaviors related to:

Resetting the SMC will help to solve issues involving any of the above settings such as issues with sleep, video not displaying, noise from fans even after a reset or a restart amongst others, and in rare cases when the entire MacOS system has a problem, a reset of the SMC can be used to restore everything to normal.

What is PRAM?

PRAM is short for Parameter Random Access Memory. PRAM is a type of memory in Mac that deals with systems settings such as display settings, time zone, startup volume and speaker volume. Not all Macs have the same system settings stored on their PRAMs but it has basically the same purpose in all Mac computers. According to Apple’s official Website the PRAM stores information such as;

Resetting the PRAM is proven to solve weird issues concerning the above settings and also further complications. Knowing how to reset the PRAM is necessary and may be of great help when your system is encountering certain bugs as those mentioned further in the tutorial.

What is NVRAM

NVRAM stands for NonVolatile Random Access Memory. This is a small amount of memory which your Mac uses in order to store certain system setting that it can later access quickly. Similar to the PRAM, NVRAM stores the same type if information (Sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, recent kernel panic information, and time zone). As it is the case with the PRAM, the NVRAM settings differ from Mac to Mac as it depends on the devices you use with your Mac. Malfunctioning in the above-mentioned system settings may need an NVRAM reset which is a similar process to resetting a PRAM.

Similarities and Differences between SMC, PRAM, and NVRAM



How to Reset SMC on Mac

SMC reset is a good fix to certain issues such as:

Resetting the SMC differs from one model of Mac to another. It is different in computers with removable batteries and those without removable batteries. To physically check if your Mac’s battery is removable, look at it from behind from there you will be able to determine if it has a removable battery or not. So before you start an SMC reset check if your battery is removable or not.

For Macbook with T2 Security Chip that is 2018 and later

Shut down your Mac > Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds > Then turn it on again.

If it doesn’t work,

1) Press and hold the right shift+left option+left control for seven seconds.

2) Press the above keys alongside the power button for 7 seconds.

3) Release all the keys and wait for some seconds.

4) Turn on your Mac.

For Macbook with a non-removable battery

1) Shut down your Mac

2) Press and hold Shift+Control+Option on the left side of the keyboard.

3) Press and hold the power button alongside the other buttons.

4) Hold all buttons for 10 seconds then release and turn on your Mac.

For Macbook with a removable battery

1) Shut down your Mac.

2) Remove the battery from it.

3) Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.

4) Reinsert the battery and turn on your Mac.

For a Desktop Mac with a T2 Chip

1) Shut down your Mac.

2) Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.

3) Release the power button, wait for some seconds and restart your Mac.

If it doesn’t work, shut down your Mac again

1) Disconnect the power plug.

2) Wait for 15 seconds then plug in the power cord and wait for 5 seconds.

3) Turn on your Mac.

On older version of the desktop Mac

1) Shut down your Mac

2) Disconnect the power plug

3) Wait for 15 seconds then plug in the power cord and wait for 5 seconds

Before carrying out any of the above processes, ensure it is compatible with your model of Mac before resetting your SMC.

How to Reset PRAM

For you to consider a PRAM reset for your Mac, your Mac should have one of the following problems.

In order to reset PRAM on Mac,

1) Shut down your Mac.

2) Turn on your laptop from the power button and as soon as you power up the laptop, press and hold the Command+Option+P+R buttons.

3) Hold the keys for about 20 seconds after which you release them and let Mac start normally.

4) Also release keys after hearing second startup sound in models that produce a startup sound.

5) Then proceed with the reconfiguration of Startup Disk, Display among other settings which have been reset as a result of the PRAM reset.

How to Reset MVRAM

The process of resetting PRAM and NVRAM on Mac is exactly the same as well as the possible reasons for a reset to be done. So to reset the MVRAM, follow the exact steps above and you will correctly reset your Mac’s NVRAM that way.

In the process of using macOS, you may also encounter other problems, such as accidental deletion. If you have not emptied trash, then you can easily restore it. If you have lost more than 30 days or cleaned it up, don’t worry, you can also use iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac to search for your lost files.