How to Reset PRAM, SMC, and NVRAM on Your Mac (and Why)

If your Mac behaves strangely after a software upgrade, it may be time to reset your Mac’s PRAM, SMC and/or NVRAM.

Some strange issues include fans that keep running, Wi-Fi networks not showing up, missing mounted drives, screens not adjusting or Bluetooth not working.

These systems can be reset to resolve any Mac problem. This guide will explain when, how, and why to reset the PRAM, SMC and NVRAM of your Mac computer or MacBook.

Table of Contents

PRAM, SMC and NVRAM reset

  1. PRAM Reset

  2. SMC reset

  3. NVRAM reset

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1

PRAM Reset

Your Mac uses PRAM (Parameter RAM), a type of RAM to store and quickly access certain settings.

Why should you reset your PRAM?

If you experience any of these problems, it is a good idea to reset your PRAM.

  • 32-bit Addressing

  • Setting alarm clock

  • Font for application

  • Attention (beep sound)

  • Autokey delay

  • Autokey rate

  • Caret blink time (insertion point rate)

  • Disk cache

  • Double-click time

  • Menu blink count

  • Monitor depth

  • Mouse speed (mouse scaling)

  • RAM disk

  • Definition and Serial Port Configuration

  • Serial printer location

  • Speaker volume

  • Start disk

  • Status of Messages

  • Virtual memory

  • Wireless networks won’t randomly appear

  • Other miscellaneous issues

As a rule, I reset the PRAM first.

How do I reset my PRAM

The following steps can be used to reset the PRAM on your Mac:

  1. Your Mac must be turned off.

  2. It can be turned back on by pressing the power button and then releasing it.

  3. Press and hold immediately the following keys together: [Option],[Command],[P],[R]

  4. If your Mac plays startup sounds, you should release the keys immediately after the sound stops. If the Apple logo appears or disappears twice, you can release the keys.

Get more information about PRAM from Apple support.

2

SMC reset

The System Management Controller (SMC), is closely related to power management and hardware issues, particularly on MacBooks.

Why should SMC be reset?

It’s time to reset the SMC if you are experiencing any of these issues.

  • Charging and battery

  • Behave when you open and close the lid of your notebook computer

  • Computer or screen won’t wake

  • Fans and other thermal management features

  • Status indicator lights, such as the battery charging status indicator, sleep status, battery status and others, the sudden motion sensor, ambient light sensor and keyboard backlighting are all examples of sensors or indicators.

  • Power, including the power button as well as power to the USB ports

How do you reset SMC

SMC reset can be done in a variety of ways. You can choose the one that best suits your Mac model.

All MacBook Air models and MacBook Pro models from mid-2009 or later (except the 13-inch MacBook mid-2009)

  1. Your Mac must be turned off.

  2. Shift], [^Control], [Option].

  3. Hold the power button while you still hold the keys.

  4. These keys should be held for 10 seconds, then released.

  5. Give it a while before you press the power button.

Notebook computers with the T2 Chip, including many of the newer MacBooks

  1. Your Mac must be turned off.

  2. Shift] on the right side of your keyboard. Your Mac might not turn on.

  3. These keys should be held for seven seconds.

  4. Hold the power button while you still hold the keys.

  5. These keys should be held for seven seconds, then released.

  6. Give it a while before you press the power button.

All desktop computers (Mac Pro, etc.)

  1. Turn off your Mac and unplug any power cords.

  2. After waiting 15 seconds, plug the power cord again in.

  3. Give it 5 seconds more, then push the power button.

Find out more about SMC and how to reset SMC on Mac computers that were made before 2009.

3

NVRAM reset

The NVRAM (nonvolatile random access memory) stores information similar to that of PRAM.

Why should NVRAM be reset?

If you have any problems with your NVRAM, reset it.

  • Display resolution

  • Recent kernel panic information

  • Sound volume

  • Selection of startup-disks

  • Time zone

  • Before your Mac starts up, you will see a question mark.

  • Your Mac boots into an incorrect startup disk

How do I reset NVRAM

The NVRAM reset process works the same way as the PRAM process.

  1. Your Mac must be turned off

  2. It can be turned back on by pressing the power button and then releasing it.

  3. Press and hold immediately the following keys together: [Option],[Command], [P],[R]

  4. If your Mac plays startup sounds, you should release the keys immediately after the sound stops. If the Apple logo appears or disappears twice, you can release the keys.

Learn more about NVRAM Apple support. For more information and troubleshooting guides, visit our Apple Interest Page.

 

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