How to Reset NVRAM and SMC on A Mac (M1 & Intel)

Resetting NVRAM or SMC is a common troubleshooter if something goes wrong with your Mac. Doing this can fix problems like high-speed fans, incorrect resolution of connected screens, and even Bluetooth problems. But, things are a little bit different with the M1 Macs. Read on to know how to reset NVRAM and SMC on M1 Mac.

Resetting NVRAM & SMC on M1 Mac

What is SMC?

SMC stands for System Management Controller, a chip present in all Mac line computers with Intel processors (MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and the latest iMac Pro). It takes care of minor computer processes running macOS such as fan speed and battery consumption management.

But I own an M1 Silicon Mac

If you own an M1 Mac then you can´t reset manually the SMC, but you can restart your computer and that usually solves the issues that were solved with an SMC reset on an older Intel Mac.

There’s a straightforward explanation for why you can’t reset the SMC on M1 Macs: M1 Macs do not have a System Management Controller. The functionality previously handled by the chip has now been combined with the processor M1.

According to Apple’s support document, resetting the SMC on a Mac with Apple Silicon is as simple as restarting the computer. So, that’s a lot less complicated than the procedures on this page for Intel-powered Macs.

SMS Functions on an Intel Powered Mac include:

  • Response to pressing the power button;
  • Response when opening and closing the MacBooks display lid;
  • Battery management;
  • Thermal management;
  • Sudden movement sensor;
  • Ambient light sensor;
  • Keyboard backlight;
  • Status indicator light management;
  • Battery status indicator lights;
  • Selecting an external (not internal) video source for some iMac displays.

As time goes on, your Mac starts to show problems like fans running at 100% even when no heavy processes are running, keyboard LEDs start acting strangely or USB-C ports stop recognizing certain devices. Your computer can also become slow for seemingly no reason and so on.

If you notice an error on your Mac and you are thinking about resetting SMC, it’s always a good idea to first run Apple’s suggested troubleshooting procedures. In this order, they are:

  • Save your work, hold the Power button until your Mac or MacBook turns off, then turn it back on;
  • Use the key command “Command + Option + Esc” (on a non-Apple keyboard, “Win ​​+ Alt + Esc”) to close unresponsive programs;
  • Put the Mac to sleep by clicking on the Apple Menu (apple symbol), “Sleep” and bringing it back later;
  • Restart the Mac (Apple Menu, “Restart”);
  • Turn off your Mac (Apple Menu, “Shutdown”) and turn it back on.

If none of this works, then you can move on to reset the SMC.

How to reset the SMC on a Mac

1. On MacBooks with built-in battery

  • Click Apple Menu, “Shutdown” and turn off your MacBook;
  • Press the Shift + Control + Option keys on the left side of the integrated keyboard and the Power button at the same time.
  • On a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, the Power button is the fingerprint reader itself;

Hold them all down for 10 seconds and then release everything;

  • Turn on your MacBook.

2. On MacBooks with Removable Battery

  • Click on the Apple Menu, “Shut Down” and turn off the MacBook;
  • Remove the battery;
  • Press the Power button and hold it down for 5 seconds;
  • Release the button and turn on your MacBook.

3. On iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro and Xserve servers

  • Click on Apple Menu, “Shutdown” and shut down your Mac;
  • Unplug the power cord;
  • Wait 15 seconds and reconnect the cable;
  • Wait another 5 seconds and then turn the Mac back on.

4. For Mac Pro (2019), Mac mini (2018) and iMac Pro (Apple T2 Security chip)

Method 1:

  • Click from the Apple Menu, “Shut Down” and turn off the Mac;
  • Press the Power button and hold it down for 10 seconds;
  • Release the button and wait a few more seconds;
  • Turn your Mac back on.

Method 2 (if method 1 doesn’t work):

  • Click the Apple Menu, “Shut Down” and shut down your Mac;
  • Unplug the power cord;
  • Wait 15 seconds and reconnect the cable;
  • Wait another 5 seconds and then turn the Mac back on.

5. On MacBook Air (2018 and later) and MacBook Pro (2018 and later) (Apple T2 Security chip)

Method 1:

  • Click on the Apple Menu, “Shutdown” and turn off the MacBook;
  • Press the Power button and hold it down for 10 seconds;
  • Release the button and wait a few more seconds;
  • Power up your MacBook.

Method 2 (if method 1 does not work):

  • Click on the Apple Menu, “Shutdown” and turn off your MacBook;
  • Press the Right Shift, Left Option and Left Control keys for 7 seconds;
  • Without releasing the three keys, press the On/Off button and keep them all pressed for another 7 seconds;
  • Release all keys and wait a few more seconds;
  • Power up your MacBook.

Reset the NVRAM (or PRAM)

The PRAM was an option for standard fixes for random Mac problems in the past. The P in PRAM stands for parameter, which is a small amount of memory that stores information that the computer needs before it loads the operating system. If the contents of this RAM become unbalanced, your Mac may not start up correctly or show any of a variety of strange behaviours afterwards. But you can use a key sequence to reset them to factory defaults by zapping the PRAM.

In modern Macs, they do not use PRAM. They use something called NVRAM. NVRAM has been changed to only have a few items instead of many which are what PRAM had before. The NVRAM now contains information about your startup disk, speaker volume, screen resolution, time zone, and whether the Mac has ever crashed.

NVRAM corruption is fairly rare. If your Mac takes a long time to figure out the right disc, starts up with the wrong screen resolution, or has weird audio problems (like there is no sound or the volume control on the menu bar is grey), resetting the NVRAM might help. It’s quick and harmless.

Reset NVRAM on M1 Macs

On Mac M1s, when you start up your Mac it will automatically check the NVRAM (a kind of memory) if it needs to change or reset. There is no key combination or button that you can press while starting up the Mac. If you would like the system to check the NVRAM on an M1 Mac, turn it off completely and wait a few seconds before turning it back on.

Reset NVRAM on Intel Macs

To reset your NVRAM, you use exactly the same procedure you once used to reset PRAM.

Turn off your Mac and turn it on again by pressing the keys ⌥ ⌘ P R at the same time, releasing them after 20 seconds. This is the process for resetting both NVRAM and PRAM.

On computers that make a sound at startup, let go of the keys after listening to it. On Macs with the T2 chip, release them once the Apple logo appears and disappears for a second time.

Open System Preferences when your computer starts up to change any data that has been reset as a result of the procedure. 😊

Here’s a caution: If you have a desktop Mac and your sound volume or time zone are reset every time you switch off and unplug it, it’s probably time to change the battery in your computer.

When your Mac is not connected, this tiny battery sits on the logic board and helps NVRAM retain settings. As a result, get your Mac serviced by an Apple-authorized service provider or an Apple Store to have that battery replaced.

The Bottom Line

SMC reset is not available on M1 Macs because it simply doesn’t have a System Management Controller (SMC). And, you can’t manually reset the NVRAM / PRAM because your M1 Mac does this automatically during every startup. So, with minor errors, you only need to reset your M1 Mac to fix the issue instead of resetting NVRAM and SMC.

Why do you want to reset NVRAM or SMC on your M1? And, do you think this new change is better for the Mac? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Related article: How To Fix Problems of the M1 Macs With Ultrawide Displays

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