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In Mac Last updated: April 21, 2023
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Has your Mac been acting up lately, to the point that it frustrates you?

It could be glitches with your screen, the fan randomly running super fast, or the battery not charging properly, among other problems.


I believe you’ve already tried the common troubleshooting techniques, such as restarting the device (my go-to way of fixing problems) and running Disk Utility. Among the many ways to fix certain issues, you should also include resetting the PRAM and SMC.

In this post, we’ll learn about these two areas of the system and how you can reset them to fix the sluggish performance and strange behaviors of your Mac.

Let’s dive straight into it.

What is PRAM?

PRAM, which stands for Parameter Random Access Memory, refers to a small amount of memory that stores data that are used by the system or applications, such as preferences, settings, and more.

It keeps all the data that your operating system needs to use. Unlike RAM, the data stored in PRAM isn’t temporary, so it doesn’t get cleared. It uses a small internal battery to enable the settings to get saved even when your system is turned off.


It’s important to note that PRAM is mainly used for older Macs. Nowadays, Mac devices use something called NVRAM, which stands for Non-volatile Random Access Memory.

It’s almost the same as PRAM, but instead of storing too much information, it just deals with a few pieces of data, such as screen resolution, your selected start-up disk, time zone, and more. 

Depending on which Mac you’re using, resetting either of these two can help fix annoying problems. The steps to reset them are pretty much the same.

Also read: How to Reinstall macOS

What is SMC?

System Management Controller (SMC) manages low-level settings like thermal and battery management. For example, it’s responsible for the proper functioning of the cooling fan, status light, LED indicators, and power supply.

It also plays a vital role in the behavior of your hard drive and how it stands while your device is in sleep mode.

Resetting the SMC can fix a variety of problems with your Mac, including:

  • Mac won’t turn on
  • Power-related issues
  • Trackpad acting strange
  • WiFi connectivity problems
  • Fan running fast randomly, even when the usage is minimal
  • The keyboard backlight doesn’t work

If you’re facing any of the above problems or something similar to them, you can reset the SMC and fix it.

There are two very straightforward ways to reset SMC and PRAM/NVRAM. You can follow the steps for the method you’re comfortable with.

Manual Way to Reset PRAM and SMC

Probably the most favored method, resetting PRAM or NVRAM and SMC manually is quite simple. Even if you’ve never done something like this, you’d be able to get through the steps pretty comfortably.


To reset the PRAM or NVRAM (whatever you want to call it, depending upon the Mac version you’re using), you need to start by shutting down your Mac.


For M-chip Mac versions, the process is complete here because the NVRAM is reset automatically when you shut down the device. However, for Intel-based Macs, you can continue.

Once the device is turned off, press the power button to turn it back on and immediately press and hold these 4 keys together: Option, Command, P, and R.


You can release the keys after about 20 seconds, just to be sure. When the device finishes the start-up process, you should be back to your device’s home screen.

From here, you can go to System Preferences and adjust any settings that were reset, such as the display resolution, volume, and more.

And that’s about it.

#2. SMC

The process to reset SMC is different on different kinds of Mac devices out there. For the new M-chip Mac versions, you don’t have to do anything besides shutting down or restarting the device. This will automatically reset the SMC.

On the other hand, if you have a Mac that is not M-chip series, follow the below instructions for the respective versions.

Laptop Mac with the T2 Chip:

Shut down your Mac. Press and hold the keys Control, Option, and Shift


Your device might turn on. Keep holding down the keys for 7 seconds, and then press and hold the Power Button as well. If your device is turned on, it’ll shut down while you’re holding this combination of keys.

Keep holding the keys for another 7 seconds and then finally release them. After a few seconds, press the Power Button to turn the device back on.

Desktop Mac with the T2-Chip:

Shut down your Mac and then unplug the power cable. Wait for 15 seconds, and then insert the plug back in. Wait for another 5 seconds, and finally, press the Power Button to turn it back on.

Laptop Mac without Silicon and the T2 Chip: 

Shut down your Mac. Press and hold the keys Shift, Control, and Option


While holding this combination of keys, press and hold the Power Button as well. Keep holding all 4 keys for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, release them and then press the Power Button to turn the device back on.

Desktop Mac without Silicon and the T2 Chip:

Shut down your Mac and then unplug the power cable. Wait for 15 seconds, and then insert the plug back in. Wait for another 5 seconds, and finally, press the Power Button to turn it back on.

Tools That Help Reset PRAM and SMC

I understand not everybody might be comfortable with the manual process. To make it simpler, you can use third-party tools that help you reset PRAM/NVRAM and SMC easily.

These tools do a lot more than just resetting. In fact, if you’re struggling with problems that cannot be fixed by just resetting, then these tools can help in those cases as well.

Here are my favorites.

#1. 4DDiG Mac Boot Genius

All it takes is a few clicks for 4DDiG Mac Boot Genius to reset the NVRAM and SMC on your device. This handy tool by Tenorshare can help solve a variety of problems you’re facing, such as screen flickering, an unresponsive keyboard, and overheating.

YouTube video

Whether you’re experiencing hardware or system issues, you can expect to fix them instantly by using this solution.

You can download and start optimizing for free.

#2. Avast Cleanup Premium

With a rating of 4/5 stars and tons of reviews on TrustPilot, Avast Cleanup Premium is mainly a tool for removing junk files from your Mac.


It does not help you reset NVRAM and SMC, but it serves as a reminder that keeping your system clean might not require you to reset them in the future.

This tool helps you achieve a much cleaner device that is lightweight and free from unnecessary data. It’s also a great way to deal with performance issues and strange behaviors.

#3. MacKeeper

MacKeeper is truly a keeper because it keeps your Mac clean and safe with little to no effort.


It can help you:

  • Remove viruses, malware, and adware
  • Remove junk files
  • Block ads and prevent identity theft
  • Speed up your device

It also has 24/7 monitoring to keep an eye on any kind of breaches. While MacKeeper does not directly help you reset PRAM/NVRAM and SMC, it helps you achieve a device that will not need resetting.

On top of that, it’s free to get started with.

Closing Thoughts

Depending on your issue, resetting the PRAM/NVRAM and SMC should fix it in most cases. However, if the problem persists for you, reach out to Apple’s support team to discuss a solution.

Next, check out the best software for Mac data recovery.

  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
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