To reset the SMC on a Mac, follow these steps for your respective model:
- On MacBooks with removable batteries: Shut down, remove the battery, press the Power button for 5 seconds, reinsert the battery, and turn on the Mac.
- On MacBooks with non-removable batteries: Hold Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option ⌥ and the Power for 10 seconds.
- On Mac desktops: Unplug for 15 seconds, reconnect, power on after 5 seconds.
- On Macs with T2 chip: Shut down, hold Power for 10 seconds, release, wait 5 seconds, power on.
- Apple Silicon Macs do not have an SMC, so no reset is needed.
When my Mac’s fan started sounding like a non-stop jet engine and the battery acted up, I tried everything from restarting my Mac to running Disk Utility, but nothing worked. Then, I found a solution that sounded complex but was actually straightforward: resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). In this guide, I’ll share the steps to reset the SMC on your Mac just like I did.
Before We Begin
If you’re sick of your Mac acting up, download MacKeeper – a dedicated optimization software with features like Safe Cleanup and Memory Cleaner to keep your Mac running smoothly.
What Are the Symptoms of SMC Malfunction on Your Mac?
Here are some common indicators that your SMC might be having issues:
- Your Mac shuts down unexpectedly or sluggishly.
- Issues with waking up or going to sleep.
- Difficulty turning on your Mac.
- The power button seems to not work correctly.
- Mac’s fans are excessively loud or fast, even with minimal usage.
- Trouble connecting to Wi-Fi.
- Your Mac overheating.
- USB ports or Bluetooth connections not working properly.
- Unpredictable behaviors in lighting or keyboard backlight.
- Your Mac is running slower than usual, despite low CPU utilization.
Restarting your Mac can often fix minor performance issues. To keep your Mac running smoothly, use a Mac cleanup tool like MacKeeper. It helps optimize your Mac by removing temporary files, logs, and cache data. If cleaning your Mac doesn’t help, it’s time to reset your SMC.
Before You Reset the SMC on a Mac
Although resetting your Mac’s SMC can fix different performance problems, it’s not always necessary to jump straight to this solution. I suggest you try some basic troubleshooting steps on your Mac before you reset the System Management Controller (SMC).
Here’s a basic troubleshooting checklist to make sure the issue isn’t caused by something else:
- 🔌 Disconnect Peripherals: Unplug all external devices (except the power adapter, keyboard, and mouse) to see if the issue persists. If the problem is resolved, reconnect the devices one by one to identify which one is causing the issue.
- 🔁 Restart Your Mac: Restarting your Mac clears your computer’s memory and closes any running processes that could be causing problems. To restart your Mac, click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, and select Restart.
- ⬆️ Check for Software Updates: Keeping your macOS up-to-date can resolve issues caused by outdated software, improve system stability, and provide access to new features and security patches. To update your macOS, click the Apple menu > System Settings > General > Software Update.
- 📋 Check Your Login Items: Go to System Settings > General > Login Items. Find and remove any unnecessary startup items that could be causing issues. By managing your login items, you can improve your Mac’s startup time, reduce potential conflicts between applications, and free up system resources for better performance.
- 💽 Run Disk Utility: Disk Utility is a built-in macOS tool to diagnose and repair issues related to your Mac’s storage drive. Before you reset SMC, Open Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities) and run First Aid on your Mac’s startup disk to check for and fix any disk issues.
- 🛡️ Boot in Safe Mode: Booting your Mac in Safe Mode can isolate and identify issues caused by third-party software, extensions, or startup items. Boot your Mac in Safe Mode by holding the Shift ⇧ key while it’s starting. Your Mac will run with limited functionality, so you can determine if the issue is caused by a specific startup item.
- 🛠️ Run Apple Diagnostics: Shut down your Mac and disconnect all peripherals (except the power adapter, keyboard, and mouse). Turn on your Mac and immediately hold down the D key until you see the Diagnostics screen. Follow the on-screen instructions to run Apple Diagnostics.
- 🧹 Declutter your Mac: Use third-party software like MacKeeper to declutter your Mac and keep its performance in check. Its Safe Cleanup feature can effectively rid your Mac of unnecessary clutter, enhancing its speed and reducing its boot-up time.
Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup:
- Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
- Click Safe Cleanup in the left sidebar under Cleaning.
- Tap Start Scan.
- Wait for the scan to complete, and select the files you want to remove. You can select individual files or click Check All to select all at once.
- Then, click Remove Junk Files.
- You’ll get a Cleaning Complete notification indicating all junk files from your Mac have been removed. You can click Rescan if you want to run the scan again.
If the issue remains after trying all these steps, reset the SMC as a last resort. However, be cautious, as incorrect or unnecessary SMC resets can cause unexpected behavior.
How to Reset the SMC on Different Mac Models
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Resetting the SMC on your Mac is different depending on what kind of Mac you have. I’ve got easy steps for all types—MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. Just make sure to use the right instructions for your model to get things working smoothly again.
1. How to Reset the SMC on a MacBook
If you own a Mac laptop, the process for resetting the SMC will vary based on whether your device has a replaceable battery. Generally, older models produced before 2009 had batteries users could easily replace.
Refer to the Removable Battery section only if your Mac has a battery that you can replace without tools.
a. With a Removable Battery
Follow the steps below to reset the SMC:
- Remove your MacBook’s battery.
- Press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds while the battery is removed.
- Release the Power button and reinstall the battery.
- Turn on your Mac by pressing the Power button.
b. With Non-Removable Battery
Alternatively, if you have a MacBook with a non-removable battery, follow these steps:
- Tap the Apple icon and select Shut Down from the drop-down menu.
- Press and hold the Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option ⌥ keys with the power button for 10 seconds.
- Release all the keys and press the power button to turn on your MacBook.
2. How to Reset the SMC on an iMac
If you have a Mac desktop, follow these instructions to reset the SMC:
- Shut down your Mac computer.
- Unplug the power cable.
- Leave the system for 15 or more seconds.
- Plug the cable again.
- Wait for five or more seconds and turn your Mac on again.
3. How to Reset the SMC on a Mac With a T2 Chip (iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and more)
Mac computers with Apple’s T2 Security Chip offer an additional soft technique for resetting the SMC. However, you should only attempt this method after trying the methods previously described.
If your Mac has a T2 chip, follow the steps below to reset the SMC using the “soft” method:
- From the Apple menu, shut down the computer by clicking the Apple icon and tapping Shut Down.
- After completely shutting down the device, press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
- Release the power button and wait for five seconds.
- Finally, press the power button again to turn on your Mac, and its SMC will be reset.
4. How to Reset the SMC on a Mac Mini
If you have a Mac Mini, follow these steps to reset the SMC:
- Selecting Shut Down from the Apple menu.
- Once the device has shut down completely, unplug the power cord.
- After 15 seconds, reconnect the power cord.
- Wait an additional 5 seconds before pressing the power button to turn on your Mac.
- This should complete the SMC reset process on your Mac Mini.
5. How to Reset the SMC on Apple Silicon Macs
Unlike Macs with Intel processors, Apple Silicon Macs do not have a System Management Controller (SMC). Due to the absence of an SMC in these Macs, you cannot perform an SMC reset.
If you’re unsure whether your Mac has an Apple Silicon chip, you can always consult the Apple Support page.
When Should You Reset the SMC on Your Mac?
If the SMC malfunctions, it can impact your Mac’s performance, requiring an SMC reset. Some common scenarios include the following:
- ❌ Mac not turning on: The most common scenario that requires resetting the SMC is when your Mac won’t turn on or boot properly. This could happen due to a power surge or hardware malfunction.
- ☢️ Fans running at high speed: If your MacBook fan is loud or starts running at high speeds, even when you’re not performing any demanding tasks, you may need to reset the SMC. This indicates the SMC is not regulating the temperature properly, leading to overheating and hardware damage.
- 🔋 Battery not charging: If your MacBook battery is not charging or the battery is not holding a charge, resetting the SMC can help. This is especially true if the battery percentage is stuck or not updating correctly.
- ⌨️ Keyboard backlight not working: In some cases, you may notice the Mac keyboard backlight is not working or the trackpad is not responding properly. A malfunctioning SMC can cause these issues, and resetting it can resolve them.
- 📶 Bluetooth or Wi-Fi issues: If you experience issues with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity on your Mac, resetting the SMC can help because it controls the wireless connectivity hardware on your Mac.
- 🔌 USB-C port issues: Finally, if USB ports are not working on your Mac, resetting the SMC can fix them. This could be due to a power surge or hardware malfunction affecting the USB ports.
Now that you know how to reset the SMC on your Mac, you can move on to other steps to optimize your Mac’s performance. Here are a few tips for you:
- Clearing the cache files on your Mac can optimize its performance and speed it up.
- Clean up your Mac regularly to prevent junk files from piling up and slowing down its speed.
- Improve your system’s sluggish performance by resetting the NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is System Management Controller (SMC)?
The System Management Controller (SMC) is a subsystem on Intel-based Macs that manages various low-level functions related to power, temperature, and hardware control. It manages various system functions, like power management, thermal management, and the keyboard backlight.
Is resetting SMC on a Mac safe?
Yes, resetting the SMC on a Mac is safe and is a standard troubleshooting step recommended by Apple. It can resolve various hardware-related issues without affecting your data. However, it should be performed correctly according to your Mac model’s instructions to ensure no settings are improperly altered.
Will resetting Mac’s SMC delete my data?
No, resetting Mac’s SMC will not delete your data or personal files. However, it’s always a good idea to back up your important data on Mac. This way, if any unexpected issues occur during or after resetting the SMC, you can restore your data from a backup.
Can I reset SMC on my Mac remotely?
No, you cannot reset SMC on your Mac remotely. You need physical access to the device as it involves unplugging the power source, which cannot be done remotely. However, if you have remote access to the Mac via a tool such as Apple Remote Desktop, you may be able to perform a software-based reset of the SMC.
How often should I reset my Mac’s SMC?
You should only reset SMC when you encounter issues with your Mac that require it. Resetting the SMC on your Mac or other Apple device is not something that needs to be done regularly. In fact, most users will never need to reset the SMC during the entire lifespan of their device.