Did you know that Apple’s revenue reached $123.9 billion in the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year? Of that amount, the Mac lineup accounted for 9%, or about $11.15 billion.
That popularity has a lot to do with Macs being fast, sleek, and easy to integrate with other Apple devices. It also helps that they’re more secure since fewer malware types infect them than Windows.
However, despite Macs’ reliability, they can still lag, freeze, or crash. Thus, it pays to know how to reset a Mac to refresh your macOS.
Don’t worry, as this Mac troubleshooting guide covers the top ways to reset your device. So, keep reading to learn how to perform a MacBook reset like a pro.
1. Resetting the PRAM or the NVRAM
PRAM, short for parameter random access memory, saves information related to macOS. However, unlike RAM, which stores volatile information, PRAM isn’t temporary. So, it doesn’t lose the data it holds even when you turn off your Mac.
Speaker volume, time zone, and display settings are some of the information stored in PRAM. So when any of those components act up, PRAM may be to blame. For example, it can be behind the problem of multiple monitors having issues Mac users often face.
On the other hand, NVRAM stands for non-volatile random access memory. It works much like the PRAM, except that you can only find it in Intel-based Macs. Fortunately, the steps for resetting either are the same.
To reset the PRAM or NVRAM on an older Mac, start by powering off the device. Then, unplug all peripherals except a wired keyboard.
Next, press the power button and immediately hold down the Option, Command, P, and R keys for 20 seconds. Be sure to do that before the screen turns gray. You can then let go of all the keys to allow the Mac to finish rebooting.
Resetting the NVRAM on an M1 Mac is even easier, as you only need to restart the device.
2. Resetting the SMC on Newer Macs
The SMC, short for system management controller, is a chip found in Intel-based Mac models. It overlooks hardware functions, such as status lights, power supply, and system performance. Thus, it’s the SMC you want to reset if you have issues with those components.
The MacBook resetting procedure for the SMC depends on whether you have a Mac with the T2 Security Chip. These models include MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and MacBook 2018 versions or later. If you have one of those, start the reset process by shutting down your Mac.
Next, press the power button and hold it down for 10 seconds before releasing it. Then, wait for about five seconds before restarting your Mac.
If that doesn’t work, press Shift on the right of your keyboard and the left Option and Control keys. Keep them down for seven seconds before pressing and holding the power button. Then, wait for another seven seconds, release all keys, wait for a few more seconds, and restart your Mac.
3. Resetting the SMC on Older Macs
Mac computers manufactured before 2018 don’t have a T2 Security Chip. Thus, resetting their SMC follows a different process. Moreover, the exact steps depend on whether they have a non-removable battery.
If you have a Mac manufactured anytime from mid-2009 to 2017, it likely has a non-removable battery.
You can reset your Mac’s SMC by shutting it down first. Then, press the left Shift key, left Control key, left Option key, and the power button. Keep them down for 10 seconds before releasing them and restarting your device.
If your Mac has a removable battery, start the SMC reset by shutting down your device. Next, take the battery off and press and hold down the power button for five seconds. Replace the battery before you power on your device.
4. Erasing Macs Using Disk Utility
If you intend to give away, sell, or recycle your Mac, erase all its contents first. That removes all your data from the device, preventing hackers from gaining access to it. Otherwise, you may experience a data breach and have your information stolen.
Note that data breaches are pervasive; in 2021 alone, there were 1,862 reported cases.
Fortunately, it’s easy to erase your Mac’s data using Disk Utility.
However, Disk Utility is only accessible via macOS Recovery. To get to that, you need to turn off your Mac first. As soon as you turn it on, immediately press the Command and R keys until you see the Apple logo.
Enter your administrator password if asked. You can then select Disk Utility from the window labeled Utilities.
In the next window, enter ‘Macintosh HD’ in the Name field and ‘AFPS’ or ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ in the Format field. Finally, click the Erase or Erase Volume Group button.
5. Erasing Macs With T2 Security Chip
If you have a Mac with the T2 Security Chip, you can erase your Mac using the Erase Assistant Tool. You can access this by going to System Preferences. Look for and click the icon labeled Erase All Content and Settings.
The Erase Assistant Tool should then pop up on your screen. Provide your administrator credentials to gain access to its erase functions.
You can then opt to back your Mac up using Time Machine, but be sure to connect an external storage device. Do this if you don’t have a backup yet; otherwise, you lose all your data after the process. If you already have a backup, you can click Continue to proceed.
You may then have to sign out of your Apple ID. After that, click Continue again and select Erase All Content & Settings.
Mac Troubleshooting Made Easy
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reset your Mac whenever it encounters problems. Always opt for a PRAM/NVRAM or SMC reset first, as this is often enough to fix minor woes. However, if you plan to give away your device, make sure you erase your Mac.
Regardless of the reset option you choose, follow all the steps in this Mac troubleshooting guide to a T.
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