One of the main reasons that people use Macs is that they are reliable. Even while your Mac is sleeping it is actually performing maintenance and keeping your machine in tip-top shape. But sometimes, even Apple’s best machines can run into trouble. Strange behaviors, sluggish performance, and stuck settings can become frustrating in no time flat. We’re going to dive into a few techniques that you can use to get your Mac back up to speed.
PRAM stands for “parameter random-access memory.” This is the portion of the system memory that holds a small number of settings that the system can access quickly. Newer Intel Macs use NVRAM (non-volatile random–access memory) for the same purpose. Apple keeps things like the display resolution, volume, and startup disk location in this portion of your system memory. Resetting the PRAM or NVRAM can sometimes remedy strange bugs. Both PRAM and NVRAM are reset the same way.
How to reset PRAM/NVRAM
To reset PRAM/NVRAM, restart your Mac, and press and hold the following key combo: Option + Command + P + R.
You can check out the technique in this video. You’ll want to listen for the Apple “chime” twice. Then you are all set.
The SMC is the system management controller. Resetting the SMC is a similar operation to resetting the NVRAM. Apple recommends resetting it to fix issues with power, battery, fans, and other features. The process is slightly different for different types of Mac.
How to reset SMC in a MacBook
- Shut down the Mac.
- Connect your power adapter to your Mac and to a power source.
- With the Mac still powered off, press Shift-Control-Option and press the power button at the same time.
- Release all keys and power up your Mac.
How to reset SMC in an iMac, Mac Pro, or Mac mini
- Shut down the Mac and unplug the power cord.
- Wait 15 seconds with the Mac unplugged.
- Plug in the power cord and wait 5 seconds.
- Turn on the Mac.
You can check out this technique in this video.
If you have an M1 Mac, you should know that they don’t need to have NVRAM cleared or the SMC rebooted. (SMC doesn’t exist on M1 Macs.) When an M1 Mac reboots, it runs a sequence to make sure the NVRAM is doing what it should do. This is the advantage of Apple making both the hardware and the software.
I hope these tips help you get your Mac up and running without the quirks that sometimes arise. They are great machines, but they are still subject to going haywire sometimes!