How to reset SMC on M1 or Intel Mac

By Amanda | Posted to Home > Wiki, on September 1st, 2021

Summary: This post will elaborate on what is SMC, when you need to reset SMC, and how to reset SMC on MacBook Air/iMac/Mac Pro.

reset SMC

Mac won’t turn on, what to do? Or your Mac is very sluggish? If you fail to solve these issues after using Disk Utility and booting into safe mode, you can reset SMC on your Mac to restore the computer to normal.

What is SMC

SMC stands for system management controller. It is responsible for controlling thermal and power management, battery charging, video mode switching, sleep and wake, hibernation, and LED indicators.

What causes need for SMC reset

Before you reset SMC on your Mac, you should know whether resetting SMC applies to the problem your computer is experiencing. There is a list of main symptoms when it is recommended to reset SMC:

  1. Your computer’s fans run at high speed, even if it is properly ventilated and isn’t under heavy usage.
  2. The lights (keyboard backlights, SIL, Battery indicator lights) behave incorrectly.
  3. Your computer doesn’t respond when you press down the power button.
  4. The battery doesn’t charge properly.
  5. Your computer runs slowly, even under low CPU load.

How to reset SMC on M1 Mac

There is no system management controller in M1 Mac. So you can not reset SMC on M1 Mac. But it doesn’t mean there is no way out when the M1 Mac encounter a problem once can be solved by resetting SMC on Intel Mac such as battery indicator lights behave incorrectly.

All the functions the SMC handled are now embedded in the M1 processor. Apple support also said that the M1 chip performs something like an SMC reset. Just shut down your M1 Mac and power on it after 30 seconds.

How to reset SMC on Intel MacBook Pro/MacBook Air

The methods below only apply to MacBook Pro/MacBook Air with a non-removable battery. In terms of an older MacBook with a removable battery, you can reset SMC in this way: shut down your Mac, remove the battery, press and hold the power button for five seconds, then reconnect the battery and turn on your computer.

The methods to reset SMC differ on Intel Mac with or without a T2 chip. Generally speaking, the Intel Mac except Mac Pro has been equipped with T2 chips since 2018.

MacBook Pro/MacBook Air with T2 chip:
  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, then restart.
  • If that doesn't fix the problem, turn the Mac off again.
  • Press and hold the right Shift key, the left Option key, and the left Control key for 7 seconds.
  • Keep holding all these three keys and hold the Power button for another 7 seconds.
  • Release all the keys and wait a few seconds. Now restart your MacBook.

reset SMC on MacBook with T2 chip
Source: From Apple.com

MacBook Pro/MacBook Air without T2 chip:
  • Shut down and unplug your Mac.
  • On the built-in keyboard, press and hold the Shift, Option, and Control keys on the left side and press the power button and hold all of these down for 10 seconds.
  • Release all four keys.
  • Connect the power adapter and then turn the Mac on.

reset SMC on MacBook without T2 chip
Source: From Apple.com

How to reset SMC on Intel iMac/Mac mini/Mac Pro

iMac/Mac mini/Mac Pro with T2 chip:
  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold its power button for 10 seconds.
  • Release the power button, then wait a few seconds.
  • Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
  • If that doesn’t resolve the issue, shut down the Mac again.
  • Unplug the power cord and wait 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in.
  • Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
iMac/Mac mini/Mac Pro without T2 chip:
  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Unplug the power cord and wait 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in.
  • Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

SMC reset VS. NVRAM reset

SMC and NVRAM play different roles on Mac. Resetting SMC and resetting NVRAM also apply to different situations.

SMC is responsible for power management, battery charging, fans, lights, and so forth. Resetting SMC can restore your Mac’s malfunctions like battery not charge, the computer doesn’t respond after pressing the power button, Mac runs slowly, etc.

NVRAM is in charge of storing information about the configuration of a Mac including the date and time, as well as desktop, volume, mouse, and other control settings. When you power off and start your Mac again, all the settings remain.

FAQ about SMC reset

Is Mac SMC reset safe?

It is safe to perform an SMC reset. Resetting SMC is suggested by Apple support to resolve certain issues related to power, battery, fans, and other features. When your Mac acts strangely in these aspects, you can try to reset SMC to fix.

What happens when you reset the SMC on a MacBook Pro?

Resetting the SMC will restore default settings related to low-level features that you generally cannot modify in System Preferences.

Does resetting the SMC on a Mac delete everything?

It will not delete anything when you reset SMC on your computer. Resetting SMC is just a troubleshooting step without any damage to your data.