5 Simple Steps to Reset a Macbook

Did you know that Apple’s revenue reached $123.9 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2022? Of that amount, the Mac lineup accounted for 9%, or about $11.15 billion.

This popularity has a lot to do with how fast, sleek, and easily integrated Macs are with other Apple devices. It also helps that they are more secure as fewer types of malware infect them than Windows.

However, despite how reliable Macs are, they can still lag, freeze, or crash. Thus, it is useful to know how to reset a Mac to refresh your macOS.

Don’t worry, because this Mac troubleshooting guide covers the main ways to reset your device. So, keep reading to learn how to perform a MacBook reset like a pro.

1. Reset PRAM or NVRAM

PRAM, short for Parameter Random Access Memory, stores information about macOS. However, unlike RAM, which stores volatile information, PRAM is not temporary. Thus, it does not lose the data in it even when you turn off your Mac.

Speaker volume, time zone, and display settings are among the information stored in the PRAM. So when one of these components acts up, the PRAM may be to blame. For example, this can be the cause of multiple monitors having issues that Mac users often face.

On the other hand, NVRAM stands for Non-Volatile Random Access Memory. It works much like PRAM, except you can only find it on Intel-based Macs. Fortunately, the reset steps are the same.

To reset PRAM or NVRAM on an older Mac, start by shutting down the device. Next, 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. Make sure to do this before the screen goes gray. You can then let go of all keys to let the Mac finish restarting.

Resetting NVRAM on a Mac M1 is even easier, as all you need to do is restart the device.

2. Reset SMC on New Macs

SMC, short for System Management Controller, is a chip found in Intel-based Mac models. It neglects hardware functions, such as status lights, power, and system performance. Thus, it is the SMC that you want to reset if you are having issues with these components.

The MacBook reset procedure for SMC depends on whether you have a Mac with the T2 security chip. These models include MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and MacBook 2018 or later. If you have one, start the reset process by shutting down your Mac.

Next, press and hold the power button for 10 seconds before releasing it. Then, wait about five seconds before restarting your Mac.

If that doesn’t work, press Shift on the right of your keyboard and the Option and Control keys on the left. Hold them down for seven seconds before pressing and holding the power button. Then wait another seven seconds, release all keys, wait a few more seconds, and restart your Mac.

3. Reset SMC on older Macs

Mac computers manufactured before 2018 do not have a T2 security chip. So resetting their SMC follows a different process. Also, the exact steps depend on whether or not a non-removable battery is present.

If you have a Mac made anytime between mid-2009 and 2017, it likely has a non-removable battery.

You can reset your Mac’s SMC by shutting it down first. Next, press the left Shift key, left Control key, left Option key, and the power button. Hold them down for 10 seconds before releasing them and restarting your device.

If your Mac has a removable battery, initiate the SMC reset by turning off your device. Next, remove the battery and hold down the power button for five seconds. Replace the battery before turning on your device.

4. Erasing Macs Using Disk Utility

If you plan to give away, sell, or recycle your Mac, erase all of its contents first. This deletes all your data from the device, preventing hackers from accessing it. Otherwise, you could experience a data breach and have your information stolen.

Note that data breaches are ubiquitous; in 2021 alone, 1,862 cases were reported.

Luckily, it’s easy to erase your Mac’s data using Disk Utility.

However, Disk Utility is only accessible through macOS Recovery. To achieve this, you must first shut down your Mac. 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 requested. You can then select Disk Utility from the window titled Utilities.

In the next window, type “Macintosh HD” in the Name field and “AFPS” or “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” in the Format field. Finally, click on Erase or Erase Volume Group button.

5. Erase Macs with the T2 Security Chip

If you have a Mac with the T2 security chip, you can erase your Mac using the Erase Wizard tool. You can access it by going to System Preferences. Find and click on the icon labeled Erase All Content and Settings.

The Erase Wizard tool should then appear on your screen. Provide your administrator credentials to access its erasing features.

You can then choose to back up your Mac 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 continue.

You may then need to sign out of your Apple ID. After that, click Continue again and select Erase all content and settings.

Simplified Mac troubleshooting

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reset your Mac whenever it encounters problems. Always go for a PRAM/NVRAM or SMC reset first as this is often enough to fix minor issues. However, if you plan to give away your device, be sure to erase your Mac.

Whichever reset option you choose, follow all the steps in this Mac troubleshooting guide for a T.

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