Is your Mac acting just…? Stuff like drives not appearing, screens not adjusting correctly, Bluetooth problems, AirPort non connecting? Maybe your fan is active ceaseless or your array has said that it is 50% charged…for two days…and your MacBook is . Yeah, these aren’t problems that simple rebooting often fix. And while doing stuff like fixing permissions can fix strangeness, this is aberancy on a deeper level. This is . The good news is that, you’re only a few key presses and reboots away from things (hopefully) being back to normal.

First, before I get into the hows, whys, and wherefores of resetting the SCM and PRAM, remember…while these are about safe things to do (and the instructions are freely accessible on Apple’s abutment section), make sure you have a recent back up and analytical stuff is backed up on an alien drive or USB key or something.

Also I’d abstract all drives, speakers, alien displays and keyboards you try this stuff. It’s a good step to make sure annihilation interferes with the resetting process.

Now on with the show…

Resetting the PRAM

Since the dawn of Macs we’ve had what is called the PRAM—parameter RAM (you can say it like pee-ram or pram, doesn’t matter)—which stores stuff like this (from Apple support):

  • Status of Messages
  • Serial Port Configuration and Port definition
  • Alarm clock setting
  • Application font
  • Serial printer location
  • Autokey rate
  • Autokey delay
  • Speaker volume
  • Attention (beep) sound
  • Double-click time
  • Caret blink time (insertion point rate)
  • Mouse ascent (mouse speed)
  • Startup disk
  • Menu blink count
  • Monitor depth
  • 32-bit addressing
  • Virtual memory
  • RAM disk
  • Disk cache

Yeah, this is kind of “core” stuff and sometimes aberrant values get accounting there or besmirched or article and aberancy ensues. Even back in my alpha tech abutment days, zapping the PRAM (we were too cool to call it “resetting”) was one of those “okay let’s see if this helps” if the band-aid to a botheration wasn’t obvious. Hey, sometimes it did work. Sometimes the PRAM get wonky, hence why you need to reset it now and again.

For the record, I don’t just reset my PRAM for kicks and giggles. I think I needed to do it over a year ago…and yes, it did fix the problem.


  1. Shut down your machine. Yes, all the way down, not sleep or logging out.
  2. Press the power button and then press command-option-p-r. You have to make sure you get those keys apprenticed the gray screen comes up or it won’t work.
  3. Hold those keys down until your Mac reboots again you here the startup chime.
  4. Let go of the keys and let your Mac reboot normally.

When you log back in, you’ll apparently will have to adjust your mouse speed, time and date/timezone, and a few other things, but contrarily you should be good to go. Back in the day, we would often let the PRAM zap several times (like 2 or 3) to make sure it was clear. Sometimes, in fact, the apparatus needed that kind of kick in the pants to clear aggregate out. However, today’s Macs seem to be good to go with a one shot zap, so no worries there.

Resetting the SMC

The accompaniment to the PRAM is the SMC (system administration controller) and is and it stores/manages/controls a lot more absorbing things than the PRAM:

The computer’s fans speed up bound and remain at high speed.
The computer’s fans run at high speed although the computer is not experiencing heavy usage and is appropriately ventilated.

The keyboard backlight appears to behave afield (on Mac computers that have this feature).
The Status Indicator Light (SIL) appears to behave afield (on Mac computers that have an SIL).
Battery indicator lights, if present, appear to behave afield (on portables that use non-removable batteries).
The affectation backlight doesn’t acknowledge accurately to ambient light changes on Mac computers that have this feature.

The computer doesn’t acknowledge to the power button when pressed.
A carriageable Mac doesn’t appear to acknowledge appropriately when you close or open the lid.
The computer sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.
The array does not appear to be charging properly.
The MagSafe power adaptor LED doesn’t appear to announce the actual activity.

System Performance
The computer is active almighty slowly although it is not experiencing abnormally high CPU utilization.

Although Apple suggests reseting the PRAM , I’ve found that often reseting the SMC does the magic. Truth be told if I’m resetting one, I usually just go ahead and reset the other as well. Heck, if your Mac is being strange, just give it the full on kick in the pants, don’t go half way.

The instructions for resetting your SMC depend on three things:

  • Does your device have a disposable battery?
  • Does your device have a congenital battery?
  • Does your device just run off power from the wall?


  1. Shut down the computer (again, full-on off here)
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe plug from the machine
  3. Remove the battery
  4. Press the power button for 5 abnormal and release
  5. Put the array back in and reconnect the MagSafe cord
  6. Turn your apparatus back on with the power button


  1. Turn off your apparatus (really, you knew this was coming at step one)
  2. Keep the power adapter plugged in.
  3. Press at the same time shift-option-control (on the left side of the machine) and the power button
  4. Let go
  5. Turn your apparatus back on with the power button.

Note that you keep the power supply plugged in for MacBooks that have the congenital array and out for MacBooks where you can pull the array out.

  1. Shut the apparatus down
  2. Unplug it from the power
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds
  4. Plug it back in and turn it on.

That’s it. Really. Lots of steps for article that will take, oh, 10 abnormal to do. However resetting the PRAM and SMC are often not only the cure for Mac wonkiness, but also the band-aid to problems with AirPort, batteries, and power.

Now, remember…just back up that Mac so when it  start having a bad day you’re not in an complete panic.

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