MacBook Air PRAM & SMC Reset: Reasons to Reset and Ways to Succeed

How, When, and Why to Reset PRAM

SMC and PRAM are those two things on your MacBook Air that can help to solve a variety of issues. To do so, it is enough to reset both of them or just one of them depending on the situation. Usually, a Mac owner starts with PRAM if rebooting does not change anything. Here is what you should know about PRAM.

Parameter random access memory (PRAM) is applied to save particular data that the system can access fast. Apple computers save settings like the preferred startup disk, different video/audio settings, and region settings. If something wrong happens to one of those settings, it is better to reset PRAM this way:

  1. Switch off MacBook Air.
  2. Keep holding the following combination of keys: Command, Option, P, and R.
  3. Switch on the computer.
  4. Push and keep the Command, Option, P, and R buttons. It is important to hurry up in order not to miss the gray screen.
  5. Wait until you hear the chiming sound (boot up noise) for the second time to release the keys.
reset smc and pram

The absence of the second sound identifies the unsuccessful attempt to reset PRAM. In case your MacBook Air does not retain the data saved in PRAM during the shutdown, try replacing the basic logic board battery (a.k.a. Clock Battery). Do not worry – that is just a measure of last resort.

How, When, and Why to Reset SMC

An SMC stands for the System Management Controller when it comes to the world of Apple computers. Just like rebooting your Mac from time to time, resetting this controller may help to solve a variety of different issues. It requires no additional costs or efforts and may take up to several minutes.

How should a MacBook Air owner understand the time has come to try this option? Do not bother about doing this procedure unless rebooting the device and resetting PRAM/NVRAM do not affect the performance. Sometimes, it is important to restore normal lower level system functionality, especially when trying to solve problems associated with power/hardware.

Under such problems, experts usually mean:

  • Power management and battery cases: The computer refuses to switch on; sleep is not working; battery fails to charge, random shutdowns and restarts; etc.
  • Troubles with the fans (fans being too noisy and hot/cool): The Mac fans run at rather high speed; fans crash; fans run high even though CPU is not intensively consumed; etc.
  • Video & external displays stop functioning: Chosen video mode does not operate the way it should; external display refuses to work; it is impossible to control brightness and contrast; etc.
  • Small issues and incorrect lighting control: Display backlighting refuses to adjust to ambient modifications; battery indicator lights do not turn on; etc.
  • Overall performance and troubles with features: External ports do not operate; it is impossible to detect external devices and make them work; unhealthy slow work although CPU/disk is not used actively; etc.

If you can find your current problem among the list of these issues, try resetting SMC once the rest of the recommended methods do not have any effect. To do, take these steps:

  1. Turn off your MacBook Air.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter. Make sure it is connected to the device.
  3. Push Shift, Control, and Option altogether along with the power button.
  4. Release this combination of keys with the power button at once.
  5. Push the power button to switch on your MacBook Air.
  6. Please keep in mind the method might slightly vary for various models of Apple computers. This one works for MacBook Air.