Three ways to reset your MacBook Pro [tutorial]

There are three resets that you can do on your MacBook Pro: resetting the NVRAM, resetting the battery or SMC, and factory reset. Each of them can be used to fix a particular problem. In this troubleshooting article, we’ll show you how to do these resets as well as when you can apply them.

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Reset MacBook Pro NVRAM

If ¬†your MacBook Pro is acting up and showing unexplained minor glitches such as bad speaker sound, has a flickering screen, randomly restarting, or having slow performance issues, one of the troubleshooting steps that you must do is to reset the NVRAM (or PRAM). NVRAM stands for Non-Volatile Random Access Memory. This type of specialized memory holds basic parameters for the system in order to produce consistent behavior all the time. NVRAM keeps information such your MacBook’s screen resolution, date and time, speaker volume, startup disk, and other data that the operating system, needs to efficiently run the machine.

Over time, the NVRAM may accumulate inaccurate information or becomes corrupted. If this happens, the issues mentioned above may occur. This may be the reason why your machine’s volume button may become stuck or grey, or the screen resolution becoming messed up.

In order to fix such problems, you need to reset the NVRAM. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking on it. For those new to MacOS, this icon should be at the top left corner of the screen.
  2. In the drop-down menu, click Shut Down.
  3. Click Shut Down button when asked to confirm.
  4. Turn your MacBook Pro back on.
  5. Then, begin resetting the NVRAM by pressing and holding Command + Option + P + R buttons. Make sure to keep holding them for up to 15 seconds. Press the buttons immediately after pressing the Power button to turn the device back on. If the Apple logo appears before you press the keys, you’ll have to shut down and try again.
  6. Your Mac may reboot while you’re still holding the buttons and that’s perfectly normal. Continue holding the reset keys until your Mac is done.
  7. Afterwards, you may have to reset some settings again such as your preferred audio output and others.
  8. Check if the problem is still there.

Reset the Battery or System Management Controller (SMC)

Another important part of you Mac’s hardware that you can reset is the System Management Controller or SMC. The SMC is a circuit that stores information about your machine’s power, temperature, fan information, keyboard lights, status lights, etc. The symptoms that you’ll experience if there’s a problem with the SMC includes:

  • excessive fan noise
  • fans run at erratic speed
  • battery not charging properly or at all
  • status lights are problematic
  • power button not responding
  • computer randomly restarts or turns off unexpectedly
  • apps load very slowly
  • Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS) function not working properly

There’s a whole list of possible symptoms that Apple has listed to diagnose an SMC issue in this page.

Depending on whether your MacBook has a removable or non-removable battery pack, the steps may vary slightly in resetting the SMC.

If your MacBook has non-removable battery, follow these steps to reset the SMC:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking on it. For those new to MacOS, this icon should be at the top left corner of the screen.
  2. In the drop-down menu, click Shut Down.
  3. After your Mac shuts down, press Shift + Control + Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds. NOTE: If your MacBook Pro has a Touch ID, the Touch ID button should serve as the Power button.
  4. Then, let go of all buttons, then press the Power button again to turn the machine back on.

If your MacBook has removable battery, follow these steps to reset the SMC:

  1. Turn off your MacBook Pro.
  2. Remove the battery. If you don’t know how to do it, use Google to search for the steps.
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Reinstall the battery.
  5. Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

MacBook Pro Factory reset

Restoring your MacBook Pro to its factory version is the more drastic solution that you can do. This procedure will wipe all personal data from your machine so be sure to back them up before you proceed.

Doing a factory reset is also highly recommended if you’re planning on selling your machine or if you suspect that it’s infected by virus or malware.

Obviously, it’s also a necessary troubleshooting step if all the basic steps like restarting, running Disk Utility or performing Safe Boot won’t work.

If you’re ready to perform this solution, follow these steps below:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking on it. For those new to MacOS, this icon should be at the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Click Restart at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
  3. Click Restart button when asked to confirm the action.
  4. Press and hold Command + R buttons at the same time. You should do this immediately after clicking on Restart button.
  5. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo. Your MacBook will begin booting into the Recovery window. This process can take a few minutes to complete.
  6. Select Disk Utility.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Select the hard drive that you want to wipe. If you have multiple connected hard drives, make sure that you pick the correct one.
  9. Click the Erase tab. It’s at the top of the Disk Utility window. A new window will open.
  10. Click the Format drop-down box and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  11. Click Erase at the bottom.
  12. Wait for your machine to wipe the hard drive.
  13. Click Done when prompted.
  14. Click Disk Utility tab at the top, then select Quit Disk Utility.
  15. Afterwards, select Reinstall MacOS in the Recovery Window.
  16. Make sure that you Mac is connected to the internet.
  17. Then, click Continue.
  18. Follow on-screen instructions to re-install the operating system.


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