How to Reset SMC on MacBook Air & MacBook Pro

When it comes to working and juggling multiple tasks, you need a powerful machine to sustain anything that is thrown at it. Users mostly have to go through two huge options – Apple’s MacBooks or Microsoft’s Windows. While with Apple you just MacBook experience with its proprietary macOS, there are a plethora of options if you lean towards Windows, such as Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, HP, etc. Choosing one of them comes down to personal preference. Maybe you own quite a few Apple products so you might get accustomed to the “eco-system” or a simple Windows experience might just be enough for you.

No matter which operating system you choose, you are bound to face some issues at some point in time, even if the machine has some high-end specifications. Similarly, macOS is far from perfect when it comes to the user experience. There are too many restrictions and issues that people grapple with. Problems like missing drives, screen adjustment, battery calibration, fans speeding up quickly, so on and so forth. A simple restart won’t fix all these issues at once. So, to tackle them, the safest option is to do a System Management Controller or widely known as SMC, reset.

Keep in mind that SMC must be performed on MacBooks which are Intel-based. It controls the core functions of the MacBook which is incorporated into Mac’s motherboard. The SMC stores and deals with a lot of technical things such as battery management, thermal management, Sudden Motion Sensor, managing the power button, etc. So if you are facing such intermittent complications, dive into this tutorial to know how to reset SMC on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Ensure that you don’t miss any single step or else it could do more harm than any good.

Reset SMC on MacBook

How to Reset SMC on MacBook Air & MacBook Pro

What comes under System Management Controller

The SMC, as mentioned earlier, controls the core functions of a MacBook and unlike PRAM, it is programmed to tackle hardware issues. The following is a list of the components that SMC could tweak or alter:

  • The power button, sleep patterns.
  • Keyboard backlighting.
  • Sleep mode functions.
  • Status indicator lights.
  • Detecting ambient lighting conditions and countering with accurate lighting levels.
  • Built-in display backlighting.
  • Track-pad functions.
  • Opening or closing of the lid.
  • Thermal management.
  • Hard drives.
  • Battery calibration, performance, displaying estimated battery life.
  • Sudden Motion Sensor.
  • External or internal video sources.
  • CPU utilization.

When should you reset the SMC

SMC isn’t just a simple ‘one-click solve it all’ option. Only opt for this method if your MacBook is grappling with the following issues:

  • The USB ports don’t work.
  • Bluetooth doesn’t work.
  • Wi-Fi hardware missing.
  • Fans run too rapidly.
  • The display backlight doesn’t respond to ambient light-level changes.
  • The battery takes too long to charge or doesn’t charge.
  • Doesn’t wake up or go to sleep.
  • Target Display Mode fails to function.
  • Power button doesn’t respond at all.
  • Status indicator not functioning.
  • No response to the opening or closing of the laptop’s lid.
  • Bouncing Dock icons issues.
  • Entering sleep mode while actively working.
  • Mac Pro (2013) – Port illumination doesn’t turn on or off.
  • Slow performance (even if Activity Monitor gives little CPU usage).

Reset the SMC

The methods depend on which type of MacBook you are using – One with a removable battery or non-removable battery. We will cover both the topics below:

For MacBooks with non-removable batteries:

Step 1: Go to the Apple Menu and select Shut Down. If your MacBook doesn’t shut down, press and hold the power button until it shuts down. It might take somewhere around 10 seconds.

Step 2: On the keyboard, press and hold the left Shift, Control, and Option keys simultaneously. Press the power button for at least 10 seconds. Now release all the keys at the same time.

Step 3: Press the Power button to start your MacBook.

Note: The keyboard shortcuts won’t work for external keyboards. Also, if you have a MacBook with Touch ID, it doubles as the power button.

For MacBooks with removable batteries:

Step 1: Shut down your MacBook.

Step 2: Gently remove the battery.

Step 3: Press and hold the power button for five seconds at least. Now release the power button.

Step 4: Reinstate the battery.

Step 5: Now start your MacBook.

For Notebooks With the Apple T2 Chip:

If you own a MacBook Pro from 2018 with the Apple T2 chip, use this method –

Step 1: Shut down your MacBook.

Step 2: Press and hold the right Shift key, the left Option key, and the left Control key for 7 seconds. Continue holding the said keys pressing the power button simultaneously for another 7 seconds.

Step 3: Now release all the keys together.

Step 4: Start your MacBook by pressing the power button.

Conclusion

Following the steps which are outlined above should solve the issues you are facing on your MacBook Pro and/or MacBook Air. The SMC is programmed to handle only a few issues but it does its job quite well. Doing so, your system will be back to normal. Another option is to perform NVRAM/PRAM that solves problems which are software-related such as display resolution, keyboard & volume errors, etc. But if both of these methods don’t fix your problems, you could run the Apple Hardware Test to determine the root cause of the issue.

To run the Apple Hardware Test, press the MacBook’s power button and then immediately hold down the D key or option+D keys. Hold down the key until you see Mac’s gray background change to Apple Diagnostics. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi. A ‘Checking Your Mac’ message will appear on your screen with a progress bar. The process usually takes 3-5 minutes to fully diagnose the MacBook. Once it’s completed, you will get a brief description of the errors discovered in the diagnosis accompanied by an error code. Search the error code and you’ll know what’s been annoying your MacBook.

If the complications you face couldn’t be handled by the aforementioned options, you should submit your MacBook to a service center. Keep in mind that the above methods of resetting the SMC are applicable to T2 equipped portable Macs, like MacBook Air and MacBook Pro from 2018 onward. It won’t work with any other Mac or older Mac model.


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