SMC Reset

Over the years I have covered a multitude of ways to troubleshoot your Mac. Apple has a few builtin things a user can do to troubleshoot their Macs. One of those is SMC (System Management Controller) Reset. SMC Reset is not a “cure all”. It fixes certain things.

SMC Reset

Generally, SMC Reset deals with power issues. There are all kinds of symptoms on your Mac that could be related to the computers power system. Here is a list from Apple:

• Your computer’s fans run at high speed, even though it isn’t under heavy usage and is properly ventilated.

• The keyboard backlight behaves incorrectly.

• The status indicator light (SIL), if present, behaves incorrectly.

• Battery indicator lights, if present, behave incorrectly on Mac notebooks with a non-removable battery.

• The display backlight doesn’t respond correctly to ambient light changes.

• Your Mac doesn’t respond when you press the power button.

• Your Mac notebook doesn’t respond properly when you close or open the lid.

• Your Mac sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.

• The battery doesn’t charge properly.

• The MagSafe power adapter LED, if present, doesn’t indicate the correct activity.

• Your Mac performs unusually slowly, even though its CPU isn’t under an abnormally heavy load.

• A computer that supports target display mode doesn’t switch into or out of target display mode as expected, or it switches into or out of target display mode at unexpected times.

• The illumination around the I/O ports on a Mac Pro (Late 2013) doesn’t turn on when you move the computer.

As you can see, most of this stuff concerns power related problems. If you are experiencing issues similar to the ones listed above, you probably need to reset the SMC on your Mac.

SMC Reset Fixes

So, how do you implement SMC Reset. It is performed differently on different types of Mac computers. Here is how you do SMC Reset on a Desktop Mac:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Unplug the power cord.
  3. Wait 15 seconds.
  4. Plug the power cord back in.
  5. Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

I have done that a few times with my iMac, it does help power problems for sure. Now, for Mac laptops there are two different procedures, depending on if the battery is removable or not. If the battery is nonremovable:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Using the built-in keyboard, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds.
  3. If you have a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, the Touch ID button is also the power button.
  4. Release all keys.
  5. Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

If the battery is removable:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Remove the battery. (Learn about removing the battery in MacBook and MacBook Pro computers.)
  3. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  4. Press the power button to turn on your Mac.

These are the basics of SMC on the Mac. Please remember, you should not use SMC Reset for just any old computer problem. It is geared for power related problems.


There are third party apps for troubleshooting your Mac. However, Apple has always had a few things that are built into Mac hardware.