When and How to Reset Mac SMC (System Management Controller)

Mar 24, 2010 - 50 Comments

How to Reset SMC on a Mac

Ahhhh my Mac isn’t working! I need to reset the SMC!” You have tried rebooting, you’ve reset the PRAM, you’ve done it all, but your Mac is still behaving strangely. What next? In certain circumstances, resetting your Mac System Management Controller (SMC) can be a solution. This is sometimes necessary to restore normal lower level system functionality to your Mac, particularly for power and hardware related troubles.

We’ll show you exactly how to reset the SMC on any type of Mac (and any version of OS X) and the type of problems that it may resolve.

When & Why Reset SMC on a Mac? Some Common Hardware Reasons

Typically, an SMC reset helps to resolve many power and hardware related issues that are otherwise unresponsive to troubleshooting techniques. Resetting a Mac SMC is particularly effective if you’re having the following types of problems:

* Issues with your Mac cooling fans and fan management: the fans run constantly at high speed, fans run high despite low CPU usage and adequate ventilation, fans not working at all, etc

* Power management and battery problems: Mac isn’t turning on, sleep isn’t working, random shutdowns and reboots, battery isn’t charging, Mac won’t wake from sleep, etc

* Light problems and improper lighting management: battery indicator lights aren’t working, display backlighting isn’t adjusting to ambient light changes, keyboard backlights not working, etc

* Video and external displays not working: display brightness functionality not working properly, target video mode isn’t working properly, external display isn’t working, etc

* General performance and functionality problems: abnormally sluggish behavior despite no CPU or disk usage, external ports not working, airport & bluetooth aren’t showing up, external devices are not being found, etc

Reset SMC on a Mac If those type of issues describe the problem encountered on the Mac and you have concluded that you need to reset your SMC, we will show you how to do it on any MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro with Retina display, iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro. Do notice that the System Management Controller reset instructions are different for MacBook and MacBook Pro’s if the machine has an internal battery versus a detachable battery, additionally the procedure is different for desktop Macs than from Mac laptops.

Reset SMC of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Retina, or MacBook Pro’s with an internal non-removable battery

This is how to reset SMC on most modern Mac laptops, none of which have a removable battery:

  1. Shutdown your MacBook Air / MacBook Pro
  2. Connect the power adapter to the Mac
  3. On the MacBook / Pro’s keyboard, hold down the Shift+Control+Option keys and the Power button at the same time
  4. Release all keys and the power button at the same time – the little light on the MagSafe adapter may change colors briefly to indicate the SMC has reset
  5. Boot your Mac as usual

Here’s the key sequence to hold down:

Reset the SMC of a MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro

Do keep in mind that by resetting the SMC you will lose power specific settings, like the time it takes to sleep a Mac and other customizations to power settings. No big deal, but if you have made many changes to your hardware behavior you will want to adjust stuff like sleep behavior again.

The boot time after resetting a machines SMC can be a bit longer than usual, that is normal.

Reset SMC of an iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini

Resetting SMC is different for non-portable Macs, but it’s still easy enough and the problems it addresses are the same. On any desktop Mac, here is how you reset the System Management Controller:

  1. Shut down your Mac
  2. Disconnect the power cord
  3. Press and hold the Mac’s power button for 5 seconds
  4. Release the button
  5. Reattach the power cables and boot the Mac as usual

Reset the SMC of a MacBook or MacBook Pro’s with detachable batteries

sad mac reset the smc Older MacBook laptops, indicated by having a removable battery, can reset SMC with the following approach:

  1. Shutdown the MacBook/Pro and remove the battery
  2. Disconnect the power adapter, hold the Power Key for 10 seconds
  3. Release the power key and reconnect your battery and power adapter
  4. Turn your Mac on
  5. Let boot as usual

What is SMC anyway?

SMC stands for System Management Controller, a critical low-level component on Mac hardware. Much like the name sounds, the SMC controls and managements system hardware for power consumption, battery charging and battery function, thermal activity and fan activity, LED lighting for keyboards and displays, GPU functionality with video mode changes and video output, sleep and wake, and other core hardware functionality on a Mac.

Now that your Mac SMC has been reset, the hardware issue you were encountering should be resolved, unless there is a greater problem or a different issue that needs to be troubleshooted separately. Sometimes resetting the Macs PRAM can be effective too, though there are times when further action is necessary as well. Do note that only Intel Macs have an SMC controller.

Hopefully that will clear up your problems, if not it might be worth a visit to the Apple Store or a certified repair center.

Did resetting your Macs SMC fix your problem? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Bill Ellis in Mac OS X, Troubleshooting


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  1. […] If all else fails, try this, which has worked for some individuals: * Reset your Mac’s System Management Controller (SMC) : Shutdown the MacBook/Pro, remove the battery, disconnect the power, hold the Power Key for 15 seconds. Replace the battery, reconnect power, and zap PRAM and wait for 2 chimes before letting the keys go. Check out more information on when and how to reset your SMC. […]

  2. […] the error message anyway, the message was cleared and everything went back to normal after the SMC power management controller was reset. Anytime your Mac has power management type issues it’s worth giving the SMC reset a shot, it […]

  3. Robert Anderson says:

    OS Lion is destroying Mac Book Pro batteries. Not only is battery life diminished by about 50% but the extra load on the battery is killing the battery itself. Apple is doing their best to deny replacing the ruined batteries but at some point the pressure from customers will make them face this issue, or litigation will.

  4. Ali says:

    special thanks my macbook pro was in that bad mode and with your guide all fixed … love your site

  5. […] I’ve gotten in the habit of immediately putting my MacBook Air to sleep by shutting the lid, by far the easiest method if you’re on the go. Typically this works without a hitch, but today the Air didn’t sleep when shut. Because the MacBook Air has no moving hard drive or sleep light, I didn’t notice this until I went to use it again about two hours later when I found the machine to be unusually hot to the touch because it never slept as intended. From there on it became a repeatable occurrence, and while I’m not sure of the cause, the solution was just a matter of resetting the SMC: […]

  6. Rona says:

    Thank you so much. I did lots of searching to find the answer to my problem (fan running, no keyboard or monitor functionality – external keyboard didn’t work either – and you laid out the answer so clearly and simply and it WORKS! MacBook 1,1 Intel Core Duo

  7. Natasha says:

    After searching the Internet forever this is the only thing that worked! Thanks so much!

  8. Required says:

    If following these directions does not work, try powering down, unplugging, then doing the shift, control, option, power thing then restart. Worked for me when the other didn’t.

  9. Emma says:

    so doing this won’t effect the computers hard drive or data at all right? just want to double check before i try anything that i won’t loose any of my information or something like that. thanks!

  10. Omar says:

    This website is awesome :)

  11. Andy says:

    Ok so I have a MacBook (white) and I’ve tried doing this. I’ve had the same problem as the wont sleep thing, but for about a week. Yesterday, I was about to go to the Apple store and try to fix it, but I got it working last minute and didn’t go in. Well, I started getting these restart messages every time my computer did start working, and had to keep doing this until the computer just gets stuck at the white loading screen with a grey spinning wheel under an apple sign(grey) also, this computer has the rounded edges and no, does not have the removable battery. Help!!!!!!!!!

  12. Jonathan says:

    worked for me!
    Fixed my wifi. Macbook is connecting all by herself :)


  13. Shally says:

    My mac book pro doesn’t wanna switch on, I have to flush my SMC, please help, it did this once cause of something I plugged in, got it fixed at a hefty price, but they didn’t really change any part so it should be something I can change myself…

  14. JoMO says:

    Thank YOu!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. David says:

    I’m trying to reset the SMC on my MacBookPro 17″ 2010 because, as many others I’m having all sort of problems since when I updated my system to damn Mavericks!

    How long do I have to hold shift+ctr+opt+power buttons down? I tried to just push them, I tried to hold them down for a little while… how do i understand that the SMC has indeed been reseted? A beep? A light? Any sign at all?

  16. Manfred Abel says:

    Thx a lot for this manual.
    I was running FileVault to save my files, but because I had wrong rights filevault terminates my Mac, so that it freezes and nothing more was working. After a hard reset and after trying to reboot from the recovery it only came the internet recovery option. Nearly on the way to the Apple store. Could be that the hard drive is dead. I read your explanation of the smc reset. I tried, because it was my last chance. Done and rebooted into the recovery section with the harddiskrepair. Checked the harddisk…seems okay, but the rights are wrong. Trying now to fix the issue and maybe then I will have the chance to unlock the data. I will see, because decrypted not really much. Maybe I have a chance. But without your help I will be now at the Apple store and bought me a new hard drive or ship it to the care center. Thx from Germany !!! You saved my day. Trying to get help the whole night without any sleep and now it’s high noon

  17. Stefan says:

    Worked perfect. Aluminum macbook 10.6 with new anker battery.

  18. Andres says:

    I’m having problems with my MacBook Pro-2011, with an SSD and running Lion.
    I reset the SMC twice in the last two weeks because the laptop works fine for a little while after doing it. But after using it for a few days, it gets weird again. It starts with the fans running very high when charging the battery and it could just turn off suddenly at any moment.
    Any ideas? Do I have to keep resetting the SMC once a week?
    Great website, by the way. Thanks!

  19. Peter U says:

    Awesome! My MacBook Pro was booting to black screen. Last time it happened it was a PRAM reset boot that seemed to “fix” it. But this time it was this trick. For people not understanding the instructions, you press those buttons, and yes, there is no feedback!-P but you just press power alone afterwards to reboot. This time no black screen. What is this actually doing?!?!?!!!!!

  20. David McKay-Katsikas says:

    What it’s doing is clearing the cache that stores hardware power settings. Sometimes it can corrupt and cause random hardware issues.

  21. Manav says:

    Thanks so much it worked!

  22. Brent says:

    Worked great for me – reset my battery and saved me from buying a new one.

  23. Tomasas says:

    Thanks a lot, it works for my MacBook A1181 100%!!!!! Thank you!

  24. ross says:

    i have a macbook air, recently got a mini display port to connect to my tv via hdmi. ever since i connected it my tv picture is now flashing on and off but sound stays constant. when i disconnect and try and play my ps3 its still flashing. tv was fine before i tried connecting my mac. I’ve gotten it to work twice but then it stops again. when i try reset smc it works for a couple of seconds then flashes again

  25. Larry Feller says:

    my iMac 24″ mid 2009 last October 2013 would not power up just a black screen & 3 beeps that would repeat after a few seconds. I put it in the box until March 2014 then took it to Apple Store where it powered on to my surprise. It worked until May & the same unable to power up happened. Tried off & on for two months but still a black screen with the beeps. I saw your article yesterday morning & tried it as the power cord had not been plugged in I removed it from the back of the iMac & followed your instructions. It powered right up where it left off back in May. Thank you very much for the info. It took the rest of the day to do all the updates through installation of lattest operating system Yosemite. Again thanksπŸ˜ƒ

  26. Fred says:

    I have had problems with my DVD starting and ejecting, lately. This site solved my problem on my iMac with its suggestions on resetting the SMC. The DVD started up and ejected when done.

  27. Jon says:

    Fixed a persistent issue of needing to start in safe mode. I ran disk utility many times without any progress.

    THANKS, awesome advice!

  28. Michaeltran4780 says:

    Thanks a lot! All my problems (fans run constantly at high speed and general performance is slow) were fixed when reset SMC (Macbook Air)

    Awesome advice!

  29. Em says:

    Fixed it! Thanks so much! :)

  30. Selvan says:

    In case if you are using 5ghz, I would check the band. Mac book pro 2014 doesnt support all the 5Ghz bands.

  31. Marty says:

    Sweet! Resetting the SMC worked perfect on my MacBook Pro – Late 2008 (removable battery). Thanks for the article!

  32. Caitlin says:

    This worked perfect!!! Thanks so much. It fixed all my problems!!

  33. Taufiq says:


  34. Allan says:

    My macbook pro 13″ mid 2012 does not power on after smc reset.

  35. Patty says:

    Thank you for helping me out. My fans were running constantly and Bluetooth hardware could not be found. Did as instructed on my iMac and it is magically back to normal. Whew! Thought I was going to have to carry my machine 150 miles to the nearest service center. I am so happy this worked. Thank you.

  36. Nicolas says:

    I did the SMC reset on my Macbook Pro (late 2013) and it worked for me. This morning, I put my mac to sleep and the screen stayed black despite hearing the startup bell.
    I followed the instruction (pressed the 4 keys together for a few second, then released them together, before pressing the Power button on the top right and like magic, the screen was back on.


  37. Slimjohnsine says:

    Please help me , my MACBook PRO boots into a blue or blank screen… I don’t know what to do

  38. Steph says:

    Amazing ! Worked instantly
    Thank you so much πŸ˜€

  39. Kirsty says:

    Tried everything still have a black screen including PRAM reset. Any help much appreciated As travelling.

  40. Mary says:

    This worked! Thank you!

  41. Carter says:

    My Macbook pro 2010 cant even show a black or blue screen, no beep, it seems completely dead. It can only show a green light on the charger and can blink green on the machine if I remove the charger. That is the only life it seems to have. I ve tried to reset the SMC and the PRAM nothing can work. Please help

  42. stanford weier says:

    tried the suggested unplug, push power button for 5 seconds and restart. it didn’t work.

  43. Hal says:

    MacBook Pro 2011 13 inch didn’t work same for pram. If I shine a light in the back I see files but no cursot

  44. amanda bates says:

    Worked perfectly on my macbook pro, thank you so much!!

  45. Mark says:

    Done SMC half a dozen times with and without power cord as well as holding the buttons down for 10 sec, reset Pram, done a restore, till I’m blue in the face. The MacBook air 11 inch (2010) still runs terribly slow. The symptoms certainly seem to point to SMC but doing the reset as mentioned above does not work. Is there any other way to reset it?

  46. jay says:

    my old but goodie IMac 20″ boots to black screen it “works” fine but the display stay black .. only way it comes on if i put it into sleep mode then when i wake it up i see the desktop running fine but the display Only flash on for a brief second and i can’t do nothing. It flash off again (black screen again) i tried resetting the SMC and also the PRAM the black screen remains.? Anybody got a solution?

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