How to Force Restart a MacBook Air (2018/2019)

Dec 7, 2019 - 2 Comments

How to Force Restart MacBook Air

Wondering how to force restart a new MacBook Air 2019 or 2018 model? As you may have noticed there is no obvious power button like there used to be on old Macs, so the old approach to force restarting a Mac seems like it doesn’t apply to the newer MacBook Air 2019 and 2018 models.

Not to worry though, if you have a frozen MacBook Air and need to hard restart the machine you will find that force rebooting the new models of MacBook Air is really quite simple.

How to Force Restart MacBook Air (2019, 2018)

  1. Press and hold down the Touch ID button / power button until the MacBook Air screen turns black
  2. How to force restart new MacBook Air with Touch ID power button

  3. Wait a few seconds, then press and hold down the Touch ID / power button on the MacBook Air again until you see the  Apple logo on screen
  4. How to force restart new MacBook Air with Touch ID power button

When you see the Apple logo on the screen you can let go of the Power button again, as this indicates the computer is booting up.

A restarting MacBook Air

That’s all there is to it. Force restarting the new model MacBook Air is really quite simple.

The MacBook Air will boot up as usual.

Forcing a reboot of the Mac is really something you should only do if the MacBook Air is frozen, and not as a regular method of shutting down or restarting a Mac.

A similar approach can be used to force reboot other frozen Macs too, particularly on any machine where the old Control + Command + Power button keyboard shortcut doesn’t initiate a forced reboot.

Sometimes you’ll hear forced rebooting and forced restarting referred to as a “hard reboot” or “hard restart” which are synonymous, and sometimes you’ll erroneously hear it referred to as “hard reset” but it should be clear this is not aiming to reset anything, it just forcibly turns the MacBook Air off and back on again to restart it.

You really shouldn’t need to do this often (if ever at all), only when something is totally frozen and unresponsive on the MacBook Air.

If you’re initiating forced restarts for troubleshooting purposes, you may also want to know how to reset SMC on MacBook Air with Touch ID power buttons which is different from prior models, though resetting PRAM remains the same.

Presumably this will carry forward for as long as the Touch ID button is also the Power button on MacBook Air models, so until that changes it’s reasonable to assume that MacBook Air from 2020 onward will have the same force restarting mechanism.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Martin says:

    Thanks for the informatiob

  2. Hope Daggett says:

    I tried this method and it didn’t work for me. I have a 2019 rose gold MacBook Air with Touch ID. I noticed the sound wasn’t working so I decided to update the computer then halfway through the update it had a black screen with a prohibitory symbol. It keeps flashing between that and the Apple logo. It won’t do anything. Is there another way to hard reset it?

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