How (and When) to Reset the SMC on Your Mac


Your Mac is acting funny, and you’ve tried everything: restarting your computer, resetting the NVRAM, and all the tricks that speed up a slow Mac. You even ran 50+ diagnostics at once to see what’s going on, and yet you find nothing. What’s the next step?

You could try resetting the SMC, or System Management Controller, as a last resort. The SMC manages low level settings, like thermal and battery management. It’s rare, but problems with the SMC can effect performance, and also cause bugs like fans that run constantly even when CPU usage isn’t high. If you’re having problems, and have tried everything else, resetting the SMC is a logical next step.

The exact method for doing this varies depending on your Mac. Any Mac laptop made since 2009 doesn’t have a removable battery, meaning you’ll need a keyboard shortcut to get the job done. Mac desktops, meanwhile, basically just need to be unplugged. We’ll discuss all your options.

What Does the SMC Actually Do?

Some functionality of your Mac works regardless of whether it’s turned on. For example: when you plug in the power supply for your Mac laptop, the lights on the charger work even if your Mac is completely shut down. It’s the SMC that makes this possible.

Here’s a complete list of what the SMC does, straight from the Apple website :

  • Responding to presses of the power button
  • Responding to the display lid opening and closing on Mac notebooks
  • Battery management
  • Thermal management
  • SMS (Sudden Motion Sensor)
  • Ambient light sensing
  • Keyboard backlighting
  • Status indicator light (SIL) management
  • Battery status indicator lights
  • Selecting an external (instead of internal) video source for some iMac displays

If any…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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