How To Reset iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro SMC (System Management Controller)


Here's how you can reset the Mac system management controller (SMC) and troubleshoot certain issues on your computer.


Before we get started with the guide itself on how to reset the SMC, it should be made clear what it actually is and when you should perform the reset.

What Is SMC

If you have an Intel based Mac, then there's a small SMC (system management controller) chip on the logic board that controls some physical parts on your computer. These things include the cooling fan, LED indicators, power buttons etc. It has other roles too, such as how your hard drive works, what happens when you put your Mac in sleep mode and much more.

When To Reset SMC

You'll know it's time to reset the SMC chip when certain things start to behave strangely on your Mac. For example, the cooling fan might not slow down although there's lack of activity on the CPU, or the trackpad refuses to work all of a sudden. There are countless things that can go wrong and you should go for a reset when all of the basic troubleshooting methods, such as restarting a Mac, fails to do any good.

As outlined by Apple itself in one of its support documents:

SMC support

How To Reset SMC On A Mac

The procedure for resetting the SMC chip depends completely on the type of Mac you own, and we'll walk you through each one.

MacBook (with non-removable battery)

1. Completely power down the Mac.

2. Plug in the power adapter.

3. Now press the following key combinations: Shift-Control-Option and the power button. Make sure you perform this combination on the left hand side of the keyboard.

4. Release all the keys, including the power button.

5. Turn on your Mac as you normally would using the power button.

MacBook (with removable battery)

1. Completely power down your Mac, remove the battery and make sure the power adapter is not connected.

2. Press down the power button for five seconds and let go.

3. Insert the battery back to its place and plug in the power adapter and turn on your MacBook.

iMac, MacPro, Mac mini, Xserve

1. Completely power down your Mac and remove the power cable.

2. Now unplug the power chord and wait fifteen seconds before you plug it back in again.

3. Wait five seconds more before you press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Resetting the SMC chip is easy, but keep in mind: resort for the reset when all basic troubleshooting methods have failed.

You've been warned.