Troubleshoot your Mac by resetting the SMC — 2022

When the Mac presents a problem in its fans or in its ignition, we always think that a reinstallation of the operating system must be carried out. But this is not always the case since with a simple reset of the SMC chip it will surely be totally solved. It is quite likely that you have never talked about this type of chip but in this article we will tell you in detail all the functions it has as well as how to reset it.

What is the SMC of a Mac

SMC is the acronym for System Management Controller which in Spanish means System Management Controller . In short, we are talking about a chip that can be found on the motherboard of all Macs that include an Intel brand processor. As its name suggests, it has the necessary functions to be able to control all the processes that are interconnected between various internal components. That is, all those low-level processes are the ones that are going to be under the control of the SMC and they are not just limited to the control you can have through the processor or simply through the operating system.

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Its main functions include, for example, battery management, temperature management, ambient light detection, keyboard backlighting or the response to opening and closing a screen, among many other functions. That is why this is a vital component in managing all the resources a Mac has and although it may seem insignificant, it is not possible to have a correct operation of this chip in the event that this component does not work correctly. Specifically on the Apple website they detail the following functions.

  • Power, including the start button.
  • Battery and charging.
  • Fans and thermal management.
  • Indicators or sensors for example status lights.
  • Behavior when opening and closing the lid of a laptop.

Typical problems that this function solves

As we have mentioned, there are many functions that the SMC itself encompasses when it comes to coordinating different components and various functions. That is why it is vital to reset it as soon as you can find some common problems that may be related to this simple chip. On the website itself, all the problems that can occur when this chip enters a loop are indicated in detail and surely some of these problems are familiar to you. That is why when you have any of the problems listed below, it is necessary reset the SMC as soon as possible avoiding having to restore the operating system which is undoubtedly something totally radical when a problem arises. The most common situations are the following:

  • The fans speed up quickly for no reason.
  • The keyboard backlight may not work properly by not adapting to changes in ambient light.
  • The computer does not turn on when the power button is pressed or unexpected shutdowns occur without any explanation.
  • The computer runs slowly even though they do not consume much CPU resources.
  • The battery does not recharge properly or discharges rapidly.
  • The temperature or battery sensors are not working perfectly.

Resetting the SMC

When you have already accepted that the SMC reset must be performed due to the problems that you have in the computer, you must move on to the steps to follow. In this case, several distinctions must be made between a MacBook and an iMac, as well as the type of security chip that is included and the type of processor. Below you can see all the steps you must follow taking these considerations into account.

On a MacBook with a removable battery and a T1 chip

When talking about MacBook with removable battery, we have to go to models that are really old. Specifically, we are going to the models of MacBook Pro and MacBook that were released to the market in early 2009 or earlier as well as the 13-inch MacBook from mid 2009. If you have one of these models and you need to reset the SMC you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Pull out the battery carefully.
  3. Hold down the power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Reinstall the battery in its correct place.
  5. Press the power button and go back to using the Mac normally now with the SMC reset.

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On MacBooks with non-removable batteries and T1 chip

If you have a much newer MacBook with a T1 chip, the process is different. Specifically, we are talking about the MacBook Pro models that were introduced in mid-2009 to 2017, the MacBook Air released in 2017 or earlier, as well as the MacBook. Once you have taken this consideration into account, the steps to reset the SMC should be followed as follows:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. On the built-in keyboard, hold down the Left Shift, Left Control, and Left Option keys.
  3. In addition to these three keys, you must fourthly press the power button.
  4. Keep all four keys pressed for 10 seconds.
  5. Release all keys and turn your Mac back on.

SMC Mac

On a MacBook with a T2 chip

In the event that your MacBook has a T2 chip, there are no differences in the type of battery since they are all integrated into the body of the device without the possibility of removing them. In this case, the steps that should be followed are the following at first:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds and release it.
  3. Wait a few seconds and turn it back on.

For a few minutes it is necessary that you test at all times if you have finished solving this problem. In the event that this is not the case, you should choose to follow the following steps:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. On the keyboard, hold down the Left Control, Left Option, and Right Shift keys.
  3. Keep these keys pressed for 7 seconds and then simultaneously press the power button.
  4. Keep all four keys pressed for 7 more seconds.
  5. Release them, and after a few seconds, turn your Mac back on.

SMC Mac

On an iMac with a T1 and T2 chip

In the case of iMacs, no distinction is made between the type of security chip that is integrated. In both cases it is done in the same way and without having to press numerous keys at the same time. since iMacs do not have any keyboard integrated into the body, unlike MacBooks, which can be combined with keys to have mechanical access to the device's components. To reset the SMC on an iMac, the following steps must be followed.

  1. Shut down your Mac and unplug the power cable.
  2. Wait 15 seconds and plug the power cord back in.
  3. Wait 5 seconds and press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Can it be reset on a Mac with an 'M' class chip?

As we have previously discussed, all these steps that have been discussed are for those Macs that have an Intel processor. Starting in 2020, Apple began to withdraw this type of processor, opting for proprietary chips from the 'M' range. But this was not the only difference with respect to Intel processors since the absence of an SMC chip in these devices was also highlighted. This is because all the functions that we have previously mentioned are integrated into the same Apple chip without the need for an external component such as the SMC. This is something that also happens in the iPhone or iPad itself, which integrate proprietary processors.

This does not mean that different modifications cannot be made, since you can always use a command in Terminal called 'pmset' to change different configurations. But the only thing that cannot be done is to reboot the controller in any way. This means that when you have any of the problems that have been mentioned above, you cannot restart as in Intel, causing you to have to reset the system or restore more specifically the firmware .