How to confirm your SMC has been reset on a MacBook Pro

Written by simon foden Google
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How to confirm your SMC has been reset on a MacBook Pro
Your Macbook Pro shouldn't be slow after an SMC reset. (Courtesy of Techcrunch)

Macbook Pros that have Intel chips have a system management controller, or “SMC.” This controls a variety of hardware and system functionality, including fan operation, lights, power management and system performance. An SMC reset is often recommended if your Macbook Pro is acting unusually and can’t be fixed by a reboot. However, once you’ve completed an SMC reset, there is no confirmation message. The only way to check if it worked is to troubleshoot the Macbook Pro to see if the previous problems still remain.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Power adapter

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  1. 1

    Start up your Mac and let it boot up normally. If the computer refuses to boot up or indeed, refuses to turn on, the SMC didn’t work. The SMC controls power management and any problems with the power button are typically related to this.

  2. 2

    Listen closely to how the fan behaves. The fan is controlled by the SMC and when the SMC develops a fault, one of the first symptoms is that the fun is running at full tilt, even when the machine is under very little demand. If the fan immediately begins to start whirring at top speed, the SMC reset was unsuccessful. If the fan initially whirs, then settles down, this is normal and may suggest that the SMC worked.

  3. 3

    Monitor your screen brightness. The SMC controls screen brightness. If the screen dims too quickly, or doesn’t dim at all after a period of idleness, it’s probable that the SMC reset didn’t work.

  4. 4

    Monitor your system performance. If application icons in the dock bounce, this is potentially a sign that the Macbook Pro is still experiencing system performance issues and suggests that the SMC reset didn’t work.

  5. 5

    Connect the battery charger and leave the machine to charge for 20 minutes. If the charge doesn’t increase, or increases at an abnormally slow pace, this suggests that power management issues are still at play and that the SMC hasn’t fully worked.

  6. 6

    Attempt normal Macbook Pro usage. If your screen, power management and fan are operating normally, this is a good sign, but not a guarantee that the SMC reset has been fully successful. If you can run apps, launch programmes and generally operate your Macbook Pro at a normal speed, this should suggest that the SMC reset worked. However, if some sluggishness remains and you find apps hanging, Finder not responding quickly and keep seeing the spinning beachball, clearly there are still some system performance issues.

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