How To Reset M1 Mac SMC, NVRAM / PRAM? Is it Possible?
You’ve recently purchased a M1 Mac computer and are looking for a way to reset SMC and NVRAM / PRAM, to filter out initial release macOS Big Sur bugs? Unfortunately, unlike Intel-based Macs the new Apple Silicon chip doesn’t come with a manual NVRAM or SMC reset option!
Why Can’t You SMC Reset M1 Mac?
The straightforward reply is because there is no SMC available on Apple’s new M1 Macs!
The M1 Apple Silicon is a similar chip to the ones the company designs for iPhones and iPads. Neither of them support manual SMC or NVRAM resets. Why should the new Macs be different?
Apple has integrated everything in the new chip, including technologies like a neural processor (NPU) and memory in one single package. This is how Apple managed to increase processing power and maximize energy efficiency!
Fact: SMC stands for System Management Controller, NVRAM means (nonvolatile random-access memory) and PRAM (Parameter RAM). The two memory types are reset with the same procedure on Intel-based MacBooks.
M1 Mac Auto NVRAM Reset
According to a reader that has reported this find to us, Apple support has confirmed that NVRAM is available in the M1 Apple Silicon Chip, but the machine is configured to automatically run test on startup and automatically reset the NVRAM if needed. There is no option to trigger it manually!
NVRAM Commands Still Possible
nvram commands are still available and working in the Terminal app. You can read or write key-value store, but the reset at boot key command, available for Intel-based Macs isn’t available.
For example, you can add additional boot arguments. However, there is no manual reset option.
Fact: NVRAM contents are available in System Information, if you go for Software -> Logs -> NVRAM.
Conclusion: You can’t reset the SMC, because the M1 Mac doesn’t have a System Management Controller. You can’t manually reset the NVRAM / PRAM because your Mac does this automatically, if needed, during every startup.
Why are you trying to reset NVRAM or SMC in M1 Mac? What macOS Big Sur bug is causing you problems? Use the comments section and let us know.
Related: common M1 Mac problems are:
– M1 Mac Bluetooth connectivity issues in macOS 11.0.1 Big Sur!
– Universal Clipboard not working in macOS Big Sur!
– M1 Mac restore problems: ‘An Error Occurred Preparing The Update’
– Premature battery aging, maximum capacity going down after only a few days!
– M1 Mac not shutting down properly, getting pink screen and a specific popup after every reboot.
I was told by Apple support today to reset the NVRAM to try to correct a display error – the DisplayPort through Thunderbolt output is crazily bright and there are no brightness settings (it’s a Mac Mini). It’s not the cable or the monitor – the brightness is fine on DP via Thunderbolt on my Windows laptop with the same monitor and cable. And sometimes the machine starts up with the brightness fine, though so far only after using the NVRAM reset shortcut keys at start-up or execution NVRAM -c at the command line before restarting. It’s interesting that not only is there no shortcut to force an NVRAM reset at start-up, but Apple support is actually recommending it. Of course, they also recommended that I just ignore the problem on this brand new machine because the HDMI output is working fine.
Policy Banner is not working in macOS Big Sur. It shows up at the login window as a blank white bow.
Wayne, can you please be more specific. What Policy Banner are you referring to?
I was told by Apple today to reset the SMC of my M1 Mac Mini to address a UPS battery level reporting error. It always says 0%. I’ve tried two different UPSs that work fine on other Mac <10.15. I've tried multiple cables and the USB-A and USB-C ports.
Lin, thanks for sharing. macOS Big Sur 1.1 is out. Please update and let us know if the new release fixes your problem.
M1 Mac SMC reset was most likely a blooper from the Apple technician. Because SMC on M1 Mac can’t be manually reset!
Unsure if this would normally be fixed with these reset options on Intel, but…:
-My TouchBar routinely removes the Play Controls (bars) button in the standard set of icons
-My Magic Mouse 2 frequently disconnects
-My Wi-Fi frequently disconnects (w/ or w/o VPN)
-My cursor has started disappearing
And I thought Big Sur/M1 was supposed to be a super upgrade…
Heath, thanks for your feedback. We’ve reported about most of them:
-My TouchBar routinely removes the Play Controls: https://www.iphonetricks.org/how-to-fix-macos-big-sur-touch-bar-bug/
-My Magic Mouse 2 frequently disconnects: https://www.iphonetricks.org/how-to-fix-m1-mac-bluetooth-issues/
-My Wi-Fi frequently disconnects: Can you provide more details?
-My cursor has started disappearing: Can you detail your cursor problem please?
My M1 macbook air’s keyboard and trackpad keeps freezing after waking up from sleep. I’ve talked with apple support but told me to bring to service center. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions and the distance from apple service is quite far, it will take some time to send and get it back. Did you have any encountered issues like this and what is your solution. Thanks in advance!
Mdz, thanks for sharing this. We haven’t encountered this issue yet. Can you please mention if this happens in macOS Big Sur 11.1? Did it happen ever since you own the device, or it started occurring later on.
Hi Patricia, it just happened after 2 weeks of normal use from the day I’ve bought the unit. I’ve scheduled the service on Saturday, but last Monday, it went back to normal and the issue was gone. Im thinking it did some update / maintenance while on sleep (i’m not sure about this one). I’ve speculated that it did because suddenly it drained battery and left me 20% from 80% while on sleep. After that, it went back to normal. It’s been 2 days now and I’m still observing. Hopefully this issue won’t come back. Thanks!
Mdz, thanks for getting back with the requested clarifications. I’m happy that this issue was only temporary and now everything works as expected. Enjoy your new M1 Mac!
I wanted to reset the SMC because I read that it was a fix for the screensaver bug.
My Mac mini M1 will randomly go into screensaver mode, even though my computer is set to never sleep and never turn on the screensaver, even while I am actively using the computer! The mouse and keyboard are sill active, but they do not wake the machine. I have to physically restart the computer.
This makes my brand new computer unusable for purpose because it’s supposed to be a headless server. It’s impossible to reset the computer remotely when this is happening.
Sara, have you managed to fix this in the meantime?
My new MacBook Air with M1 chip is showing as requiring a battery service after 2 battery cycles! I’ve been told to reset the SMC despite mentioning to Apple support that I didn’t think you could 🤷♀️
You have to get back to them and explain that your M1-Mac can’t be SMC reset and they should provide a better solution!
I have a brand new MacBook Air with Big Sur on it – I just updated to the latest version to see if that would help with anything. I have a dongle to upload data from my blood test machine into diasend and it will not work plugging the USB into the USB-USB-C connector. I also cannot print anything because I get a device not found error even though the printer shows up in Printers&Scanners.
Sorry for the late reply. We’ve been out because of the pandemic for a couple of weeks. Did you manage to fix this in the meantime?
My new MacBook Air with M1 chip has an issue with a keyboard function. I just bought it 4 days ago. The (fn) key which is supposed to change language or “change input source” just stops working all of a sudden. I have to restart or even log out and then it works, but it suddenly stops working again in a few minutes.
The OS is updated to the latest version.
This is strange. I suggest you to contact Apple support. Let us know what they recommend?
I’m having a monitor problem. The Mini thinks the monitor is 1 inch narrower left to right than it is. I assume something is “stuck” because I tried to get this mini to talk to a 30″ monitor and that did NOT work. So, now I have a black band I can’t get rid of.
Thanks for reporting this. Does the latest macOS 11.3.1 update, fix the issue?