Apple changes SMC reset on T2 Macs, and updates NVRAM reset info

Apple has recently updated its support information on two important topics, resetting the SMC and the NVRAM.

Resetting the NVRAM – all Mac models

Apple has recently pointed out that, if your Mac has a firmware password set, you must turn that off before attempting to reset the NVRAM.

To do that, restart in Recovery mode, and in the Utilities menu, select either the Firmware Password Utility or Startup Security Utility. In that, turn the firmware password off, and shut your Mac down. You can then start it up with the Command, Option, P and R keys held ready to reset the NVRAM.

If you don’t turn a firmware password off and then try to reset the NVRAM, that reset will fail, and your Mac will probably enter Recovery mode instead. At least when there you can turn the password off, I suppose.

Resetting the SMC – Macs with T2 chips

Apple had previously detailed standard procedures for resetting the SMC of Macs with T2 chips, currently iMac Pro and MacBook Pro 2018 models. In case you have already forgotten, these are:

  • shut the Mac down.
  • once shut down, press and hold its Power button for 10 seconds.
  • after releasing the Power button, wait a few seconds, then press the Power button to start the Mac up.

(Apple has changed the period of time for which to hold the Power button from 8 to 10 seconds.)

It is now becoming clear that this doesn’t always work. In the event that that procedure fails to reset the SMC, Apple now recommends one of two procedures to be used as fallbacks.

For an iMac Pro:

  • Shut your Mac down.
  • Disconnect its mains power lead for 15 seconds.
  • Reconnect its mains power lead, and wait for 5 seconds.
  • Press the Power button to start it up.

For a MacBook Pro 2018:

  • Shut your Mac down.
  • Once it is shut down, press and hold the right Shift key, the left Option key, and the left Control key for 7 seconds. Then keep holding those keys while you also press and hold the Power button for another 7 seconds.
  • Release those keys and the Power button, and wait a few seconds before pressing the Power button to start it up again.

I have updated my article on resetting SMC and NVRAM to reflect these changes.

Apple takes pride in its superlative design. It is a great pity – and a pain for users – that this doesn’t now extend to the design of routine maintenance procedures. It is absurd there are now six quite different procedures for resetting the SMC, some involving keyboard gymnastics which many Mac users will at least find difficult.

It is also unacceptable that Apple has no means of alerting its customers to such significant changes in its documentation. It used to provide lists of recently added and updated support notes, but discontinued this practice some years ago. It should be reinstituted as a matter of urgency.