How to reset NVRAM or PRAM on a Mac

You may need to reset NVRAM or PRAM on Mac if your MacBook, Mac Mini, or iMac is having issues, running slow, or randomly crashing.

Reset NVRAM or PRAM on Mac

NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) is a storage location for storing user preferences and settings on the computer, such as time zone, screen resolution, volume, and other information.

STROLLER (Parameter Random-Access Memory) performs much the same functions as NVRAM. PRAM was used in the older Mac versions, NVRAM is used in newer Mac versions.

Both NVRAM and PRAM can retain data even after the computer is turned off. This allows the Mac to start up with settings and information stored in NVRAM or PRAM.

When to reset NVRAM or PRAM on Mac?

Although it is rare for NVRAM to become corrupted on a Mac, the following issues are usually related to corrupted NVRAM.

  1. You have problems with volume control on Mac
  2. Volume keeps resetting on Mac
  3. Mac starts with a question mark
  4. Mac displays an incorrect date or time zone
  5. Screen resolution is constantly changing on Mac

If you have an older Mac with PRAM, the issues listed above, as well as the issues below, are related to corrupted PRAM.

  1. The Mac does not load properly
  2. Mac shows incorrect battery percentage
  3. Drives not showing up on Mac
  4. Problems with Bluetooth or AirPort mode
  5. Problems with the mouse and other external devices
  6. Hardware related issues in general

If you are experiencing any of the issues listed above, there is a chance that the data stored in NVRAM or PRAM has become corrupted.

Luckily, it’s easy to reset NVRAM and PRAM on Mac, which basically restores NVRAM/PRAM settings to factory defaults.

The steps to reset NVRAM on Mac vary depending on whether your Mac is powered by an Intel processor, an Apple M1 processor, and whether your Mac is equipped with an Apple T2 security chip.

1. Reset NVRAM on Mac with Intel processor

Disconnect all external drives from your Mac (except the external keyboard) and follow the steps below to reset NVRAM or PRAM on a Mac with an Intel-based processor.

1. Use the volume up key to increase the volume on your Mac.

2. Click on that apple icon in the top menu bar and select shut down option in the drop-down menu and wait for your Mac to completely shut down.

shut down mac

3. Press the power switch to start the Mac and immediately press and hold possibility + command + P + R Key.

Reset NVRAM key

4. Press and hold the 4 buttons while hearing the first startup sound and release the button key after the second start sound.

2. Reset NVRAM on Mac with T2 Security Chip

Click on Apple logo > About this Mac > system information. On the next screen, click controller in the left pane. In the right pane you can see if your Mac has it Apple T2 chip.

Apple T2 chip on Mac

If your Mac is equipped with an Apple T2 Security Chip, the steps to reset NVRAM are the same as above, except for a slight difference when releasing the keys.

1. Press the power switch to start the Mac and immediately press and hold possibility + Command (Alt) + P + R Key.

Reset NVRAM key

2. Hold down the 4 keys while the Mac boots to the Apple logo and release key after Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.

3. Reset NVRAM on Mac with Apple M1 processor

If your Mac (November 2020 and later) has an Apple M1 processor, you cannot use the Command (Alt) + Option + P + R key combination to reset NVRAM.

According to discussions on Apple’s support forums, the M1 processor is designed to automatically run tests on NVRAM as soon as the computer boots up after shutting down.

This could mean that a Mac with an M1 processor should reset its NVRAM automatically if it encounters errors during the boot process.

Therefore, the only way to fix problems on Mac with Apple M1 processor is to use recovery mode.

Gray screen after NVRAM reset

If you have properly followed the NRAM reset steps above and the Mac shows a gray screen for several minutes, it is most likely due to connected devices interfering with the NVRAM or PRAM reset process.

To fix this problem, disconnect all devices connected to your MacBook (except mouse and external keyboard) and follow the steps to reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac.

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