How to Reset PRAM on a Mac Tutorial and Steps
So here we discuss the How to Reset PRAM on a Mac, and after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about How to Reset PRAM on a Mac.
Resetting your PRAM (or NVRAM) is a common troubleshooting technique when a Mac is misbehaving. We cover how to reset PRAM on any Mac, as well as some additional information about PRAM and what it is to help you better understand when and why to reset it.
Reset the PRAM
To reset the PRAM / NVRAM, do the following:
- Restart a Mac and then immediately hold down the Command + Option + P + R keys
You will then hear the Mac restart sound again, indicating that the Mac’s PRAM or NVRAM has been successfully reset.
You have to press the key combination before the gray screen appears otherwise it will not work, you may have to try it once or twice until you have the correct timing during the reboot, but once it works, you can use the Mac system like usually start up.
This works to reset the PRAM and NVRAM on any Mac hardware.
How do you know if the PRAM has been reset?
The PRAM is only reset when you hear the Mac restart sound a total of two times – once for the first reboot and again when the PRAM is reset (technically, you can hold down the key combination and restart the Mac over and over, but there is no practical reason to do so). You can then start up your Mac up as usual.
Does resetting PRAM work on all Macs?
Yes, the combination of commands to rest PRAM has been the same for ages and it works on all Macs, be it a brand new MacBook Pro, Retina iMac, MacBook Air, Intel or PPC architecture, a MacBook, iMac whether a Mac Mini, or virtually any other Mac that has been created, the key command is the same and the effect is the same. The key sequence is the same, as is the process of directly pressing the sequence at startup.
What is PRAM? What is NVRAM?
PRAM stands for Parameter RAM, and it contains various information about your Mac so that it functions according to your specifications.
NVRAM stands for Non Volatile Random Access Memory, and it serves the same purpose as PRAM in that it stores information on a memory chip that relates to different features.
In no particular order, here are some things stored in PRAM / NVRAM
- Boot disk
- Disk caches
- RAM disks
- Virtual memory (commonly referred to as swap)
- 32-bit addressing
- Video and display information, including monitor depth, refresh rate, screen resolution and number of colors
- Volume for both system start-up and speaker
- Time zone information
- Mouse and trackpad scaling and speed information (commonly referred to as mouse acceleration)
- Keyboard repeat speed
- Kernel Panic Information
- DVD region settings
- Standard system fonts
When you reset the PRAM / NVRAM, this information will be erased from the Mac. Because of the information stored in the PRAM, if you reset the PRAM, you often need to adjust things like your mouse tracking speed, time zone (if not set on an online server), and any non-native resolution it has run.
NVRAM and PRAM are basically the same and serve the same purpose, many users still refer to NVRAM as PRAM and vice versa since their function is the same and resetting the memory is the same it doesn’t matter that much.
When do you want to reset PRAM / NVRAM?
In general, you only reset PRAM when troubleshooting issues directly related to the RAM parameter content listed above, beyond troubleshooting or adjusting hardware changes, there isn’t much other use for doing this. This can include troubleshooting anything from unusual issues that occur at system startup, to particular behavior and performance, to incorrect screen resolutions, among others.
Keep in mind that resetting PRAM / NVRAM is different from resetting SMC, but both can be effective tools in solving a wide variety of potential Mac troubleshooting issues.
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How to Reset PRAM on a Mac: FAQ
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