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Information about Macs

Having issues with how your Apple computer is behaving? How do you know you need to reset SMC or PRAM?

There a few telltale signs and these vary slightly between the SMC and PRAM. The reset process is easier than it sounds.

SMC (System Management Controller)

If you experience any of the following:

  • Your computer's fan is running too loud/often even with low memory usage.
  • Computer will not startup.
  • The battery drains at an abnormally fast rate.
  • Your computer's performance is sluggish.
  • Your laptop's trackpad won't function correctly.
  • You are unable to connect to any wireless networks.
  • Your computer shuts down at a slow rate.

Most of these symptoms are obvious because they directly affect your experience when using the computer.

Performing a SMC Reset

For MacBooks, the process is as follows:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. On the left side of the keyboard, press and hold the Shift, Control, and Option keys while simultaneously holding the power button.
  3. After 10 seconds, release all of the keys.
  4. Turn on your MacBook.

For Desktops, follow these instructions:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Unplug the power cord.
  3. Plug the cord back in after 15 seconds have passed.
  4. Wait at least 5 seconds and then turn on your Mac.

If these steps fail to resolve the issue, repeat them one more time.

PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory)

While similar to SMC issues, PRAM problems have a separate cause. They include:

  • Erratic volume behavior.
  • Issues with keyboard response.
  • Wrong time zone/clock information.
  • Mouse scrolling/clicking issues.
  • Display and resolution settings change on their own or don't function properly.

If any of these occur, you can likely resolve them by:

Performing a PRAM Reset

The process for resetting the PRAM is the same across all devices. To start:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Immediately after, press Command, Option, P, and R all at the same time on the keyboard.
  4. Hold these keys down until you hear the Mac's startup sound for a second time (the first was after the initial press of the power button).
  5. Release all of the keys.

As previously mentioned, repeating the steps may work if your issue isn't resolved.


Big Sur Hints

New Devices - ARM (Apple Silicon) processors

This processor consumes less power and generates less heat. This is ideal for laptops. This may take some time to be implemented in Desktops.

They are going to go away from Windows Boot Camp. KVM and Xen Open Source will support virtualization.

The Verge: Rosetta 2 is Apple’s key to making the ARM transition less painful

Big Sur 10.16

They already removed the 32-bit software which was the first step towards this.

If you have had problems finding software to use on Catalina it will carry over to 10.16.

They are also expected to not support the third-party kernel extensions in 10.16.  Upgrading will cause some issues for existing Intel Macs.

Python has already been reported to run well on ARM, but there are still a lot of third-party compilers that don’t support ARM at this time.

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