Fixing various power issues on MacBook/MacBook Pro

If you find your MacBook or MacBook Pro having various power issues such as:

  • backlighting
  • hard disk spin down
  • sleep or wake issues
  • battery issues
  • trackpad control

the first thing you should try doing (after simply restarting your computer to see if that fixes it) is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is a chip on the logic board which is responsible for power management of the computer. Issues can and do pop up that render the settings in the SMC unusable, resulting in problems with the above mentioned items. Many times, resetting the SMC is all that is necessary to fix the problems. To reset the System Management Controller on the MacBook or MacBook Pro, do the following:

  1. Turn the computer off
  2. Disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the computer’s battery
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, then release it
  4. Reconnect the battery and AC adapter
  5. Press the power button to restart the computer

The process is similar for MacBook Air users, as well as users of older Apple laptops which use the Power Management Unit (PMU) rather than the SMC. You can view this Apple support document for more info.