I have an M1 Mac Mini that is exhibiting some strange issues that aren't going away after reinstalling macOS. I'd like to reset its NVRAM or whatever the nearest equivalent is for M1 macs, in case something there is causing persistent problems.

Are there equivalent steps to Intel Macs with T2 chips to reset things when the symptoms are not specific?

  • What is one strange issue? I would be happy to update my no answer based on of there are things to address something specific. – bmike Nov 22 '20 at 19:22

There is no SMC or NVRAM reset on the new hardware. Same as on iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS and HomePod hardware.

Yes, you can run a nvram command and read/write to a key-value store, but the reset at boot key command is gone.

I would open a support case for each specific item that’s strange. We now have detailed logs and a very capable recovery infrastructure for debugging boot issues so out with the old, embrace the new is my current motto.

  • Are you sure there's no NVRAM? In the course of using this system I've already used the nvram terminal command to add additional boot arguments per Apple's instructions for doing DriverKit development. – GuyGizmo Nov 19 '20 at 23:55
  • Why would Apple say there is no NVRAM reset publicly @GuyGizmo ? Are you on DTK or shipping hardware? – bmike Nov 20 '20 at 3:23
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    I'm on shipping hardware. You may be correct that M1 macs don't have NVRAM in precisely the same way that an intel mac does, but there are obviously settings that persist between boots, and they can be edited using the nvram terminal command, regardless of whether it's called "NVRAM". So what I'm looking for is the nearest equivalent of resetting NVRAM on an M1 mac -- something that resets these persistent settings to their defaults, to be used in case something has gone wrong. (I'll edit my question to use more general language.) – GuyGizmo Nov 22 '20 at 14:57
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    It was a hammer, now we have scalpels for debugging @GuyGizmo – bmike Nov 28 '20 at 16:31
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    @bmike it takes a skilled professional years of training to use a scalpel, but anyone can use a hammer. – zac Dec 2 '20 at 0:58

Per my conversation with a 3rd tier NVRAM does exist on the chip, but it runs a test on startup and "automatically" resets if needed. There is no way to trigger it manually although.

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    Thanks for the info! Knowing that it happens automatically admittedly makes me uncomfortable. These days I don't think I trust Apple to decide when nvram should be reset. – GuyGizmo Nov 30 '20 at 16:25
  • same, but what we can we do... – Jason Mark Dec 1 '20 at 17:09

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