Inspired by this question I started looking for apps that allow to read the data saved in my Mac’s Parameter RAM. Aside from a very antique (pre OS X) application for Classic, I could not find any. Is there any way to access the info stored in the PRAM on current Macs?

1 Answer 1


To clarify, for PowerPC based Macs, this memory was called PRAM, but for Intel based Macs, the proper name is NVRAM.

To show the contents of the NVRAM or even manipulate them, you can use the nvram shell commando in Terminal. For info on usage, execute man nvram.

If you just want to display the entire contents of the NVRAM, you can execute it with th -p parameter:

nvram -p

  • Very helpful comment, thank you. Do you think it’s a good idea to reflect your correction in the question title as well? If so, please be my guest.
    – myhd
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 9:18
  • @myhd, I'm not sure, I'll leave that up to you. There are no wrong questions though :)
    – Gerry
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 9:21
  • nvram is also the name of the facility on PPC OS X as well.
    – CyberSkull
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 13:22
  • Thanks! Now I found out why a totally wiped Mac still had a locale other then English in the install routine. NVRAM contains a variable with the key prev-lang:kbd and the value LL:NN, where LL is the language code and NN a numerical keyboard layout id. Was de:92 in my case.
    – porg
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 21:07

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