What Is PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) And What Does It Do- Best In 2021

What Is PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory)

What is PRAM (parameter random access memory) and what purpose does it serve in your computer? Get the answers in this guide.

Did you recently make the switch to Mac after learning its different advantages over the PC?

Inside your stylish and powerful device are different components that enable your Mac to do the most intricate functions. Likewise, it comes with vital parts that deal with the more basic yet important functions.

One of these key components that make your Mac experience smooth and efficient is the Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM).

Learn more about the parameter RAM through our quick guide below.

What is PRAM and What Does It Do?

What is PRAM? How exactly does it work inside your Mac computer? PRAM is a type of memory that keeps the system settings of your Mac.

It’s in charge of storing your time zone settings, the speaker volume, and choice of the startup volume. It keeps your display settings among other small settings. It includes the colour depth and screen resolution of your computer.

The PRAM also stores information about the fonts and printers you use. It also keeps details about mouse speed and sensitivity, double-click speed, and cursor blinking speed.

Interestingly, not all Mac computers have the same PRAM. Nevertheless, their purpose and functions remain the same across all Mac PRAMs.

Also, the most recent Mac models no longer use PRAM. Instead, they have the Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM). The NVRAM functions the same way as the PRAM.

However, the major difference is the way it keeps information. Unlike the PRAM, the NVRAM won’t store the same amount. The latter only stores the basic ones, namely, the screen resolution, the time zone, the speaker volume, and your selected startup disk.


Most people think about the difference between a PRAM and a RAM. Aside from the additional letter, an internal battery powers the former. It means it won’t lose your information whenever you turn off your computer.

On the flip side, RAM doesn’t use an internal battery. It doesn’t need one since it won’t store data that long. As soon as you shut down your Mac, data inside the RAM disappears.

Common PRAM Issues

Some of the biggest reasons people switch from PC to Mac is the latter’s ease of use and simplicity of design. Another is they have fewer problems compared to PCs. However, Mac computers are not impervious to technical issues.

A corrupted PRAM can cause different kinds of problems and affect a smooth user experience. For starters, a PRAM problem can result in a malfunctioning keyboard. Your keyboard may become unresponsive.

Sometimes, it displays incorrect characters. If you’re using older Mac models and encounter keyboard issues, the culprit may be a corrupted PRAM.

Another common issue involves volume control. Sometimes, it will not work properly whenever you increase or decrease the volume. You may notice the volume going two notches up or down from your intended level.

Also, the volume level may change every time you restart your Mac. Lastly, your Mac may display the wrong date or time. You can resolve them through to the System Preferences window.

However, if your Mac continues to forget the changes after every shutdown or restart, the PRAM is the root of the problem.

The Unexpected Shutdown

This is one of the most serious issues the PRAM can cause. Generally, Mac users shouldn’t experience sudden shutdowns of their computers. The same thing goes for sudden crashes.

In case you notice these happening too often, your PRAM is the likely reason. Thankfully, you can resolve all these issues with a simple PRAM reset or “zap.” We’ll discuss how to do it in the next section.

Resetting the PRAM

To reset PRAM Mac, press and hold the Command, Option, P, and R keys. Do this the moment you turn on your computer. Continue holding the keys until you hear a second startup chime.

The second chime means the PRAM reset is complete. You can then release the keys. Let the startup run its course and see whether it resolves the problem.

If you’re using a MacBook or MacBook Pro with a removable battery, shut down your computer. Disconnect the MagSafe plug from your laptop and remove the battery.

From there, press and hold the Power button for about 5 seconds before releasing it. Replace the battery in its place and reconnect the MagSafe cord. Hit the Power button to turn your MacBook on and complete the PRAM reset.

For MacBooks and MacBook Airs with non-removable batteries, turn off your laptop and keep the power adapter in the electrical socket.

Press the control, shift, option keys together with the power button at the same time. Hit the power button again to turn on your MacBook and complete the PRAM zap.

Keep in mind that you may need to set your time, date, volume, and display settings after the reset. Do this through the System Preferences section.

Some of your firmware updates may reset. If so, adjust the settings accordingly after installing the firmware updates.

When to Perform a PRAM Reset

Though performing a PRAM reset can resolve various issues, do some troubleshooting first. Check your running apps and attempt a force-quit. Press Command-Option-Esc simultaneously to do so.

Also, give your computer a full shutdown. Remove the battery for a few minutes before turning the computer on.

Lastly, log off and log back into the macOS. Sometimes, these steps may save you from doing a PRAM zap. However, if these tips don’t work, resetting is your next best bet.

Learn More Troubleshooting Computers

Now you know about the PRAM, its issues, and how to address them. With that, you can address these problems and get your Mac working in minutes. However, PRAM-related issues are not the only problems that may hound you.

Expand your troubleshooting knowledge by reading our other articles. We provide solutions that will help resolve Mac and other computer-related problems.

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