How to Restart a MacBook Air

Quickly get your MacBook Air running again

What to Know

  • Restart a MacBook Air: Click the Apple menu > Restart. Then click the Restart button in the pop-up or just let the timer expire.
  • Restart a MacBook Air from the keyboard: Hold Control + Command + power button/eject button/Touch ID sensor.
  • Force restart a MacBook Air: Hold down the power button or Control + Option + Command + the power/eject/Touch ID button.

This article covers a few ways to restart a MacBook Air, reasons why you'd want to restart a MacBook Air, and how to force restart a MacBook Air that's frozen.

How to Restart a MacBook Air: Apple Menu

Probably the simplest way to restart a MacBook Air is by clicking a few menus that you can access from almost any screen. Here's how:

This option works on every MacBook Air model, on all versions of the macOS.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen, then click Restart.

    Mac desktop with the Apple menu clicked and Restart highlighted
  2. To ensure that all apps and documents re-open after the restart, check the box next to Reopen windows when logging back in.

    MacBook restart dialog box with "Reopen windows when logging back in" checkbox highlighted
  3. Click Restart or let the timer count down.

How to Restart a MacBook Air: Keyboard

You can also restart a MacBook Air using the keyboard. Do this if you prefer it or if the computer isn't responding to mouse clicks. Here's how:

  • Hold down Control + Command + power/eject/Touch ID at the same time until the screen goes black and you hear the restart sound. After the sound plays, let go of the keys and let the MacBook Air start up. Using Power OR Eject does two separate things: Power, forces the Mac to restart without prompting to save documents; Eject quits all apps, but prompts you to save any open documents with unsaved changes, then restarts.
  • On some older models: Hold down Control + eject button, and the shutdown dialog box will appear. In that pop-up, click Restart.
  • If neither of those options works, try a Force Restart. To do that, hold down Control + Command + the power/eject.

When to Restart MacBook Air

We recommend restarting your MacBook Air regularly because it's suitable for the overall operation of your laptop. Each restart refreshes your laptop's active memory (but don't worry; there's no data loss), and it's also when new software updates get installed. Restarting a MacBook Air can also help fix problems like slow performance, trouble opening apps, generally buggy-ness, or freeze-ups. In those situations, a restart will often solve most problems.

What Makes a Restart, Factory Reset, and Power Down Different

Restarting a MacBook Air isn't the same thing as powering it down or a factory reset.

  • A restart resets your operating system and cleans out the memory that programs run in. There's no data loss with a restart, but your MacBook Air will run better afterward.
  • Powering down a MacBook Air turns it off and stops programs from running, and saves battery power.
  • A factory reset takes your laptop back to its original state, just like when you first got it. It deletes all of your apps and data, erases the hard drive, and re-installs the macOS. You should only factory reset your MacBook Air if you're selling the laptop, sending it in for service, or trying some last-ditch troubleshooting.
  • How do you restart a Macbook Air to factory settings?

    First, back up any important data you don't want to lose. Then, shut down your Macbook and, once it's completely off, long-press the Command+R keyboard shortcut while simultaneously pressing the Power button. Once it boots into Recovery Mode, select reinstall macOS.

  • How do you take a screenshot on a Macbook Air?

    Press the Shift+Command+3 keyboard shortcut until a thumbnail appears in the corner of your screen. Select the thumbnail to edit the screenshot or wait until it saves on your desktop.

  • How do you update a Macbook Air?

    To update your Macbook Air, select System Preferences > Software Update > Update Now. If no new update is available, you will receive the message "Your Mac is up to date."

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