How to Restart a MacBook Pro

Get your MacBook Pro running in tip-top shape

What to Know

  • Easiest way: Go to the Apple menu and select Restart. Either click Restart in the dialog box or let the timer count down.
  • From the keyboard: Hold down Control + Command + power button/eject button/Touch ID sensor.
  • To force restart a MacBook Pro: Hold down the power button or Control + Option + Command + power/eject button.

This article explains the various ways to restart a MacBook Pro, why you would want to restart a MacBook Pro, and how to force restart a MacBook Pro that won't respond to commands.

How to Restart a MacBook Pro: Apple Menu

Maybe the easiest way to restart a MacBook Pro is to click a few menus available from pretty much every screen on a Mac. Here's what to do:

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

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

    Apple menu on a Mac with Restart highlighted
  2. If you want all of your apps and documents to reopen after the restart, check the box next to Reopen windows when logging back in.

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

How to Restart a MacBook Pro: Keyboard

If you prefer it or your MacBook Pro isn't responding to mouse clicks, you can also restart it using the keyboard. Here's what to do:

  • Hold down the Control + Command + power/eject/Touch ID button all at the same time until the screen darkens and the restart sound plays. Let go of the keys after the sound plays and let the MacBook start up again. This method works on every MacBook Pro model.
  • You can also hold down Control + eject button to get the shutdown dialog box to appear on the screen on some models. From that dialog, click Restart.
  • If neither of those options work, try a Force Restart by holding down Control + Option + Command + the power/eject/Touch ID button.

When to Restart a MacBook Pro

We recommend regularly restarting your MacBook Pro for good system maintenance. That's because a restart cleans out active memory (but doesn't lose data) and is often when new software updates get installed. Other times you'll want to restart your MacBook Pro include if it's running slowly, if the operating system or programs are acting buggy, or if the machine freezes up.

How Restart, Factory Reset, and Power Down Are Different

Restarting a MacBook Pro isn't the same thing as a factory reset, and it's not the same as powering it down.

  • A restart resets your operating system and apps and cleans out the active memory that programs run in. You won't lose any data or change anything about how your MacBook Pro runs.
  • A factory reset returns your laptop to the state it was in when you first got it out of the box. That means deleting all of the apps you installed and data you created, wiping the hard drive, and reinstalling macOS. You only want a factory reset if you're selling the MacBook or are taking extreme troubleshooting steps.
  • Powering down a MacBook Pro turns the computer off and stops all programs from running.
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