If your MacBook is plugged in but won’t charge, there are several possible reasons. This includes broken chargers, outdated software, or even routine servicing requirements.
MacBook Pro is a very reliable and capable computer, and things can sometimes still go wrong. This happens due to some malfunction with your computer, or if you’ve been using the computer for years, there may be a problem with some components. However, there are solutions for MacBooks that are not charging.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common causes for a MacBook battery not charging. And we’ll show you the troubleshooting steps to get it going again.
Why is my MacBook not Charging?
There could be a simple reason why your MacBook Air or Pro won’t charge. Start with these simple checks to establish what the issue is:
- Is the MacBook plugged in? Disconnect the charging cable from the laptop and plug it in again.
- Check the plug socket too. Is the socket turned on? Try using a different wall socket. This may sound a bit basic, but double-check before you go any further.
- Make sure your power adaptor is connected properly. Each Apple laptop adaptor comes in two parts, the square adaptor and its removable plug that connects to the wall, and the charging cable. Pull the two apart and put them back together.
- Make sure you are using the correct power adapter and cable.
- Check the power port on your Apple laptop for dust. This can prevent the connector from making a clean connection to the Mac and stop you from charging it up correctly.
The above checks may enable you to fix the problem. But if they don’t work we recommend that you work through the steps below.
In 2019, Apple recalled several MacBook models, released from 2015 to 2017, due to battery issues. If your MacBook was one of the models affected, you’re eligible for a free battery replacement.
To check if your MacBook was included in the recall, go to the Apple Service Program page and key in your MacBook serial number. If your MacBook model was affected, a message should appear to recommend that you contact Apple Support to schedule a replacement.
Check Your Battery Health
If you use your MacBook intensely, your battery might wear out faster. So it’s important to keep track of battery health regularly. To do this, hold the Option key while clicking the battery icon located in the menu bar.
Your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air battery will be in one of four states:
- Normal. The battery is working well.
- Replace Soon. Your battery might need to be replaced soon as it’s holding less charge than it did before.
- Replace Now. The battery is not holding enough charge. You’ll need to replace your battery as soon as possible.
- Service Battery. Your battery has aged and is not holding charge at all. You’ll need to get it replaced to avoid damaging your MacBook.
If you see the Service Battery MacBook Pro or Air signal, you’ll likely need to send your Mac for servicing.
Update Your Software
When Apple issued the macOS Monterey 12.2 update it seems a bug was introduced that caused some Mac batteries to drain quickly in sleep mode. The issue was found to be related to an issue with Bluetooth and a subsequent macOS 12.2.1 update addressed the battery drain problem.
With examples like the above, it is clear that sometimes a software update may fix your Mac charging problems.
Make sure that your Mac is running the most recent version of the macOS software. Go to System Preferences > Software Update to check.
Check if the Charging Cable is Damaged
If you think your MacBook charging cable isn’t working, inspect it for physical defects like exposed wires, broken plugs, or extreme bends. While your charger might still work with some slight damage, it can cause issues with charging stability and safety. If you notice that your MacBook charger cable wires are exposed, cover them with electric tape or heat shrink before attempting to plug it into an outlet.
Reset the Battery
The method you follow to reset the battery in your MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will be determined by the age of your Mac, and whether it has an Intel chip or an Apple chip inside.
If it’s old enough to have a removable battery (unlikely if was bought after 2012) you can remove the battery. After doing so, disconnect the power adapter and hold down the power key for 10 seconds before replacing the battery and then plugging the power adapter back in. Restarting the Mac should fix the problem.
But it’s unlikely that your Mac has a removable battery, so how can you reset the battery? In this case, you will need to reset the SMC, which stands for the System Management Controller, a chip on your Mac’s logic board that controls the power.
Reset the SMC on a removable-battery Mac
- Shut down your Mac
- Remove the battery
- Hold the power button for five seconds
- Reconnect the battery and turn your Mac back on
Reset the SMC on a newer Mac
Do you own a Mac without a removable battery? In this case, you’ll be able to reset the SMC using a specific keyboard shortcut:
- Shut down your MacBook
- Connect the Apple laptop charger
- Press Control + Shift + Option and the power button together for four seconds
- Start up your laptop once again with the power button
Reset SMC on a Mac with a T2 Security Chip
The algorithms are different for a laptop with T2 and a desktop Mac, so let’s start with the laptop.
First, try to solve the issue without the reset, as per Apple recommendations. Shut down your Mac and press and hold the power button for 10 seconds. Next, turn your Mac back on.
If the issue persists, go on to reset SMC. Shut down the Mac, then press Control + Option + Shift (the one on the right side of the keyboard). Hold for 7 seconds, then add the power button to the combo. Now you are pressing and holding four keys on your keyboard, hold for 7 more seconds. Finally, release all keys, wait a bit, and then turn your Mac back on.
Desktop Mac with a T2 chip requires a different SMC reset procedure. Shut down your computer first, then unplug it completely. Wait for 15 seconds before putting the cord back into an outlet. After you plug the Mac back in, wait 5 more seconds and then turn on your Mac.
If you have an Apple silicon Mac, just restart your computer and the SMC will reset.
Check for Dirty Charging Ports
Another reason why your MacBook might not be charging is a blocked charging port. One way to resolve it is by cleaning the MagSafe or USB port using compressed air to blow out any dirt or debris. Alternatively, you can also use a plastic dental pick, cotton buds, or a soft bristle toothbrush.
Get the Mac Serviced
If the above advice doesn’t help then you should take your MacBook to Apple (or an Apple reseller that is an Apple Authorised Service Provider) for servicing and maybe even consider having the battery replaced.
You’ll need to find out whether your Mac qualifies to be serviced by Apple. It depends on whether the Mac is still under warranty or if you have AppleCare. Here’s how to check if you are covered:
- Go to Apple’s Service and Support website.
- Enter your serial number (you can find it by clicking on the Apple menu > About This Mac).
- Prove you aren’t a robot.
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