If your MacBook is plugged in but won’t charge, there are several possible reasons why -— including broken chargers, outdated software, or even routine servicing requirements.
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 top things to try to get it going again.
Before we start
If your MacBook won’t turn on, rather than it being a charging problem, it could be caused by a virus. It’s a good idea to install real-time antivirus and run regular scans. You can do both the MacKeeper. Here’s how to run a malware scan.
- Open MacKeeper, and select Antivirus
- Click the Start Scan button
- When it’s finished, select anything that’s found, and click Move to Quarantine
That’s just one of many features in MacKeeper. Try it out now, with one free fix for each tool.
Fix most common reasons why your MacBook won’t charge:
- MacBook battery problems
- No power source
- Charging cable damage
- Dirty charging port
- Defective AC plug
- Poor charger ventilation
- Outlet line noise
- Poor battery condition
- Requires battery reset
- Battery not charged for a long time
- Faulty motherboard
1. Defective battery
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.
2. No power source
Before you can work out why your MacBook won’t turn on, start by testing if the outlet you’re using has electricity. To do this, try plugging another device into the outlet to confirm before testing your MacBook and charger. If you find that the outlet does not work, try a different one.
3. Charging cable damage
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.
4. 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.
5. Defective AC plug
If the light on your charger doesn’t come on, then the reason your MacBook won’t turn on or charge could be a defective plug. All MacBook chargers come with removable plugs, so you can use one from another charger or an Apple power adapter extension cable to see if that’s the cause.
6. Poor charger ventilation
MacBook chargers, including the MacBook Air USB-C power adapter, can generate a significant amount of heat when charging. If you place your charger somewhere insulated, like under a cushion, it can become too warm and turn off automatically. To keep your MacBook charging for longer, keep your power adapter cool by not placing things on top of it.
7. Outlet line noise
If you find that your charger turns off after a few minutes of being plugged into your MacBook, it may be due to line noise from an outlet. MacBook chargers have built-in voltage protection mechanisms that may cause electromagnetic-related disruptions. To avoid this, simply plug your charger into another outlet that’s connected to a different circuit.
8. Poor battery condition
Like any battery-powered device, MacBook battery life will degrade naturally after several years of use. To do a MacBook battery diagnostic test, click the battery icon on your menu bar. If the dropdown menu contains the Service Recommended notification, it’s time to replace the battery.
You can also check your MacBook battery like this:
- On the menu bar, click the Apple icon while pressing the Opt key
- Select System Information
- Under Hardware, click Power
- Check the Condition
Under Condition, there are several possible statuses for your battery capacity – Normal, Replace Soon, Replace Now, and Service Battery. If your MacBook battery status is anything other than “normal”, schedule a repair or replacement as soon as possible.
9. A battery reset is needed
The power function of every Intel-based MacBook is controlled by the System Management Controller (SMC). Resetting your SMC can help with many issues, including when your MacBook won’t charge, despite being plugged in.
Here’s how to reset the SMC on an Intel MacBook with removable batteries:
- Shut down your MacBook
- Unplug your MacBook charger
- Remove your battery
- Press the Power button for a few seconds
- Reattach your battery
- Plug in Your MacBook charger
- Press the Power button to turn on your MacBook
To reset the SMC in an Intel MacBook with a non-removable battery, follow these steps:
- Shut down your MacBook Pro or Air
- Unplug your MacBook charger
- After a few seconds, reconnect the MacBook charger to the outlet
- Press the Power button while holding down the Ctrl + Shift + Opt keys for at least ten seconds
- Turn on your MacBook again using the Power button
10. Battery not charged for a long time
Lithium-ion batteries, like the one in your MacBook, don’t like being left without any charge for a long time. Doing so can severely reduce the capacity and effectiveness of your battery. In extreme cases, you may find your MacBook won’t charge at all.
Try keeping your MacBook plugged in for a full 24 hours. If it still doesn’t charge, it’s possible your battery is permanently damaged. To avoid this happening, don’t leave your MacBook with zero charge in it for a long time.
11. Faulty motherboard
If none of the methods mentioned so far works, then you may simply have a faulty MacBook. It could be the motherboard or a component on the motherboard that’s preventing your MacBook from charging.
Unfortunately, this is not likely to be something you fix yourself. In that case, your best bet will be to contact Apple support.
To contact Apple support if your MacBook isn’t charging, do the following:
- Go to Apple Support
- Select Mac > Startup or Power > Bring in for Repair
- Log in with your Apple ID
- Type your location
- Choose your available schedule and authorized repair center
- Select your preferred time slot, and confirm your reservation
Take care of your battery
Made from lithium-ion, MacBook batteries are fast-charging and often long-lasting. However, your battery’s longevity also depends on how well you take care of it. For example, it’s best not to leave your MacBook batteries uncharged for too long. Apple also has a variety of built-in battery health management features that you should use to keep your MacBook battery healthy for longer.