When Your MacBook Won’t Charge: A Troubleshooting Guide



When your MacBook isn’t charging, it’s almost certainly a problem with its battery. Do not buy a new battery until you have read this.

MacBooks are made to last for many years to come. Unfortunately, the batteries usually shut down before the rest of the machines. Before you go to Apple to replace your laptop battery, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to confirm that it’s really about time, especially when the MacBook isn’t charging.

A MacBook battery should last three to four years under normal use. Until it is completely dead, the battery will start giving a sure sign that things are not going well; there will be less time between a full and empty charge. Even with a completely depleted battery, all is not lost. Your MacBook will continue to run as long as it’s plugged in. Keep using it like this until you have time to replace the battery.

MacBook not charging

What is the number of cycles?

A measure of battery life is a number of cycles. Batteries are only useful for a limited number of cycles. When these cycles are exhausted, it is time to replace the battery. Plugging in your MacBook and fully recharging the battery doesn’t necessarily count as a complete cycle. It all depends on where the battery percentage was at the start of charging.

Let’s say you start working on a full charge and then start recharging when the battery percentage hits 60%. The next day you work with a full charge until the battery reaches 40% remaining. These two loads count as a complete cycle, not as you might expect. In another example, you start your day with the computer’s battery at 100%, then use your MacBook until the battery reaches 10%. The next day you work until the laptop battery reaches 40%. In this case, you have gone through about 1 1/2 battery cycles.

Knowing the total number of cycles your device has used up is essential, as it gives you an idea of ​​how many cycles are likely to be left until battery replacement is needed.

Number of cycles expected

Apple offers a common list of cycle number limits, depending on the MacBook model. Newer MacBook models, including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, have a 1000 cycle limit. Older models offer between 300 and 500 cycles before Apple suggests replacing the battery.

To find the number of cycles on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left of your device.
  2. To choose About this Mac.
  3. To select System report.
  4. To choose To be able to on the left side of the report under the Material selection. On the right, you will see a list for the current number of cycles.

In the following example, the number of cycles is 63.

Number of MacBook Battery Troubleshooting Cycles

MacBook Not Charging: Troubleshooting Steps

If your MacBook battery doesn’t seem to be charging, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the issues.

Use only with AC adapter

First, turn off your MacBook, then restart the machine with AC power only. If the machine runs smoothly, the main problem is not the AC adapter or the cord. Instead, it’s probably the battery.

Stop, restart

When was the last time you turned off your laptop? For many, this is a difficult question to answer. Shutting down and restarting your machine and restarting are not the same thing. So another troubleshooting step is to shut down your MacBook completely, wait a few minutes, and then try to turn it back on.

Perform this shutdown / restart routine with and without the AC adapter. Most likely, you will not face any problem when the laptop is plugged into the wall. However, if you cannot start the computer using just the battery, you have probably discovered the problem.

Drain, drain and drain

If your MacBook is still running on battery power alone (but it doesn’t stay charged for long), it’s time to do a deep charge. To do this, use the machine until it turns off. Then charge the computer overnight. The solution may eliminate your problem or at least delay battery replacement for a bit longer.

If in doubt

MacBooks have always been expensive. For this reason, the best solution for battery issues might be to get technical support and let the experts decide what happens. And if you’ve purchased an extended warranty on your laptop, this step is even better. Either way, understand that a dead battery doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch your laptop. It’s just time for a transplant.


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