What Do You Do When Your MacBook Won't Charge?

Overheating can also interrupt charging. If the MacBook is too hot, allow it to cool before charging.
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If your MacBook won’t charge, it may be more useful as a paperweight than a computer until the problem is resolved. You’ll likely lose access to any data not backed up externally once the remaining battery power depletes. Understanding how to troubleshoot this problem on your own may save you a trip to the nearest Apple Genius Bar. If there’s an internal hardware failure at fault, however, external help from Apple may be necessary.

1 Connections Check

Though it may sound simplistic, ensure that all of your connections are secure. Begin with your power cable, checking that it’s plugged firmly into the wall socket, the power brick (if applicable) and the MacBook itself. If connections are secure but charging still doesn't work, try plugging in to another outlet. You should also ensure that the cord connector and MacBook power port are free of debris that might be disrupting the connection.

2 Cord Problems

If available, try using a spare charging cable. If the MacBook begins to charge, the cable itself may be the issue. If you don’t have access to another cable, inspect the one you have for signs of damage. Look for chew marks from pets or visibly burned or melted patches on the surface. You should also check the power brick for any burning smells. If your cable is the source of the problem, purchasing a new one should restore charging functionality the the laptop.

3 Battery Checking

If your MacBook has a removable battery, take the battery out and plug the MacBook in. If you can power the computer on, your battery may be damaged. Seek out a replacement from Apple. If the computer does not turn on, there is likely damage to internal components that you may be unable to fix on your own. Note that newer MacBooks may not have removable batteries; as such, only Apple technicians will be able to further diagnose the problem.

4 Apple Assistance

If you are unable to resolve the charging problem, you’ll need to either call Apple Care for assistance at (800) 275-2273 or make an appointment with the closest Genius Bar (see Resources). Enter your city, state and Apple ID information to pull up available time slots. When you go to the Apple Store, be sure to explain the troubleshooting steps you've already taken. This will allow the technician to more quickly assess the issue and attempt resolution.

Since 1999 Brad Harris has written on a wide array of subjects, ranging from helpful how-to articles about maneuvering through life to sharing war stories from navigating the campaign trail. Harris attended Michigan State University where he majored in political theory and has worked professionally in the telecommunications industry for over five years.