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MacBook not charging? Here's what to check

Got a MacBook that isn't charging? Here are a few things to check that might save you a trip to the Apple Store.
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer
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The problem

You plug your charger into your MacBook and discover that it's not charging. Don't worry, it happens, and sometimes you can fix the problem without a trip to the Apple Store of buying a new charger.

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How to tell if your Mac Book is charging

There are a few ways to tell if your MacBook is charging

  • It makes a sound after you connect the charger
  • The battery status icon in the menu bar changes
  • The LED on the MagSafe connector glows orange (charging) or green (charged)
  • Click on the Apple icon in the menu, go to About This Mac and then System Report… and from there go to the Power section where you will get a lot of information related to charging and the battery.  
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Basic MacBook checks

I've seen a few issues that can affect charging.

  • Reboot the MacBook – you'll be amazed how often this fixes the issue!
  • Reset the SMC – again, this is worth doing because it fixes so many issues
  • Check to see if the MagSafe connector is mating properly, and there's no debris in the connector
  • If you have an older MacBook with a removable battery, remove and reinsert the battery
  • Check the connector – USB-C or MagSafe for any signs of damage. If it is a newer MacBook that uses USB-C, try a different port
  • Check for overheating as this might prevent charging
  • If possible, try a different charger (if this works, you've narrowed down the problem to the charger)
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Check the battery

Hold down the Option key and click on the battery icon in the menu bar. This will show you the battery status.

  • Normal: The battery is functioning normally
  • Replace Soon: The battery is functioning normally but holds less charge than it did when it was new
  • Replace Now: The battery is functioning normally but holds significantly less charge than it did when it was new
  • Service Battery: The battery isn't functioning normally
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Charger checks

Since the charger itself can experience a tough life, it's a good idea to carry out some checks.

  • Check the charger for any physical damage (pay special attention to the cable)
  • Try the charger on a different MacBook (if it works, the problem is down to the MacBook)
  • If the charger is a USB-C charger, try a different cable
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No luck?

I'm afraid it's either time for a trip to the Apple Store so a genius can take a look at your MacBook, or you can take a chance and try a new charger (if you don't have access to a spare to try). 

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