What to Do When Your MacBook Charger Stops Working

Not being able to charge your MacBook can be frustrating and concerning. Instead of immediately assuming a battery or hardware issue, it’s best to explore all possible causes. In this guide, we’ll investigate why your MacBook charger might stop working and provide potential solutions for each problem.

Confirm the charger’s functionality

Before jumping to conclusions, ensure that the power adapter is not the root of the issue. Try using a different outlet that you know is functional and check the charger’s LED indicators (if applicable) for a response. Don’t fret prematurely over a faulty outlet.

If there is no response, try borrowing an identical charger or visit an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to test your unit. If your MacBook successfully turns on and charges with a different cable, your charger is likely the culprit. However, if your MacBook still fails to respond, it may signal a problem with the battery or other hardware, requiring a different approach.

This is also an ideal time to check compatibility. Apple’s MacBook lineup has undergone changes over the years, resulting in different power connectors and wattages. While you can use power adapters that deliver more power than your MacBook requires, using an underpowered adapter can lead to performance issues. If you purchased a charger or a used/refurbished Mac online and the charger doesn’t work initially, ensure that you have a compatible charger type.

For detailed information on power adapter connectors compatible with different MacBooks and how to obtain the correct adapter if needed, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Remove dirt and debris

After confirming that the charger is the issue, inspect all ports and connectors for dirt and grime. Dust accumulation or sticky residue can impede a proper electrical connection. Use a cloth or cotton swab to clean any visible dirt. If necessary, lightly apply isopropyl alcohol on the connector, ensuring it is thoroughly dried before reuse.

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Check for physical damage

Physical damage is a common cause of charger failure and comes in two forms:

  • Prong and blade damage: Examine all prongs, blades, and metal tips used by your charger. Loose or missing prongs/blades can result in insufficient or no power to your MacBook. Physical damage can also lead to electrical fires, so it’s crucial to stop using the charger immediately and obtain a replacement.

  • Strain relief: Strain relief refers to the charger’s head that plugs into the MacBook. Over time, wear and tear can cause it to disconnect from the main cable. This issue is more prevalent in older connectors compared to power adapters with L-style or other MagSafe connectors. If the LED indicator lights flicker based on the charger’s angle, it may indicate a short. Examine the connector’s end for cable damage, exposed wires, or wear on the insulating cover. Evident signs of damage pose a potential danger, and you should replace the charger promptly.

Prevent overheating

If the boxy part of your charger is constantly exposed to heat, such as being covered under blankets or in direct sunlight, it may overheat. Chargers are sensitive to heat, which is why Apple incorporates automatic shut-off functions when they become too hot. Charging your MacBook in a hot environment will prevent it from charging. Always keep your adapter shaded and well-ventilated.

Address line noise

Frequent distortion in alternating currents can occur due to the distance electricity travels or electromagnetic interference from nearby devices. This distortion renders the electricity unsuitable for your laptop battery’s use. To check for line noise, unplug your charger and let it rest for about 60 seconds before plugging it back in. If it begins working again, the issue may have been excessive ground noise that resulted in your adapter automatically shutting down for protection. Try using your computer away from other appliances, particularly refrigerators and fluorescent lights, known for causing line noise troubles. The overvoltage protection feature of your adapter is a safety measure intended to prolong the lifespan of your device.

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Reset battery and settings

If you’re still having trouble identifying the problem, don’t lose hope. There’s one more step to take before seeking professional assistance. This potential quick-fix relates to your computer’s settings rather than the adapter itself. We highly recommend attempting the following two solutions, as they may hold the solution to your problem, even if it’s not immediately evident:

  • Reset your battery: On older MacBook versions, removing the battery, allowing it to sit idle for a minute or more, and then reinserting it can resolve some issues. However, newer MacBooks require a different technique, so if you have a recent model, skip to the next step.

  • Reset your computer’s PRAM and SMC: PRAM and SMC are in-house frameworks and settings that manage power levels, volume amplification, and other essential settings on your MacBook. Malfunctioning settings can lead to significant problems. For detailed instructions on how to quickly reset PRAM and SMC on your Mac, refer to our guide.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple’s big M3 MacBook event could be in danger
  • Best refurbished MacBook deals: Get a MacBook Air for $200
  • This tiny ThinkPad can’t quite keep up with the MacBook Air M2
  • This Windows laptop costs under $1,000 and handily beats the MacBook Air
  • Apple’s serious miscalculation with the 15-inch MacBook Air

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