How do I remove the plug from my MacBook charger?

Removing the plug from a MacBook charger is a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. The plug connects the charger cable to the wall outlet and allows you to charge your MacBook. There are a few reasons you may need to remove the plug, such as replacing a broken or faulty plug, switching to a different style of plug, or preparing the charger for travel. With the right tools and proper care, removing the MacBook charger plug can be done safely and easily.

When Do You Need to Remove the Plug?

Here are some of the most common reasons for removing the plug from a MacBook charger:

  • The prongs on the plug are bent or broken – Bent or broken prongs prevent the plug from properly connecting to the wall outlet. Replacing the plug is necessary to restore charging functionality.
  • Switching plug styles – Apple’s MacBook chargers are available with different plugs for different regions. You may need to change the plug to match different style outlets when traveling.
  • The plug is worn out – Repeated insertion and removal can wear out the plug over time. Replacing an old, worn plug can improve the connection.
  • Preparing for travel – Removing the plug allows the charger to be packed more compactly for travel.
  • Replacing a lost or damaged plug – If the original plug becomes lost or damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to attach a replacement.

In most cases, the reason for removing the MacBook charger plug is either to replace it due to damage or change it for compatibility when traveling. With the plug detached, swapping it out or packing the charger is quick and easy.

What You’ll Need

Removing the MacBook charger plug requires only a few simple tools:

  • A small flathead screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers (optional)
  • A replacement plug (if needed)

The screwdriver is used to detach the retaining ring holding the plug in place. Needle-nose pliers can help grip and turn the retaining ring if it’s stuck on tightly. Have a new replacement plug on hand if the goal is to replace the current plug with a new one.

Identify the Retaining Ring

The key to removing the MacBook charger plug is a small retaining ring that holds it in place. The ring is made of plastic and wraps around the base of the plug prongs. It threads onto the charger’s barrel connector to secure the plug.

To remove the plug, you simply need to unscrew this retaining ring using a flathead screwdriver. Take a close look at the underside of the plug to locate the ring before attempting removal.

How to Remove the Plug

Follow these steps to safely detach the plug on a MacBook charger:

  1. Unplug the charger from the wall outlet and your MacBook.
  2. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the retaining ring loose and start unscrewing it.
  3. As you unscrew the ring, gradually slide the plug prongs out of the connector.
  4. Once fully unscrewed, detach the plug completely and set it aside.
  5. Inspect the connector end of the charger for any damage.
  6. Attach the replacement plug if you have a new one ready.

Step 1: Unplug the Charger

Before attempting removal, always unplug the charger from both the wall outlet and your MacBook. Removing the plug while the charger is powered can damage the charger or your computer.

Step 2: Pry Off the Retaining Ring

Use a flathead screwdriver to wedge under the retaining ring at the base of the plug prongs. Carefully pry the ring up just enough to loosen its grip on the connector. Once able to grip it with the screwdriver tip, begin turning the ring counter-clockwise to unscrew it.

Step 3: Gradually Remove the Plug

As you unscrew the retaining ring, the plug will become loose enough that you can start sliding the prongs outward through the connector. Pull gently in an outward direction as you continue turning the ring until the prongs are fully removed.

Step 4: Fully Detach the Plug

When the retaining ring is fully unscrewed, the plug can be completely detached from the charger. Avoid bending the prongs as you remove the plug.

Step 5: Inspect the Connector

Examine the now vacant barrel connector at the end of the charger cable. Make sure there is no residual damage or foreign debris. Clean with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol if needed.

Step 6: Attach a Replacement Plug

If you have a new replacement plug ready, slide its prongs into the barrel connector until fully inserted. Then screw on the retaining ring until the plug is held snugly in place and can’t be wiggled loose.

Tips for Removing the MacBook Charger Plug

Follow these tips to safely and effectively detach the plug from a MacBook power adapter:

  • Use a fresh, undamaged screwdriver that properly fits the retaining ring grooves.
  • Wedge the flathead into the side of the ring, not underneath which can damage it.
  • Turn the retaining ring counter-clockwise to unscrew it.
  • Don’t force the plug if it won’t budge – recheck the retaining ring is fully loosened.
  • Pull the plug prongs straight outward, not on an angle to avoid bending.
  • Make sure the replacement plug’s prongs align correctly before inserting.
  • Snug the retaining ring with the plug inserted, but don’t over tighten.

Taking care not to bend the prongs or damage the connectors will allow the charger to function properly once reassembled. Avoid forcing the plug when loosening the retaining ring and sliding the prongs out. With patience and the proper technique, you can remove and replace the MacBook charger plug with ease.

What to Do if the Plug Won’t Unscrew

In some cases, the retaining ring holding the MacBook charger plug may be stuck on tightly and difficult to unscrew. Here are some tips for detaching a stubborn plug:

  • Make sure you are turning the ring counter-clockwise to unscrew it.
  • Wedge the flathead firmly into the side of the ring for maximum grip.
  • Use needle-nose pliers if the ring won’t turn by hand.
  • Gently wiggle the plug as you turn the ring to break it free.
  • Apply lubricant like WD-40 to loosen a stuck ring.
  • Remove with padded pliers if nothing else works.

Avoid excess force when removing a stuck plug to prevent damage. But with the proper tools and technique, even very stubborn retaining rings can typically be successfully unscrewed.

How to Attach a Replacement Plug

Once you’ve detached the existing plug from your MacBook charger, attaching a replacement is straightforward:

  1. Inspect the replacement plug and make sure the prongs are intact.
  2. Align the new plug’s prongs with the barrel connector.
  3. Push the prongs into the connector until fully inserted.
  4. Slide the retaining ring over the base of the plug.
  5. Turn the ring clockwise while pressing inward to tighten.
  6. Stop tightening when the ring is snug against the connector.

When shopping for a replacement MacBook charger plug, choose one designed specifically for your charger’s wattage and connector size. Most plugs snap into place once inserted and only need a gentle final turn of the retaining ring to secure them.

Avoiding Damage to the New Plug

Be careful not to bend or damage the prongs on the replacement plug during installation. Here are some tips to safely attach it:

  • Check that the prong size matches the charger connector before inserting.
  • Align the prongs properly before pushing them into the connector.
  • Push the plug straight in to avoid bending the prongs.
  • Make sure the retaining ring is fully loosened before inserting the plug.
  • Only tighten the ring until snug, not over-tightened.

Rushing the plug installation or using excessive force increases the chance of bending the prongs. Take your time and be gentle to ensure the plug connects securely without getting damaged.

Testing Charger Functionality

After replacing the MacBook charger plug, thoroughly test it to make sure it functions properly before regular use:

  • Inspect the plug for any sign of damage or improper fit.
  • Plug the charger into an outlet and your MacBook.
  • Verify the charger LED turns on when plugged in.
  • Check that the MacBook battery charges when connected.
  • Unplug and re-plug the charger several times.
  • Try wiggling the plug to check tightness.
  • Use the MacBook briefly while charging.

The charger should charge the MacBook battery consistently without any connectivity issues, sparks, or overheating. If you experience any unusual behavior, re-check the plug connection. Catching flaws early can prevent charger problems down the road.


Removing the plug from a MacBook charger is a quick and simple process when done carefully. In most cases, you’ll just need a small flathead screwdriver to detach the retaining ring and pull the plug free. Key steps include:

  • Always unplug the charger first
  • Locate and unscrew the plastic retaining ring
  • Gently slide the plug prongs outward
  • Inspect for damage before replacing
  • Align the new plug properly before inserting
  • Only tighten the ring until snug
  • Thoroughly test functionality after replacing

With the right precautions, detaching and installing a MacBook charger plug takes just minutes. Follow the steps above closely and you’ll be charging your MacBook again in no time.