How do you turn on a completely dead MacBook?

Check the Charger and Cable

One of the first things to check with a MacBook that won’t turn on is the charger and charging cable. Make sure that the MagSafe, MagSafe 2, or USB-C charger is plugged firmly into both the wall outlet and the MacBook (, 2022). Check for any loose connections or debris in the ports that could prevent proper contact.

Also inspect the charging cable for any frays, breaks, or damage that could interrupt the flow of electricity. Apple’s MagSafe and USB-C charge cables are notorious for fraying near the ends. If the cable is damaged, try swapping it out with a known good cable to see if that resolves the issue.

Finally, try plugging the charger directly into the wall outlet rather than a power strip, which could be malfunctioning. Make sure the outlet is providing power by testing it with another device like a phone charger (Citizen Side, 2024). Proper connections between the charger, cable, and MacBook are essential to deliver power.

Try a Different Charger

One of the easiest things to try if your MacBook won’t turn on is using a different charger. Issues with the charger, cable, or port can prevent a MacBook from powering on properly. To rule out any problems with your own charger and cable, borrow one from a friend or visit an Apple store to try charging your MacBook with one of theirs.(Source)

Using a different, known good charger will help determine if the issue lies with your charger or cable versus a bigger underlying problem. If your MacBook powers on and charges with a different charger, then you know your original charger likely needs to be replaced. However, if it still won’t turn on, then the problem is with the MacBook itself rather than the charger.

Reset SMC

One of the first things to try when a MacBook won’t power on is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC controls core functionality like power management, battery charging, and sleep/wake functions on Intel-based MacBooks.1 Resetting it can restore startup capabilities if those systems got stuck or corrupted.

To reset the SMC, first shut down your MacBook if possible. For MacBooks with non-removable batteries, press and hold the shift+control+option keys on the left side of the keyboard and the power button at the same time. Hold them for 10 seconds, then release all keys and press the power button to turn it on.

For MacBooks with removable batteries, shut down the MacBook, remove the battery, press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, put the battery back in, and then press the power button again. This will clear any glitches with the SMC and force it to restart fresh.

Resetting SMC has resolved startup issues for many users whose MacBooks wouldn’t power on or boot up correctly. It’s a simple step to try before moving on to hardware diagnostics or repairs.

Check the Trackpad

One of the most common reasons a MacBook may appear completely dead is if the trackpad is not properly connected. Sometimes simply pressing down firmly on the trackpad is enough to restore the connection and turn the MacBook back on. Try pressing down on different areas of the trackpad to see if you can get a response.

According to How to Fix a MacBook Trackpad Not Working – Setapp, pressing firmly on the trackpad can often fix trackpad issues like a lost connection. If pressing the trackpad restores functionality, you likely just need to ensure the trackpad cable is properly seated. You may want to bring your MacBook to an Apple store to have them reseat the cable.

Try Safe Mode

Safe Mode is an emergency troubleshooting option that loads macOS in a minimal state, with only essential components enabled. It can diagnose software issues or applications that are crashing or misbehaving.

To boot in Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your MacBook completely.
  2. Restart your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key after you hear the startup sound. Keep holding Shift until you see the login window.
  3. When logged in, most non-Apple apps and services will be disabled. Run checks and tests to see if issues persist in Safe Mode.
  4. Restart your computer normally after testing to exit Safe Mode.

If issues disappear in Safe Mode, it indicates a problem with third party software. You can then troubleshoot which application or service is causing the issue. If problems remain in Safe Mode, it likely indicates a deeper hardware or system issue.


Resetting NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) can help clear out any issues with your Mac’s startup settings and hardware configs that may be preventing it from powering on. NVRAM stores information like display resolution, kernel panic data, and other hardware profile details. Resetting it will clear out any problematic settings that could be causing boot problems.

To reset NVRAM on your MacBook, first shut down your laptop if it is on. Then press and hold the Command, Option, P, and R keys simultaneously. Keep holding them down for at least 20 seconds, then release the keys and try powering your MacBook on as normal.

Resetting NVRAM will wipe out any customized settings, so you may need to redo some preferences afterward like resolution or startup disk selection. But it can be a handy troubleshooting step for an unresponsive MacBook.

Check for Water Damage

If your MacBook will not turn on at all, one of the first things to check is whether water or liquid damage may be the cause. Carefully inspect the keyboard, trackpad, and ports for any signs of water or corrosion.

Look for stains, mineral deposits, or whitish residue around the keys or trackpad. Shine a flashlight to check for moisture underneath the keys. If you remove a keycap and see a green or blue corrosion on the keyboard mechanism, that’s a clear sign of liquid damage.

Also examine the ports like the MagSafe charging port, USB-C, and headphone jack. Corrosion in the ports can prevent power from going through the cables.

If you suspect water damage, do not attempt to turn on your MacBook anymore. Liquid can short circuit the components and cause permanent damage. Instead, take it to a repair shop immediately for assessment and cleaning. The sooner it can be opened and dried out professionally, the better chance of saving your water damaged MacBook.

Try External Keyboard

One possible reason for the unresponsive keyboard on your MacBook is a hardware issue with the built-in keyboard. To test this theory, connect an external USB or Bluetooth keyboard and see if it works. An external keyboard is handy to have around in any case. Here are the steps:

1. Connect an external keyboard to your MacBook via USB or Bluetooth. USB keyboards made by Apple or other manufacturers will work. For Bluetooth, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and pair a wireless keyboard.

2. Once connected, check if the external keyboard allows you to control the cursor and type as expected. Press keys like Return/Enter, Spacebar, letter keys, etc. to ensure full functionality.

3. If the external keyboard works properly, then the internal keyboard has likely failed or become disconnected internally. You will want to have Apple or an authorized service provider inspect and replace the built-in keyboard.

Reference: (Apple Support)

Have Apple Diagnose

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and your MacBook still won’t turn on, it’s time to take it in to an Apple Store or authorized service provider. Make a Genius Bar appointment to have Apple technicians diagnose the issue.

Apple technicians have the training, experience, and diagnostic tools to get to the bottom of why your MacBook won’t power on. They can run diagnostics, open up the MacBook to inspect the internal hardware, and determine if components like the logic board need to be repaired or replaced.

An appointment with the Genius Bar costs nothing beyond the repair fees if hardware needs to be fixed. Apple technicians may find a simple software issue causing the no power problem, which they can potentially resolve on the spot at no cost. Taking your MacBook to Apple when it won’t turn on is a good last resort before considering more expensive repairs or a replacement.

Consider Repairs

If none of the troubleshooting steps revive your MacBook, the issue likely requires professional repair. Problems like liquid damage, failed components, or a faulty logic board may prevent powering on the laptop. You may need repairs for the:

  • Logic board – This crucial component houses the CPU, RAM, and connections for various parts. Faulty logic boards cause crashes, boot failures, and sudden shutdowns. Signs of a bad logic board include the laptop not turning on, starting up but then shutting down, and freezing during use (Source:
  • Battery – An aging or defective battery can prevent the MacBook from powering on. Bring the laptop to Apple or an authorized service provider for battery testing.
  • Display – Issues like cracked screens, bad cables, or failed backlights may seem cosmetic but also stop a MacBook from turning on.

Repairs for components like the logic board, display, or battery require professional work. Apple, authorized service providers, and some third-party repair shops can diagnose issues and swap parts to revive your MacBook.