How fix a MacBook pro that wont turn on or charge?

There are few things more frustrating than a MacBook Pro that won’t power on or charge. When your laptop suddenly stops working, it can bring your productivity to a grinding halt. Fortunately, with some basic troubleshooting, you can often resolve these issues yourself without an expensive trip to the Apple store.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the major causes of a MacBook Pro not turning on or charging along with the steps you can take to diagnose and fix the problem. We’ll cover hardware issues like failed logic boards and chargers as well as software problems like corrupted OS files. Follow along and hopefully you’ll get your Mac up and running again in no time.

Why Your MacBook Pro Won’t Turn On

When you press the power button and your MacBook Pro does nothing, there are several components that could be the culprit:

Failed Logic Board

The logic board is essentially your Mac’s motherboard and contains the critical processing chips and circuitry needed for operation. If your logic board has failed, your MacBook will exhibit complete failure with no signs of power. Unfortunately, logic board issues require service from Apple or an authorized repair center.

RAM Issues

Problems with your Mac’s memory can also lead to a failure to boot. You may be able to isolate faulty RAM by removing the modules one at a time and trying to power up with only one installed. If your MacBook boots properly with one stick but fails with another, you’ve found the bad RAM.

Battery Problems

The battery provides power to start up your MacBook before the charging cable takes over. No battery or a fully depleted one could result in a power-on failure. Try connecting your MagSafe adapter while troubleshooting to bypass battery issues.

Corrupted Software

Software problems like corrupted OS system files can stop your MacBook Pro from starting up. You may see flashing question marks, spinning wheels, or other signs of software failure on the screen when you attempt to power on.

Display Issues

A damaged screen or faulty display cables could create the illusion of a power-on failure. Connect your MacBook Pro to an external display to check for video output as a way of testing the built-in screen. A functional external monitor points to a screen problem.

Why Your MacBook Pro Won’t Charge

Assuming your MacBook will turn on but just won’t charge, here are some possible explanations:

Faulty Charger

A broken MagSafe power adapter prevents your laptop battery from charging. Check the status lights on your charger for any sign of damage. No light means it’s time for a replacement charger.

Loose Power Connection

If the MagSafe connection at the laptop side is loose, broken, or obstructed by debris, sufficient power may not reach your battery. Reconnect carefully and inspect the port for any issues.

Worn Out Battery

After hundreds of charge cycles, MacBook Pro batteries eventually wear down. An old depleted battery may fail to charge and need replacement. Check your cycle count in System Information.

Corrupt PMU/SMC

The Power Management Unit and System Management Controller control battery charging. Resetting these chips may be needed if charging stops working normally.

Liquid Damage

Spills and leaks can damage the charging ports on a MacBook Pro and prevent normal operation. Liquid corrosion requires professional repair or replacement of damaged components.

How to Fix a MacBook Pro That Won’t Turn On

If your MacBook Pro does absolutely nothing when you hit the power button, here are the steps to troubleshoot:

Step 1: Plug In MagSafe Charger

The first thing to try with a no power situation is connecting your 85W MagSafe power adapter. Your battery may simply be depleted, so this can provide enough temporary power to start up. Give it 5 minutes after plugging in before continuing to the next steps.

Step 2: Check Status Light

Check for a status light on your MagSafe connector. No light means the charger is not providing power for some reason. Try disconnecting and reconnecting at both ends and also using a different wall outlet. If no light appears, the charger is likely faulty and needs replacement.

Step 3: Reset SMC

The System Management Controller controls power flow in your MacBook. Resetting it can resolve many power issues. Here is how:

1. Shut down your Mac and connect MagSafe charger
2. Press and hold left Shift – Control – Option keys and the power button for 10 seconds
3. Release all keys together
4. Press the power button to turn on

This will reset the SMC and allow power to flow again if it was stuck. Try powering up normally after resetting the SMC.

Step 4: Reset PRAM

Resetting your Mac’s PRAM (Parameter RAM) can also help with startup issues:

1. Shut down Mac and connect MagSafe charger
2. Press and hold the Option – Command – P – R keys.
3. Keep holding through 2 restart cycles. You should hear the startup chime.
4. Let go after the 2nd chime and allow regular startup.

PRAM clears out low-level settings related to startup and hardware. This procedure often resolves quirky power problems.

Step 5: Boot to Safe Mode

If your Mac gets stuck during regular startup, booting to Safe Mode can bypass the issue:

1. Start up your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key
2. Keep holding Shift until you see the login screen, then let go
3. Login normally

Safe Mode loads only essential components which can remedy software-related startup freezes. The problem may disappear after restarting normally.

Step 6: Run Apple Diagnostics

Your Mac has built-in diagnostics tools that can spot hardware issues causing startup problems:

1. Disconnect any external devices besides charger
2. Restart Mac and hold down D key
3. This will load Apple Diagnostics
4. Follow the on-screen instructions and check for error codes

Diagnostics checks your RAM, disk drive, Wi-Fi card, and other components for problems. Make a note of any issue codes it finds for troubleshooting.

Step 7: Try an SMC Reset

If the above steps don’t work, revisit the SMC reset:

1. Unplug MagSafe charger and remove battery
2. Press and hold power button for 5 seconds
3. Reconnect battery and MagSafe charger
4. Attempt startup as normal

This alternative reset forces your Mac to recognizes any battery and charger changes to restore normal power operations.

Step 8: Test Components

At this point, the issue likely requires hardware diagnosis and replacement:

– Remove all RAM and test sticks individually to isolate failures
– Connect known good external display to test built-in screen
– Check existing hard drive externally or replace with known good drive
– Consider testing with substitute logic board if possible
– Check battery health and cycle count; replace if needed

By methodically testing components, you can zero in on what exactly has failed inside your MacBook Pro.

How to Fix a MacBook Pro That Won’t Charge

For MacBooks that power on but won’t charge, use these steps:

Step 1: Inspect Charger and Port

Carefully check both ends of the MagSafe charger and port for damage, bent pins, debris, cracks, or loose connections. Clean out any ports and reconnect firmly. If the charger is visibly damaged, replacements can be found online.

Step 2: Try Different Outlets

Outlet problems can prevent proper charging. Connect your MagSafe to various wall outlets and power strips to make sure you are getting consistent, uninterrupted current. Check for status light on charger when connected.

Step 3: Reset SMC

Just like with startup issues, resetting the System Management Controller can kickstart the charging system:

1. Shut down Mac and connect MagSafe charger
2. Press left Shift – Control – Option and power button for 10 seconds
3. Release all keys together
4. Power on and check for charging

This resets the SMC chip governing charging functions which often resolves charging problems.

Step 4: Maximize Battery Health

To make sure your battery is in optimal shape to receive charge:

– Let battery fully drain every few weeks before recharging
– Avoid leaving constantly plugged in when possible
– Use Mac until auto-shutdown to calibrate battery health gauge
– Check battery cycle count in System Information
– Consider replacement if battery is older with high cycles

Keeping your battery properly maintained makes sure it can be charged to maximum capacity.

Step 5: Try Safe Mode

Boot to Safe Mode to determine if software is preventing charging:

1. Start up Mac and immediately press/hold Shift key
2. Keep holding until login screen, then release
3. Login and check for charging

Safe Mode only loads essential apps and processes. If charging works normally here, a third-party app or system file is likely the issue.

Step 6: Reset PRAM

A Parameter RAM reset can also fix charging:

1. Shut down Mac and attach MagSafe charger
2. Hold Option – Command – P – R on restart
3. Allow 2 chime cycles then let go of keys
4. Login and check for charging

PRAM controls low-level charging settings that may need refreshing. This procedure often helps with stubborn charging problems.

Step 7: Target PMU Chip

The Power Management Unit regulates charging operations. To reset it:

1. Shut down Mac and connect MagSafe charger
2. Press left Control – Option – Shift keys and power button for 10 seconds
3. Release all keys together
4. Power on and check for normal charging

This reset forces the PMU chip to reload which should restore appropriate power delivery.

Step 8: Visit Genius Bar

For seemingly hardware-based issues, schedule a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple Store. Qualified Apple technicians can diagnose problems and may spot liquid damage or known component failures. In some cases, they may offer a replacement MacBook Pro. Be sure to backup important data first!


While a MacBook Pro with power or charging problems can be frustrating, there are several steps you can take to get it working again in many cases. By methodically testing components, checking connections, resetting firmware, and isolating software issues, you can often resolve startup and charging failures on your own without an expensive logic board replacement. Just be sure to backup your data first!

In some cases, a failed component like the logic board, RAM, or battery will need professional service or replacement. But many charging and startup problems can be remedied with simple resets of the SMC, PRAM, and PMU chips that regulate core Mac functions. Persistence and care when troubleshooting can often get your MacBook Pro running like new again.