Experiencing an issue where your Macbook Pro is connected to power and charging but refuses to turn on?
You’re not alone – this is a common problem that many Macbook owners face at some point.
The good news is that, in most cases, it can be fixed with simple troubleshooting steps.
This article will walk you through several things you can try to get your Macbook turned on again.
Common Causes of a Macbook Not Turning On
Before jumping into the troubleshooting, it helps to understand what might be causing the problem in the first place.
Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Faulty power adapter or cable – If there’s an issue with the power adapter or cable, your Macbook may charge but not have enough stable power to turn on.
- Discharged battery – A fully dead battery may prevent a startup while plugged in. Letting it charge for 30-60 minutes can help.
- PRAM/SMC reset needed – Resetting the PRAM, and SMC can clear any glitches causing startup issues.
- Hardware failure – In rarer cases, a component like the logic board may have failed, requiring repair or replacement.
- Software corruption – Severe system file corruption can sometimes prevent booting.
Basic Troubleshooting Tips
Here are some basic first steps to try if your Macbook won’t power on:
1. Check connections and try different outlets
Ensure the power cable is firmly plugged into the adapter and your Macbook.
Try different power outlets in case there’s an issue with a particular one.
2. Let the Mac charge for 30-60 minutes
Leave your Mac plugged in for at least half an hour before retrying to turn it on.
This gives the battery time to regain enough charge for a boot.
3. Listen for startup tones
When you press the power button, listen closely for any tones or chimes that indicate your Mac is attempting to boot.
No tones may signify a hardware problem.
4. Check the screen brightness
The screen may be set to the lowest brightness. Connect the Macbook to an external monitor to see if video appears there.
5. Reset SMC and PRAM
Resetting these firmware settings clears any glitches that could prevent powering up.
Resetting SMC and PRAM
Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) and Parameter RAM (PRAM) should be one of the first troubleshooting steps for a MacBook that won’t power on.
Here’s how to do this for different MacBook models:
For Intel-based MacBooks:
- SMC Reset – Shut down completely, then press and hold the left Shift, Control, and Option keys and the power button for 10 seconds. Release everything at once.
- PRAM Reset – Shut down, then power on and immediately hold Command + Option + P + R until you hear the startup chime again.
For M1 and M2 MacBook models:
- SMC Reset – Shut down completely, then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
- PRAM Reset – Shut down, then power on and immediately hold Command + Option + P + R until you see the Apple logo.
After resetting both, attempt to power on your MacBook normally and see if the issue is resolved.
Troubleshooting MacBook Battery Issues
In some cases, battery-related problems can prevent a MacBook from turning on. Here’s how to troubleshoot:
- Leave the MacBook plugged in for at least 8 hours to see if the battery charges sufficiently for a startup.
- Reset the SMC again after charging – this can clear battery management errors.
- Test with a known-good power adapter to ensure the battery is charging properly.
- If the battery is user-replaceable, remove it and attempt to power on solely from the adapter.
- If the battery is easily removable, test it in a working MacBook to see if the issue is with it.
- You may need professional repair to test or replace the built-in batteries.
Using Safe Mode or Recovery Mode
Safe Mode – Press and hold the Shift key after powering on. This loads basic drivers and disables certain software.
Recovery Mode – Press Command + R while powering on. You can reinstall macOS, run diagnostics, or backup files.
If your MacBook boots in one of these modes, it indicates the main startup issue is likely software or file system-related rather than a definitive hardware failure.
When to Seek Repair
If you’ve tried the above steps exhaustively without success, it’s likely time to seek professional repair:
- When pressing the power button, your MacBook shows no signs of life – no display, sounds, fans, etc. This often indicates a serious hardware problem or motherboard failure.
- You’ve reset SMC and PRAM multiple times to no avail. This rules out simple firmware issues.
- Safe mode and recovery mode fail to start up. This suggests a physical component failure.
- Visible damage like cracked logic board or frayed power connections. Physical problems require repair.
- Out-of-warranty models may need component-level diagnosis and replacement.
Seeking professional MacBook repair as soon as possible can help recover data and avoid losing more serious damage to components that happens over time.
Preventing Future Startup Issues
To help avoid your MacBook not turning on again, implement these preventative tips:
- Don’t leave your MacBook in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Heat and cold can damage components.
- Always eject external disks properly before powering off. Improper ejects can corrupt data.
- Keep your MacBook battery healthy. Don’t let it completely discharge too often.
- Install macOS updates promptly to fix bugs and security flaws.
- Use bootable backups so you can restore if the software is corrupted.
- If your MacBook is out of warranty, consider an extended warranty for added protection.
Here are some common questions about troubleshooting a MacBook that won’t turn on:
Ques 1: Why does my MacBook turn on but display nothing?
Ans: If the display is black, but you hear fans or see keyboard lights, it likely indicates a screen or graphics issue. Connect to an external monitor to test. Resetting SMC and PRAM can help.
Ques 2: What should I do if the liquid was spilled on my MacBook?
Ans: Liquid damage requires immediate professional repair. Power off, disconnect, and do not attempt to turn it on. Bring to a repair technician quickly.
Ques 3: Why does my MacBook suddenly shut off or freeze while using it?
Ans: Frequent crashes or shutdowns while in use can indicate hardware failure. Overheating can also cause freezes and shutdowns. Try an SMC reset first.
Ques 4: Why does my MacBook only work when plugged in?
Ans: A MacBook working on power but not battery indicates a bad battery needing replacement. Let the battery charge completely first. Also, reset SMC.
Ques 5: How can I access my files if my MacBook won’t boot up?
Ans: Connect the storage drive to another Mac using a cable or enclosure if possible. You can also boot to recovery mode to backup files to an external drive.
Troubleshooting a MacBook Pro that won’t turn on can be frustrating, but is often repairable with simple steps like charging, SMC and PRAM resets, Safe Mode, and targeted hardware replacement.
In rare liquid damage or catastrophic component failure cases, professional data recovery or repair may be the only option.
Backing up your data is always recommended to avoid losing important files.
With the appropriate triage, most startup issues can be mitigated and returned to your MacBook to smooth operation.