If your MacBook Pro won't charge, or the charger for your MacBook Air isn't working, getting things working can be a race against time as the battery drains. In this article we'll look at the possible reasons why your Mac laptop might not be charging, and how you can fix it.

We'll also look at what to do if your Apple laptop doesn't hold a charge - given that you should be able to get the advertised 10-hours use out of it.

Why won't my MacBook charge?

There could be a simple reason why your MacBook Air or Pro won't charge. Start off with these simple checks to establish what the issue is:

  1. We have to ask... Is the MacBook definitely plugged in? Disconnect the charging cable from the laptop and plug it in again.
  2. Check the plug socket too. Is the socket turned on? Have you tried using a different wall socket? We know all this sounds a bit basic, but double-check before you go any further.
  3. Make sure your power adaptor is connected properly. Each Apple laptop adaptor comes in two parts, the square adaptor and its removable plug that connects to the wall, and the charge cable. Pull the two apart and put them back together.
  4. What does your Apple adaptor look like? Is it in pristine condition or has it got any tears in the cable? Is the adaptor discoloured in any way? Does it look burnt out? If so, try a different adaptor (borrow one from a friend or ask at an Apple Store).

    Mac won't charge: check the adaptor

  5. Check the power port on your Apple laptop for dust. This can prevent the connector from making a clean connection to the Mac and stop you from charging it up correctly.
  6. Finally, click the battery icon in the Menu bar. If it says 'Service Battery' you probably need to get your battery replaced. The battery has aged and will no longer hold the charge that it once did.

Mac won't charge: check the battery service

Find out if your Mac's been recalled

Check to see if your Mac - specifically the battery - has been recalled. We have details of all Apple's product recalls here.

In the summer of 2019 Apple recalled some MacBook Pros due to concerns about the battery overheating. Click the link for information about the 15in MacBook Pro battery recall for units sold between 2015 and 2017. There was also a recall of 2016-2017 MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) models relating to a component failure causing the built-in battery to expand, details here.

Your Mac's charger might also be part of a recall. Apple has recalled some of its wall plugs over safety concerns, find out if yours is affected.

Having ruled out the above, you can start working through the more advanced fixes.

Reset the battery

The method you follow to reset the battery in your MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will be determined by the age of your Mac.

If it's old enough to have a removable battery (unlikely if was bought after 2012) you can actually remove the battery. After doing do, disconnect the power adapter and hold down the power key for 10 seconds before replacing the battery and then plugging the power adapter back in. Restarting the Mac should fix the problem.

But it's unlikely that your Mac has a removable battery, so how can you reset the battery? In this case you will need to reset the SMC, which stands for the System Management Controller, a chip on your Mac's logic board that controls the power. 

Reset the SMC

Resetting the SMC can help with battery and power related problems. These are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Shut down the MacBook.
  2. Connect the power adapter.
  3. Hold down Control + Shift+ Option/Alt and the Power button for about four seconds. Then release all four together.
  4. Press the Power button to start up the Mac again.

If you'd like to find out more, read out full tutorial on resetting the SMC. Also see: How to fix a Mac.

Mac battery failure

Get the Mac serviced

If the above advice doesn't help then you should take your MacBook to Apple (or an Apple reseller) for servicing and maybe even consider having the battery replaced.

You'll need to find out whether your Mac qualifies to be serviced by Apple. It depends on whether the Mac is still under warranty or if you have AppleCare. Here's how to check if you are covered:

  1. Click here to go to Apple's Service and Support website. 
  2. Enter your serial number (you can find it by clicking on the Apple menu > About This Mac).
  3. Prove you aren't a robot.

You will be taken to a page that explains what cover you have. In our case it indicates that Consumer Law May Apply and suggests we talk to an advisor.

MacBook service status

If you have Apple Cover, or your Mac is still within warranty then it is easy to set up a repair. Just go through the options here. We suggest Startup or Power > Charging tips or troubleshooting. You'll see options to Talk to Apple support, schedule a call, start a chat session, or bring in for repair. 

We have this article about getting a Mac repaired.

Battery running out too quickly

If your MacBook battery keeps losing its charge, of just doesn't hold its charge as long as it used to, you should check a few things.

The first port of call is to make sure that your settings aren't draining the battery (as detailed below), we also suggest that you check that the MacBook isn't part of a recall (as mentioned above).

  1. Open up System Preferences and choosing Settings > Energy Saver.
  2. Check that the Computer Sleep and Display Sleep sliders are not all the way to the right (set to Never).
  3. If they are, click the Default button to reset them.

Our final bit of advice would be to not leave your MacBook plugged in all the time. It's good practice to let your battery completely discharge and then recharge once in a while.

We have the following advice about improving battery life