What to Do if Your MacBook Pro Won’t Turn On
Nothing causes that sinking feeling like when you need to boot up your MacBook Pro, and nothing happens. It usually occurs when you have to study, have a deadline looming, or have an important email to send. Aren’t those scenarios when things like that happen? Of course, they are.
Apple devices are known for being very reliable. No matter the reputation, every device has issues at one point or another.
This guide assumes you have not made any recent changes to your MacBook Pro, such as adding or replacing RAM, or made any significant hardware modifications. In the case of macOS laptops, here is what to do if your MacBook Pro won’t turn on.
1. Check for Black/Blank Screen
When you initially tried to turn on your MacBook Pro, did it not turn on at all, or did the screen stay black?
A black screen is a common laptop problem and is not restricted to Apple. Before you do anything else, ensure you didn’t accidentally set the brightness to zero.
- There are two keys along the top of the keyboard with sun icons on them. One is to darken the display, and the other is to brighten it. Although most laptops won’t go black with this setting, it still needs to be confirmed. If the brightness does not affect the black screen, move on. Turn off the laptop, remove all attached peripherals, and turn it on again while listening carefully.
Do you hear any whirring? Any beeps? Fan noises? If you hear something but see nothing, it may be the screen, not the laptop. If you hear nothing, you need to troubleshoot further.
2. Boot to Recovery Mode
If you hear noises and receive feedback while performing actions, but the screen is black, you can try to boot the MacBook into Recovery Mode to repair any issues it’s having.
- To boot into Recovery Mode, press the Command + R keyboard combination. If this action works, you should see the macOS utility screen.
If Recovery Mode was successful, reboot your MacBook, and it should start normally. If not, continue reading; there may be other issues.
3. Check Power Connections
Plug your MacBook Pro charger into the laptop and the wall socket. Verify both connections are tight. Ensure the power cord isn’t damaged. If nothing happens, try a different wall socket or check the one you’re using with another device.
If the outlet works, check the power cord or adapter. If you can borrow a spare for five minutes, do that. If the laptop still doesn’t work with a different charger, continue troubleshooting.
Note: The charger used should match the specs of the OEM charger for your specific model.
Make sure that you’re using Apple-branded cables, if possible. Some third-party charging cables do not have the correct amperage needed to power your device correctly, or the wires are brittle inside and could be damaged. Using the cable and charging block that came with your device may be the trick to getting your computer turned on.
4. Perform a Power Cycle
The next step involves performing a complete power cycle of your MacBook Pro. Although this may seem counterintuitive, this is a simple solution that works most of the time.
- All you need to do is plug your MacBook into its charger and hold down the power button for a minimum of ten seconds. This action cuts all power to the laptop and is the equivalent of removing the battery. You may hear a noise as you do this.
- Once you have held down the power button and released it, leave it off for a few seconds and then press it again to start the MacBook Pro as usual.
If you’re fortunate, it will boot successfully. If not, the MacBook Pro will still fail to start, and you’ll need to keep reading.
5. Reset the SMC (Pre-2018)
The SMC is the System Management Controller. It manages all the low-level functions of the Macbook Pro, such as the power button, display, battery, fans, motion sensing, keyboard, indicator lights, and other similar elements. Resetting the SMC is usually left until last as it resets many settings back to their defaults. If you have gotten this far without a successful boot, try resetting the SMC on your MacBook Pro.
- Unplug the laptop from the charger and peripherals.
- Hold down Shift + Control + Option and the power button for ten seconds.
- Let go of all keys and reconnect the charger.
- Then, press the power button to boot your laptop.
If an SMC error was causing the MacBook Pro not to boot, it should now boot normally. You will have to reconfigure some hardware settings once it successfully starts up, but it is a small price to pay for getting your laptop working again. This setback is undoubtedly better than professional maintenance, which takes time and costs money.
Reset the SMC with T2 Chip
In 2018, Apple integrated the SMC and T2 chip. So, the instructions are slightly different on newer Macbook Pros. Here’s what to do:
- Ensure your Macbook is powered down completely.
- Press the Control, Option, and Shift keys for seven seconds.
- While holding the existing three keys, hold the Power key too. Hold for 7 seconds and release the keys.
- Now, click the Power key again to turn on your Macbook.
6. Remove the Battery
If you’re using an older MacBook Pro, it may have a removable battery. Check underneath to see if the battery is removable or not. You should see a small locking clip next to the battery if it comes out. To remove the battery, do the following:
- Undo the locking clip underneath your MacBook Pro.
- Lift the plastic flap to expose the battery.
- Pull the small tab to release the battery and remove it.
- Reverse the process to reinsert or replace the battery or replace the flap and clip.
A newer MacBook Pro will not have a removable battery, so this procedure will not be relevant to you if you own one.
7. Unplug Your Accessories
It may sound strange, but if your MacBook has trouble booting up properly, it’s worth trying to boot it with everything unplugged.
Any USB devices, printers, or other connections should be temporarily unplugged. Once done, try to reboot your MacBook by pressing and holding the power button.
If your MacBook Pro still won’t turn on, there is very little you can do at this point without voiding the warranty. It may be better to find your nearest Apple Store and let one of the technicians take a look. Hopefully, the experts can get your laptop working again without affecting the warranty or potentially making things worse!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s no fun when you have computer issues, especially issues that hinder you from working or making progress on a project. If you have more questions about your MacBook, keep reading for the answers.
Where is the power button on the new MacBook Pro?
Apple’s newest MacBook Pro is quite different from other models. The once physical keys at the top of the keyboard are now a sleek touch-sensitive pad. The changes also impacted the power button. Whereas users are familiar with Apple’s power icon, easily identifying which button turns their computer on, this no longer exists.
However, the power button’s location remains unchanged, but on the newer MacBook Pro, the power button also acts as the fingerprint scanner.
What can I do if none of these solutions work for me?
If you’ve tried all of our steps and your MacBook Pro still won’t turn on, your next step should be to contact Apple for additional support. The Apple Support team is quite helpful and available 24/7.
If you’d like to check your warranty coverage, visit this link. You will need your MacBook’s serial number to check for its warranty. The serial number is located on the back of the bottom of your machine in small print, so if you can’t power your device on, check there first.
Will Apple still help me if my MacBook is out of warranty?
Yes! Although it may cost you some money, Apple’s technicians are certified to work on your MacBook, and they have OEM parts (whereas not all third-party repair shops have access to parts specifically made for Apple devices).
If you’re concerned about the price of an after-warranty repair, it’s best to contact Apple first. But beware, if your device is damaged (liquid or physical), the quoted cost may be higher upon inspection.
Given their cost, it’s always a hassle when a MacBook won’t power up. If this happens to you, follow the steps above, or take it to a reputable repair shop or Apple Store if it’s still under warranty. Hopefully, a simple fix is all you need to have your MacBook Pro up and running again.
Share your thoughts and experiences on MacBook Pros not powering up below.