[Easy fix] How to troubleshoot a MacBook that won’t turn on

If you’re reading this post, you are probably looking for answers to your own MacBook problem. Well, hopefully your case is not that serious so as to require repair in the end. We know for a fact that Macs are marketed as generally hassle-free machines. But just like any other computer, they can sometimes encounter problems out of nowhere. If your own MacBook is having trouble turning back on, read on. This may very well be the troubleshooting article you’re looking for!

Before we proceed to the main topic though, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Check the battery level

Before you do any serious checks, the first thing that you should perform is see an obvious, common reason why a laptop may not turn on — lack of battery power. If you were able to use your Mac before it died on you, it may have simply run out of juice at this time. Try charging it for at least 30-60 minutes before you attempt to power it back on. Lithium-based batteries like the one in your Mac continues to lose power even if you turn it off. If your laptop was not physically damaged or if there was no new modification done to its software before noticing the problem, there’s a chance it may have simply drained its battery.

Disconnect everything

Another good simple troubleshooting step to do is to see if one of the connected accesories is causing a boot error. If your Mac has multiple devices connected to it like USB flash drives, external hard drives, etc., try to disconnect all of them, including Bluetooth devices.

Once you’ve unplugged everything, hold down the Power button for at least 10 seconds. While still holding the Power button, connect the power cable and continue pressing the Power button for 10 more seconds. This special way of rebooting a Mac is often effective in dealing with situation wherein the system has frozen or has become unresponsive and the battery is not removable. If you have an older MacBook with removable battery, disconnecting the battery should be a better option.

Verify if charging accessories are working

One of the common reasons why Macbooks fail to turn on is due to uncharged battery. No, it’s not because you failed to charge it but rather, a charging accessory may be defective. If you have another set of charging cable and adapter, swap the current set with that one and charge your Mac to 30-60 minutes. Keep in mind that even if an accessory looks perfectly normal, it can still hide a defect internally. For example, the USB cable may had been damaged internally, causing a break in one of the critical wire threads inside. On the outside, the cable may look normal and free of defects but the cut of a wire thread inside may be causing incorrect power inputs to the adapter.

Another good thing to check in this case is the possibility of a faulty power outlet. If you tend to charge your Mac in the same outlet all the time, try to charge it to another outlet in your house. Alternatively, you can plug in a different device to the same outlet to verify if it’s working or not.

Check if it’s a display issue

In some cases, the main reason why your Mac may appear dead is not really due to a motherboard issue but a malfunctioning screen; you should distinguish between a No Power issue and No Display issue. To know if it’s a No Display issue, try to look out for these indicators:

  • Mac makes a sound/beep,
  • keyboard is lit
  • internal fan is working

If all or any of these items are present, then you can bet you have a display issue at hand.

If all of these indicators are absent, that means your Mac is completely dead and may be having a logic board failure. In that case, you’ll most likely end up sending it in for repair.

Restart your MacBook to Safe Mode

Like Windows machines, you can actually try to boot your Mac to Safe Mode to see if it wakes up or turns on. Safe Mode only runs the most basic functions and programs to run so if your Mac boots to it, that’s a good sign. It may mean that there’s a software or content issue preventing the operating system from loading normally. In Safe Mode, you can do some diagnostics to hopefully identify the culprit.

To see if your Mac can boot to Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Power button while holding down Shift.
  2. Release the Shift key after login dialogue shows up.

Reset the System Management Controller Firmware (SMC)

The next good thing to do in this case is to reset the system management controller (SMC) firmware on your Mac. System Management Controller handles a lot of basic but critical functions in your Mac like its battery settings, Power button functions, and display options. It’s possible the SMC may have become buggy so resetting it may work. Resetting the SMC can vary depending on your device.

If your MacBook has a removable battery, here’s how:

  1. Take out the battery.
  2. Press and hold Power button for about 5 seconds.
  3. Re-insert the battery and press Power button again.

If your MacBook has a non-removable battery, here’s how:

  1. Turn off your Mac and plug in the power cord.
  2. Press Shift+Control+Option, then press Power button.
  3. Hold the keys for about 10 seconds.
  4. Release the keys.
  5. Press Power as you would normally start your Mac.

Restore From Recovery Mode

If nothing has worked at this point but your Mac appears to still power on, consider restoring its operating system via Recovery Mode. Recovery Mode has actually four usable options in this situation: Time Machine, OS reinstall, Disk Utility, apps.

To boot your Mac to Recovery Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple menu and click on Restart.
  2. Wait for the startup sound then press and hold Command + R.
  3. Wait until the Apple logo shows up. It may take some time to load all the utilities.

Contact Apple support

If you Mac happens to have No Power issue, won’t respond to any button combinations to load Safe Mode/Recovery Mode, or has a display issue, it means that you have a hardware malfunction. We suggest that you let Apple fix your machine even if it’s no longer covered by a warranty to ensure that only Apple trained technician touches it.


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