What to do if your MacBook Pro won't turn on

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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Nothing causes that sinking feeling like when you boot up your MacBook Pro, and nothing happens. This will usually happen when you have a lot of study to do, an impending deadline, or an important email to send. Aren't these scenarios where things like this happen? Of course they are. Apple devices are known to be very reliable (reasonably, but their intentional designs like keyboards and such depending on the model/version, ensure less longevity, so you're buying a new one, but we won't go into that in this article ). Regardless of reputation, every device has issues at one time or another. In the case of macOS laptops, here's what to do if your MacBook Pro won't turn on.



This guide assumes you haven't made any recent changes to your MacBook Pro, such as adding or replacing RAM, or performing a major hardware change.

1. Check black/blank screen

When you initially tried to turn on your MacBook Pro, it didn't turn on at all, or the screen remained black? A black screen is a regular problem for laptops and is not limited to Apple. Before you do anything else, first make sure you haven't accidentally set the brightness to zero. There are two keys at the top of the keyboard that have sun icons. One is to darken the screen and the other is to brighten it. Although most laptops will not go black with this setting, it still needs to be confirmed. If the brightness does not affect the black screen, continue. Turn off the laptop, remove any peripherals you have attached, then turn it back on while listening carefully.



Do you hear purrs? Beeps? Fan noises? If you hear something but see nothing, it may be the screen and not the laptop. If you don't hear anything, you need to continue troubleshooting.

2. Boot into recovery mode

If you hear noises and receive feedback while performing actions, but the screen is black, you can try starting the MacBook in recovery mode to fix the issues it is having. To boot into recovery mode, press and hold the power button. If this action works, you should see the macOS utility screen.

If recovery mode was successful, restart your Macbook and it should start normally. Otherwise, keep reading; there may be other issues.

3. Check power connections

Plug your MacBook Pro charger into the laptop and the wall outlet. Check that both connections are tight. Make sure the power cord is not damaged. If nothing happens, try another wall outlet or check the one you're using with another device.

If the outlet works, check the power cord or adapter. If you're lucky enough to have a spare, give them a try. If you can borrow a spare for five minutes, do it. But first, promise not to break it because it's worth its weight in gold. If the laptop still does not work with another charger, continue troubleshooting.

Note: The charger used must match the OEM charger specifications for your specific model. There are at least a few different chargers. For example, the mid-2015 MacBook Pro uses an 85-watt charger.


Make sure you're using Apple-branded cables if possible. Some third-party charging cables do not have the correct amperage needed to properly power your device, or the wires are brittle inside and could be damaged. Using the charging cable and pad that came with your device may be the trick to powering up your computer.


4. Power cycle

The next step is to fully power cycle your MacBook Pro. Although it seems implied, it is very simple. All you have to do is hold down the power button for at least ten seconds. This action cuts all power to the laptop and is equivalent to removing the battery. You may hear a noise while you do this.

Once you hold down the power button, leave it for a few seconds and then press it again to start the MacBook Pro normally. If you are lucky, it will start successfully. Otherwise, the MacBook Pro still won't boot up and you'll have to read on.

5. Reset SMC

The SMC is the system management controller. It handles all the low-level functions of the Macbook Pro, such as the power button, screen, battery, fans, motion detection, keyboard, lights, and the like. Resetting the SMC is usually left for the last time as it resets many settings to their default values. If you've come this far without a successful boot, try resetting the SMC on your MacBook Pro.

  1. Unplug the laptop from the charger and peripherals.
  2. Hold down ā€œShift + Control + Optionā€ and " Powerful " button for ten seconds.
  3. Let go of all the keys and plug the charger back in.
  4. press the " Powerful " button to start your laptop.

If an SMC error was preventing the MacBook Pro from starting, it should now start normally. You'll have to reconfigure some hardware settings once it boots up successfully, but it's a small price to pay to get your laptop working again. This failure is undoubtedly better than a professional interview which takes time and costs money.



6. Remove the battery

If you're using an older MacBook Pro, it may have a removable battery. Check below to see if the battery is removable or not. You should see a small locking clip next to the battery if it pops out. To remove the paste, follow these steps:

  1. Undo the locking clip under your MacBook Pro.
  2. Lift the plastic flap to expose the battery.
  3. Pull the small tab to release the battery and remove it.
  4. 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 if you have a newer machine.

7. Unplug your accessories

It might sound strange, but if your MacBook is having trouble booting up properly, it's worth trying to boot it up with everything unplugged. All USB devices, printers or other connections should be temporarily unplugged. Once done, try restarting your MacBook by holding down the power button.

If your MacBook Pro still won't turn on, there's not much you can do at this point without voiding the warranty. It might be best to find the nearest Apple Store and let one of the techs take a look. What it can hopefully accomplish is get your laptop back to working order without affecting the warranty or making matters worse!

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