What to Do With a Dead MacBook

MacBooks tend to be very reliable but, as with all electronics, they can still go wrong. If you’ve got a dead MacBook on your hands, all the talk of reliability goes out the window: you want to fix it, right now.

So, what to do with a dead MacBook? How can you diagnose what’s wrong with it and then fix it? Where do you even start?

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how you can tell what’s wrong with your MacBook. We’ll look at a range of scenarios and identify their likely causes so that you can fix them yourself without going to a repair shop.

Are you ready to learn more and get your MacBook back in good working order? Then read on!

1. MacBook Not Turning on at All

If your MacBook shows zero signs of activity when you turn it on, there could be an issue with your Mac’s battery or power supply. The first thing you should do is check whether the power supply is connecting properly. Is it fitting snugly into the port on your Macbook, or is it loose?

If it’s loose, there might be dirt or dust inside the power port that’s preventing it from connecting properly. Grab a cotton swab and gently clean the power port out, making sure not to leave any cotton inside the port that could make the problem worse.

If this doesn’t solve the issue or if the power supply is fitting snugly, the power supply could be faulty. We’d recommend grabbing a multimeter and testing your power supply to see whether it’s actually, well, supplying power. If it doesn’t, then you’ll need a replacement.

While the battery could also be at fault, the laptop should still power up when plugged in, even if the battery is completely dead.

2. MacBook Only Works When Plugged in

If your MacBook only works when it’s plugged in, then there’s an issue with your battery. If you’re comfortable doing so, we’d recommend that you take a look inside the laptop and make sure that the battery connectors are still secure at each end.

If they are and the battery isn’t otherwise loose, the battery is probably at fault and needs replacing. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest MacBook repairs.

All you need to do is unscrew the battery, remove the connectors, fit the connectors onto the new battery, and then screw the new battery into place.

3. MacBook Won’t Load Up

If there isn’t a problem with your power supply but the Mac just won’t load up, there could be an issue with your laptop’s configuration. The first step you should take is to boot the Mac into safe mode.

To do this on most MacBooks, you need to hold shift while powering up your Mac. On newer M1-powered MacBooks, you instead need to hold down the power button until you get the startup options, then click on the startup disk, and hold shift down and hit “continue in safe mode.”

Safe mode limits the Mac’s boot process to its absolute essentials. If there’s a software issue causing your MacBook’s failure, then you should still be able to boot up into safe mode.

If the Mac does load, then you should consider resetting it to factory settings, as this should solve any software-related issues that you’re having. If you don’t know how to factory reset a MacBook, you need to hold down the command and R keys while you’re restarting, then follow the instructions.

4. Try to Reset the SMC

If you’ve not had any luck with our suggestions so far, you may want to try resetting the Mac’s System Management Controller (SMC). This can solve a lot of different issues and is always worth a shot.

To do this, you’ll need to turn your MacBook off and then follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the power cable and then reconnect it
  2. Press shift + ctrl + alt/option while pressing the power button
  3. Release all the keys and the button
  4. Restart the MacBook

If this doesn’t solve the issue, then there could be a hardware failure at work.

5. Dead MacBook Hard Drive

If the power supply is fine but the Mac won’t even boot into safe mode, you could have a problem with your hard drive or SSD. There are a few ways that you can diagnose a problem with your hard drive.

First off, does the Mac recognize the hard drive when it boots? If it doesn’t recognize the hard drive, this is a sign that something isn’t quite right. It could simply be that the cable is disconnected or it could mean a hardware failure.

If you hear any grinding noises, it could be a sign that there’s a problem with the hard drive’s head.

We’d recommend that you try to reinstall macOS and see whether the installer can recognize the disk. If it can’t, then the hard drive could well be completely dead.

Open up the bottom of the laptop and see whether the hard drive’s cables have come loose. If they have, reconnect them and try again. If they haven’t, then you should consider buying a replacement hard drive.

Resuscitating Your MacBook

We hope that one of our suggestions has fixed your dead MacBook. If you’ve not had any luck repairing your MacBook, then you may want to consider taking it to a repair shop.

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