Most Common Problems with MacBooks and How to Fix Them

Are you facing problems with your MacBook? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. MacBooks, while powerful devices, can encounter a range of issues. From unresponsive keyboards to display problems and startup glitches, these common MacBook problems can be frustrating. But before you rush to the Apple Store, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix these problems yourself.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through some of the most common problems with MacBooks and provide step-by-step solutions to fix them. Whether it’s charging issues, flashing power LEDs, startup disk problems, or keyboard malfunctions, we’ve got you covered. By following our troubleshooting tips, you can save time and money by resolving these problems on your own.

Key Takeaways:

  • MacBooks can encounter various hardware and software issues.
  • Troubleshooting common MacBook problems can be done without professional help.
  • By following our step-by-step solutions, you can fix charging, startup, keyboard, and display issues.
  • It’s important to exhaust free troubleshooting options before seeking professional repair or contacting Apple Support.
  • Remember to back up your data regularly to minimize the impact of hardware or software issues.

Mac Won’t Charge or Turn On

If you’re facing the frustrating issue of your MacBook not charging or turning on, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try before seeking professional help. Here are some tips to get your Mac up and running again:

  • Power Button Reset: Hold the power button until the screen goes blank and then press the button again. This can sometimes kickstart the charging process or fix any temporary issues causing the device not to turn on.
  • Reset NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC: Resetting these system management controllers can help resolve charging problems. Instructions for performing these resets can be found on Apple’s support website.
  • Check Battery Cycle Count: You can verify the battery’s health by checking its cycle count. High cycle counts indicate that the battery might need to be replaced. You can find this information in the System Report under “Power” in the “Hardware” section.
  • Check Power Adapter and Cable: Test your power adapter and cable on another Mac to rule out any issues with them. It’s also essential to ensure there are no power problems in your home, such as faulty outlets or power surges.

If none of these steps resolve the issue, there might be a problem with the logic board, which would require a physical repair. In such cases, it’s advisable to reach out to Apple or an authorized service provider for further assistance.

Common Causes and Solutions for Mac Not Charging or Turning On

Issue Cause Solution
MacBook not charging Faulty power adapter or cable Try a different power adapter and cable
MacBook not turning on System management controller issues Reset NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC
High battery cycle count Worn-out battery Consider replacing the battery
No power in the house Power outlet or surge issues Check power supply and test on another Mac
Logic board failure Hardware issue Contact Apple or authorized service provider

No one wants to be left with a MacBook that won’t charge or turn on. Hopefully, these troubleshooting steps and solutions help you get your Mac back in working order without the need for professional intervention.

Flashing Power LED or Audio Warnings

If you notice a flashing power LED or hear audio warnings on your MacBook, it could be an indication of hardware issues. Fortunately, you can use Apple’s built-in hardware diagnostics tool to identify and troubleshoot the problem. To access the diagnostics tool, simply hold down the “D” key while turning on your machine.

Once you enter the hardware diagnostics mode, the tool will check various components of your Mac, such as the RAM, logic board, and other internal hardware. If you hear loud tones during startup, it may suggest that the RAM has failed to pass an integrity check. In this case, you can try resetting the individual RAM modules to see if the issue gets resolved.

It’s worth noting that newer Mac machines have made it more difficult to access the RAM modules. If you are unsure about performing any troubleshooting steps yourself, it’s best to consult with a professional or reach out to Apple Support for further assistance.

Troubleshooting Steps for Flashing Power LED or Audio Warnings

Step Description
1 Hold down the “D” key while turning on your MacBook to access the hardware diagnostics tool.
2 Follow the on-screen instructions to perform a comprehensive check of your Mac’s hardware components.
3 If you hear loud tones during startup, try resetting the individual RAM modules.
4 If the issue persists or you are uncomfortable troubleshooting it yourself, seek assistance from a professional or Apple Support.

By utilizing the hardware diagnostics tool and following the troubleshooting steps, you can identify and potentially resolve the flashing power LED or audio warning issues on your MacBook.

Mac Starts Up to a Question Mark

If your Mac displays a folder with a flashing question mark during booting, it indicates a problem with the startup disk. Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered with some troubleshooting steps to fix this issue.

To start, enter macOS Recovery mode by holding down the Cmd + R keys on an Intel-based Mac or by pressing and holding the power button, choosing Options, and clicking Continue on an Apple silicon Mac. Once you’re in Recovery Mode, use Disk Utility to check the startup disk for errors and repair them if necessary.

If Disk Utility doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to reinstall macOS in Recovery Mode. This will replace the operating system without affecting your personal files. It’s always a good idea to back up your data before proceeding with any reinstallations.

By following these steps, you should be able to resolve the issue of your Mac starting up to a question mark. Remember to check your startup disk for errors, repair them if needed, and consider reinstalling macOS if the problem persists. If you’re unsure or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Apple Support for help.

Mac Doesn’t Start Up All the Way

If you’re experiencing a Mac that doesn’t boot or a gray screen on startup, don’t panic. There are troubleshooting steps you can take to get your Mac up and running smoothly again. One option is to enter macOS Safe Mode, which can help identify and resolve issues with the operating system or problematic startup items.

To enter Safe Mode, simply press and hold the Shift key on Intel-based Macs or press and hold the power button along with the Shift key on Apple silicon Macs. This will disable third-party extensions and fonts, clear font caches, and perform a basic check of your startup disk. If your Mac starts up successfully in Safe Mode, it indicates that there may be a software conflict or incompatible startup item causing the issue.

While in Safe Mode, you can use Disk Utility to fix disk permissions or repair a corrupt file system. This can help resolve any issues related to the startup disk. If you’re still unable to reach the desktop even in Safe Mode, there are ways to recover critical files from a Mac that won’t boot. You can use external drives or bootable recovery software to access your files and transfer them to another device for safekeeping.

In summary, if your Mac doesn’t start up all the way or you encounter a gray screen on startup, entering macOS Safe Mode can be a helpful troubleshooting step. From there, you can use Disk Utility to fix disk permissions or recover critical files. Remember to exhaust these troubleshooting options before considering professional repair or contacting Apple Support.

MacBook Screen Flickering and Other Display Issues

If you’re experiencing screen flickering, no display backlight, or any other screen issues with your MacBook, don’t panic. There are several troubleshooting steps you can take to try and resolve these problems on your own.

First, check if the screen brightness is turned down by adjusting it in the Display settings. If that doesn’t work, try reverting to the factory display settings by going to System Preferences and choosing the Displays option. This can help reset any display configurations that may be causing the flickering or backlight issues.

If the problem persists, you can try troubleshooting in Safe Mode. Boot your MacBook into Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key while restarting the computer. In Safe Mode, you can change screen mirroring options and connect external displays to see if the issue is specific to your MacBook’s built-in display.

“Sometimes, display issues can be caused by faulty trackpads or mouse problems. Make sure to check for any issues with these peripherals as well.”

If none of these steps solve the problem, it’s possible that there could be a hardware issue with your MacBook’s display. In this case, it may be necessary to seek professional repair or contact Apple Support for assistance.

Common Display Issues

Here are some common display issues that MacBook users may encounter:

  • Screen flickering or flashing
  • No display backlight
  • Black or gray screen
  • Unresponsive or jittery trackpad
  • Mouse cursor issues

Troubleshooting Tips

To troubleshoot display issues on your MacBook, try the following:

  1. Adjust the screen brightness in the Display settings
  2. Revert to factory display settings
  3. Boot into Safe Mode and check for specific display issues
  4. Test external displays and peripherals for any compatibility issues
  5. Contact Apple Support for further assistance if needed
Issue Troubleshooting Steps
Screen flickering or flashing Adjust screen brightness
Revert to factory display settings
No display backlight Check screen brightness settings
Test with external displays
Black or gray screen Boot into Safe Mode
Test with external displays
Unresponsive or jittery trackpad Check for mouse or trackpad issues
Reset trackpad settings
Mouse cursor issues Check for mouse or trackpad issues
Adjust mouse settings

Physical or Liquid Damage

Accidents happen, and if your MacBook has suffered physical or liquid damage, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent further harm. Here are some steps you can take to address these issues:

  1. First, turn off your computer and disconnect it from power to avoid any potential electrical damage.
  2. If possible, remove the back cover to allow any liquid to drain and give your MacBook a chance to dry. Be careful not to touch any internal components.
  3. Keep in mind that liquid damage is not covered by Apple’s warranty. However, if you have purchased AppleCare+, it may cover accidental physical damage. Check the terms and conditions for more information.
  4. It’s a good idea to disconnect any devices or accessories that may have been affected by the liquid and have them checked by Apple Support to prevent any further damage.

“The best way to prevent liquid damage is to be cautious and avoid exposing your MacBook to liquids. However, accidents can still happen, so it’s important to know what steps to take if your device does come into contact with liquid.”

Remember that prevention is key when it comes to liquid damage. Always be cautious around liquids and keep your MacBook away from any potential sources of spills. Taking these steps and seeking professional help if needed will increase the chances of a successful repair and minimize the impact of any physical or liquid damage your MacBook may have suffered.

MacBook Liquid Damage: Dos and Don’ts

Do Don’t
  • Turn off your MacBook immediately
  • Disconnect the power source
  • Remove any peripherals
  • Wipe off excess liquid gently
  • Keep your MacBook upside down to let liquid drain
  • Seek professional help if needed
  • Don’t panic
  • Don’t attempt to turn on your MacBook
  • Don’t try to dry it with heat sources
  • Don’t touch any internal components
  • Don’t use a hairdryer
  • Don’t wait too long to seek assistance

Keyboard Not Working, Stuck Keys, or Keys Auto-Repeating

If you’re experiencing issues with your MacBook’s keyboard, such as keys not working, getting stuck, or auto-repeating, there are several troubleshooting steps you can try before seeking professional assistance. Here are some tips to help you fix these keyboard problems:

  • Check for debris: Dust and small particles can accumulate beneath the keys and cause them to stick or malfunction. Gently clean the keyboard using compressed air or a soft brush.
  • Restart your MacBook: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve keyboard issues. Turn off your MacBook, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back on.
  • Adjust keyboard settings: You can adjust the Key Repeat speed in the System Preferences to fix issues with keys auto-repeating. Experiment with different settings to find the one that works best for you.
  • Reset the Bluetooth module: If you’re using a wireless keyboard, resetting the Bluetooth module may help resolve connectivity issues. Go to System Preferences, select Bluetooth, and click on the “Reset the Bluetooth module” option.

If you have a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard and are experiencing persistent problems, you may be eligible for a repair under Apple’s Keyboard Service Program. You can check if your MacBook qualifies for this program on Apple’s support website. Alternatively, you can download the Unshaky tool, which helps dismiss multiple key presses that may occur with butterfly keyboards.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can often resolve keyboard issues on your MacBook without the need for professional assistance. However, if the problems persist or you’re unsure about performing the troubleshooting steps, it’s always recommended to reach out to Apple Support or visit an authorized service provider for further assistance.

Peripherals Not Working

If you’re experiencing issues with your Mac’s peripherals, such as external devices not working properly, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the problem.

First, try disconnecting and reconnecting the external devices. Sometimes, a loose connection can cause the peripherals to stop working. Additionally, check the settings on the peripheral device itself to ensure that it’s properly configured and recognized by your Mac.

If the issue persists, try connecting the malfunctioning peripherals to another computer to determine if the problem is with the device itself or your Mac. If the peripherals work on another computer, it may indicate a hardware issue with your Mac that requires professional repair.

Keep in mind that it’s important to rule out any software-related issues as well. Ensure that you have the latest drivers and firmware for your peripherals installed. If necessary, visit the manufacturer’s website to download any updates or troubleshooting guides specifically for your devices.


  • Disconnect and reconnect external devices
  • Check settings on the peripheral devices
  • Test malfunctioning peripherals on another computer
  • Ensure up-to-date drivers and firmware
  • Consider professional repair if the issue persists

Mac Restarts After a Kernel Panic Message

If your Mac restarts after displaying a kernel panic message, it indicates a problem with your Mac’s software or hardware. Kernel panics can occur due to software conflicts, incompatible drivers, or hardware issues. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve unexpected restarts:

Step 1: Restart Your Mac

Start by restarting your Mac. Sometimes, a temporary glitch or software hiccup can cause a kernel panic. Restarting the computer may resolve the issue and prevent further kernel panics.

Step 2: Check the Panic Log File

After a kernel panic, your Mac creates a panic log file that provides information about the crash. You can find this log file on the desktop or in the Library folder. Reviewing the panic log can help identify the underlying cause of the kernel panic.

Step 3: Troubleshoot macOS Software Problems

If the kernel panics persist, you may need to troubleshoot macOS software problems. Start by updating your macOS to the latest version. Outdated software can sometimes cause conflicts that lead to kernel panics. Additionally, you can run a disk utility like Disk Utility’s First Aid to repair any disk errors that may be contributing to the issue.

For more in-depth troubleshooting, you can try creating a new user account, which can help determine if the issue is specific to your user profile. Alternatively, you can use third-party diagnostic tools like EtreCheck to identify software conflicts or misconfigurations.

Step 4: Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried the above steps and are still experiencing kernel panics, it may be time to contact Apple Support. They can provide further assistance and guide you through more advanced troubleshooting steps. In some cases, the issue may require professional repair or hardware replacement.

Step Description
Step 1 Restart Your Mac
Step 2 Check the Panic Log File
Step 3 Troubleshoot macOS Software Problems
Step 4 Contact Apple Support

By following these steps, you can diagnose and resolve kernel panics on your Mac. Remember to always keep your software up to date and perform regular maintenance to minimize the chances of encountering kernel panics in the future.

Mac Startup Triage

If you’re facing issues with your Mac’s startup, don’t worry. There are several troubleshooting steps you can take to identify and resolve the problem. By following these methods, you can save time and potentially avoid costly repairs or contacting Apple Support. Let’s dive into the Mac startup triage process.

Power-cycling the Mac

Start by power-cycling your Mac. Shut it down completely, disconnect any peripherals, and unplug the power cord. After a few minutes, plug everything back in and power it on. This simple step can help resolve minor glitches and initialize a fresh startup.

Boot in Safe Mode and Use Recovery Mode

If power-cycling doesn’t work, try booting your Mac in Safe Mode. This mode disables unnecessary software and runs a basic version of macOS, allowing you to troubleshoot startup issues. To enter Safe Mode, restart your Mac and hold down the Shift key until the Apple logo appears.

If Safe Mode doesn’t solve the problem, you can use Recovery Mode to repair your startup disk or reinstall macOS. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R until the Apple logo or a spinning globe appears. From there, you can use Disk Utility to repair disk errors or reinstall macOS.

Hardware Diagnostics

To rule out any hardware issues, run Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test. Turn off your Mac and then turn it on while holding down the D key. Follow the on-screen instructions to perform a hardware scan and identify any potential problems. This step can help diagnose issues with your Mac’s hardware components.


If you’re still experiencing startup problems, resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) and computer’s non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM) or parameter random-access memory (PRAM) may help. The SMC controls power-related functions, while the NVRAM/PRAM stores certain settings. Instructions for resetting these can vary slightly depending on your Mac model, so refer to Apple’s official support documentation for detailed steps.

Disk Utility’s First Aid

In case of disk errors, use Disk Utility’s First Aid feature to check and repair your startup disk. Boot your Mac in Recovery Mode by restarting and holding down Command + R. From the macOS Utilities window, select Disk Utility and choose your startup disk. Click on First Aid and follow the on-screen instructions to scan and fix any issues with your disk.

Additional Troubleshooting Steps

If the above methods haven’t resolved the problem, you can try creating a new user account, running EtreCheck for diagnosing Mac issues, or reinstalling macOS completely. These steps should be considered as the last resort, as they require more advanced troubleshooting and may result in data loss. Make sure to back up your important files before proceeding.


Congratulations on troubleshooting common MacBook problems like a pro! By following these tips and fixes, you can save time and money by resolving issues yourself. Remember, before seeking professional repair or reaching out to Apple Support, exhaust the free troubleshooting options available to you.

We covered a range of common MacBook problems, including charging and startup issues, display and keyboard malfunctions, liquid damage concerns, and more. Whether your MacBook won’t turn on, has a flashing power LED, or encounters kernel panics, there are steps you can take to diagnose and resolve the problems.

Don’t forget to make use of the built-in macOS tools like the hardware diagnostics, Disk Utility, and Recovery Mode. These can help you identify and rectify hardware and software-related issues. Also, consider preventive measures such as regular keyboard maintenance and protecting your MacBook from liquid damage, as prevention is always better than a costly repair.

Thanks for reading and happy troubleshooting! If you have any further questions or require additional assistance, feel free to reach out to Apple Support or consult a professional technician.