Does Your New 16-inch MacBook Pro Have Charging Issues? It’s Not Just You

Here’s the quick solution for MagSafe charging issues.
New MacBook Pro Charging via MagSafe Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock
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If you’ve encountered problems with your new MagSafe-equipped MacBook Pro not taking a charge, you may be happy to know that you’re not alone.

Numerous users on Reddit have reported issues with their new 16-inch MacBook Pro failing to charge when the lid is closed, suggesting that not everything is as it should be with Apple’s new MagSafe charging system.

According to the original poster on Reddit, plugging in the MagSafe adapter while the MacBook is shut down with the lid closed results in the LED flickering on and off and failing to deliver a charge.

Dozens of other new MacBook owners quickly chimed in to note that they’ve been experiencing the same issue. Calls to Apple Support have so far resulted in only temporary solutions.

For instance, the person who started the thread indicated that they were told to shut down their MacBook, start it up again in recovery mode, and then reboot again back to normal operation. This apparently resolved the problem for a while, but the problem later returned.

Another Redditor responded, saying that they took their new MacBook Pro into an Apple Store, where a technician tested with another cable and charger and determined it had the same problem. In this case, the Apple Genius offered to order one of the new 140W chargers to see if that would address the issue, but suggested it was most likely a firmware issue.

The same user received a follow-up call from Apple Support the next day, and after running a special diagnostic program provided by Apple, was told that their MacBook Pro would be swapped out for a new one. This suggests the issue is related to a hardware defect, although the Redditor is still waiting for that to happen.

Which MacBooks Are Affected?

From the reports, it appears that the issue is limited to the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, as several 14-inch owners have chimed in to say that they’re not experiencing the issue.

The specific configuration doesn’t seem to make a difference otherwise, however, with users reporting both M1 Pro and M1 Max-equipped models are having the same problem.

Notably, it’s not a terribly serious concern for most users, as it only seems to occur when the MacBook Pro is powered completely off and the lid is closed. Even then, it seems that attaching the MagSafe cable before shutting down the MacBook should be enough to allow it to continue charging.

MacBook MagSafe Charging Quick Solution

While Apple Support notes that it’s aware of the issue, and it’s investigating, it adds that doing any one of the following should ensure everything works properly:

  1. Charge the computer while in sleep mode.
  2. Charge the computer with the lid open.
  3. Attach the MagSafe cable first, before shutting down the computer.

From the above, it seems like the only case in which you’re likely to encounter this problem is in cases where you’ve shut down your MacBook Pro and closed the lid before plugging it in.

This could certainly happen when returning home from a trip, making it somewhat inconvenient to charge the MacBook Pro, but as long as you run the system in sleep mode rather than shutting it down, you should have no difficulty plugging it in and charging it normally.

Further, the stellar battery life of Apple’s latest MacBooks makes it unlikely that you’d end up with a complete shutdown before you had a chance to hit a charger.

Although we haven’t heard of such charging problems in years, that may be partly because Apple reverted to USB-C Thunderbolt ports to charge its MacBooks about five years ago. USB-C is a fairly well-defined charging standard, whereas MagSafe is Apple’s own invention.

In fact, it wasn’t uncommon to have the occasional charging issue like this with prior MagSafe-equipped MacBooks. While it certainly wasn’t as common as what we’re seeing here, there is a sort of “handshake” that occurs within the MagSafe connector. The flashing amber LED usually indicates that the MacBook and its charger failed to negotiate the proper charging protocols somewhere along the way.

In the past, this has either been an indication of a faulty charger or a problem with the MacBook’s System Management Controller (SMC), necessitating a somewhat convoluted reset procedure on Intel-based Macs. On Apple Silicon Macs, however, this happens simply by rebooting the computer, which is likely by the Redditor was instructed to boot into recovery mode and back.

In this case, however, it looks like there could be a deeper hardware issue, so if you’re affected by this, it may be worth a call to Apple Support, or a visit to your local Apple Store, to find out what your options are. After all, even if this doesn’t affect the way you charge your MacBook Pro, there’s always the possibility it could manifest itself in other ways in the future.

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