MacBook Air Not Charging? Try this Amazing Fix!

by Michael Sheehan on December 17, 2013

in Apple, Consumer Electronics, Fix It, Gadgets, General, How To, HTD Tech Tip

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I have an older MacBook Air and absolutely love it. It has performed flawlessly and is well used by me and my kids. However, I have had a lingering issue that has appeared every few months or so that has often left me scratching my head. Sometimes, when I plug in my 45 watt power supply, the little green light on the MagSafe doesn’t come on and the MacBook Air doesn’t charge. And, it seems that this is a problem that others have encountered. So I wanted to share a couple of solutions that may help resolve this issue, one of which worked for me – and you will be absolutely SHOCKED at what the solution was!

nest-charger

Before I give away the trick that worked for me, I thought that I would share another fix that you should at least attempt prior to doing the one that work. That way, you can still say that you “tried all of the recommended fixes.”

Reset your System Management Controller (SMC)

Sometimes your MacBook may show odd issues like a racing fan despite no heavy usage or the battery appearing to not charge properly. If this happens, you might want to reset your System Management Controller (SMC) which is a very easy process. Here are the exact instructions from the Apple Support Knowledgebase:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer. 
    Note
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Unfortunately, this fix did not work for me. My charger was not showing as green or amber or any color for that matter. And my MacBook Air was not charging.

The Fix that “Warms” your Heart

So despite trying to fix the charging (or lack thereof) issue using a documented Apple process, I turned to the Apple Support forums and found a solution that, when you read it, you are not going to believe.

It turns out that the 45W charger needs some tender loving care when it is cold. That’s right, if the square part (shown below) is cold, for one reason or another, it won’t work.

macbook-air-charger

I’m not sure if newer power supplies have corrected this issue, but with my older MacBook Air with the original power supply, the following “heating” trick worked. The fix is easy.

  1. Plug in your charger to the wall/surge protector and into your MacBook Air.
  2. Take the square portion (that normally heats up when it is charging) and warm it up. I simply sat on it on the bed for a while. Some people have put it under their armpit.
  3. Sit and watch for the light on the MagSafe connector to magically turn on after a few minutes.
  4. Rejoice that there is, indeed, a technology god!

I was completely skeptical about this fix but I figured that I would test it out. I simply sat on the “brick” like a hen for about 5 minutes or so while I continued to search for other solutions. Then, to my amazement, the MagSafe charging light turned on and my MacBook Air was actually charging!

Wow!

So, if you encounter this issue where your MagSafe 45W MacBook Air power supply is not charging your MacBook Air, it simply could mean that the brick part is feeling a bit cold. Warm it up for a few minutes and see if it becomes happy again.

Leave a comment to let me know if this worked for you!

HTD says: Sometimes the most non-technical of solutions can fix your IT problems!

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  • Janet

    You’re right! I’ve had the same difficulty this winter with my MacAir charger and noticed that the problem occurred only when the charger was plugged into a wall that isn’t well insulated and tends to get cold, whereas no problem when the charger was plugged into an outlet near baseboard heat. Thank you!

  • http://www.hightechdad.com hightechdad

    I have actually tried using a hairdryer recently, which also worked and sped up the process. Just be sure to not overheat the brick!

  • Todd

    Thank you so much. I can’t believe this actually worked. Saved me a trip to the apple store and all that exposure to smug. I’m sure they would have tried to sell me an expensive replacement adapter.

  • jb

    Yes, this worked for me. I still think I have an issue with the battery. However, I am now able to backup my data. Thanks.

  • v

    i have my mid 2011 mba. today it wasn’t charging for the first time ever. heating helped. Thanx

  • Uzair Rahim

    Thanks!! Simply rubbing the connector worked for me

  • CJ

    Worked perfectly for me, makes total sense too.

    The metal connectors will expand when hot, this pushes against their fixings and over time the parts move position.
    Once they have moved far enough they will no longer touch when cold so the charger won’t work.

    Warming it up a little re-expands the connectors far enough to make them touch and get the charger working, at which point the heat it generates on its own will keep it hot.

  • http://www.hightechdad.com hightechdad

    That makes a lot of sense to me! Thanks for the explanation!

  • Dan

    This is brilliant! It worked — I heated mine in front of the fire, toasty warm and it worked! You saved me $80, thanks a ton!!

  • stone

    thanks for he tip it freakin’ works =)

  • Cheap Gas

    I genuinely can’t believe this worked.. As an electrical engineer I thought you were kidding. Did it, am a hen now! Merci, it worked!

  • Cheap Gas

    Oh, and mine was a macbook 13″.

  • lozers

    Couldn’t thank you enough for the heating fix. :)

  • DD

    Haaha. wow..worked like magic. Been struggling with my charger for like forever anytime i get back from school. Now its all a thing of the past

  • twxy

    oh my god the heating trick actually works. I hadn’t used my laptop in a week so my charger was left cold on my desk. Decided to heat it with my hairdryer and the light suddenly came on! does anyone know if this is a permanent solution or if there really is some internal problem that will act up again? Thanks for the great advice anyways!

  • cfb

    Add me to the list of the gobsmacked. Mystery solved– Cold linoleum floors in a air-conditioned office. Thanks so much for this tip. (Still hanging in there with a 2010 MacBook Pro)

  • Amanda

    wow thaaankss! it really works!

  • hightech

    I over the years I have bought 3 new chargers for my 2011 macbook air..seems like the problem was that the end of the charger and the charging port on the computer simply needed to be cleaned with a stiff plastic brush…Now all the chargers work ..no problems with intermittent connections and this also should help with heat issues at the connection point as the mac book battery takes alot of power to re charge when discharged completely..

  • John

    Cant read the article because this dumbass side toolbar is blocking the view!! Get rid of that stupid thing!!

  • http://www.hightechdad.com hightechdad

    What size monitor or resolution are you using? You can also view the content on a mobile device and the sharing slider isn’t there when using the mobile theme. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Line Fricke

    How do you sit on it while it’s plugged in I’m wondering? Sitting on mine right now unplugged…. Fingers crossed (:

  • Amanda

    Worked for me! I held the connector over my toaster oven and it worked. Made waffles and fixed my charger win win!

  • JemCa

    Oh. My. I thought this was a prank (put it under your armpit?!) but I just left my charger plugged in to a powerboard for a while – under the duvet on my bed – and it has come back to life!!! Been in an air conditioned filled hotel room for past couple of days so this totally makes sense!! Thanks so much for posting this quick fix!!!

  • mrmkhs1

    I squeezed it between my finger and thumb. Magic! Thank you or Maraming Salamat Sa Inyo.

  • R. Hansort

    Thank you so much for this post. You sure helped a hell of a lot better than the Apple Store in Amsterdam! Cheers!

  • Jill Easton

    Amazing!!!! It worked – just holding in hot hands for a few minutes. Genius

  • Help!!

    Can u put It next to a heater?

  • SRG

    Wow. It worked in about 30 seconds. Thanks!

  • Amanda Grieme

    I am trying it right now!!! Hen-like! hahahah Will give you my report!!! GREAT ADVICE! Kindly, Amanda

  • Kevin Olive

    I’m also having the not-charging problem on my 2013 MBA but with an Apple Thunderbolt display. The little light even lit green, but netstat battery toolbar still showed “not charging”, and then the light slowly dimmed and shut off. My nephew has a very old 17″ macbook and has to rotate the plug sometimes to get it to charge. So i removed the tiny little magsafe adaptor, rotated it 180 and put it back. Problem solved. This is weird stuff.

  • Beth

    Thank you! Sitting on it worked!

  • JAS

    Yes! Yes! Yes! it absolutely works, this is Brilliant advice….thank you very much for the post :) and for all you folks who would think this is stupid even before trying …..PLZ DO try it out first.

  • https://plus.google.com/+JonasDeFariaAlves Jonas Alves

    I know it sounds ridiculous – and I was skeptical about it – but the warming solution just worked with my 60W MagSafe adapter (part number A1344). It’s not even cold here: it’s 26º Celsuis / 79º Farenheit o.O

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