MacBook Pro Won't Turn On? Different Ways to Fix It

MacBook Pro black screen

A MacBook Pro that won't turn on is likely in need of servicing at the Apple store. Before you haul it in, let's take a few steps to see if it's just something simple.

Does Your MacBook Pro Fail to Turn On or Start Up?

MacBook Pro with a black screen.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between a MacBook Pro that won't turn on at all versus one that fails after turning on or while it's starting up. We're going to cover MacBook Pros that won't turn on at all.

How to Fix a MacBook Pro That Won't Turn On

  1. Check Your Power Supply and Battery. This tip may be obvious, but if your MacBook Pro won't turn on at all, then the first thing to double-check is that it's plugged in or has some battery charge left.

    If it is plugged in and still doesn't even turn on you should check your power cable, which may be faulty. Try swapping it with a known working cable can help pinpoint the problem.

  2. Check the screen's brightness. Again, this might sound a bit silly, but maybe your MacBook Pro did start up but you can't see the screen. The F2 key at the top row of your keyboard will make the screen brighter. On newer MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar, it works differently (there'll be an icon you tap and then see a slider to adjust the brightness). If the Touch Bar isn't lit up, it means your MacBook Pro hasn't turned on.

  3. Again, this might seem basic, but did you actually turn it on? If you thought your MacBook Pro was in sleep mode, raising the screen or tapping the keyboard would wake it up. But if it was actually shut down (rather than sleeping) raising the screen or tapping the keyboard wouldn't do a thing. The power button is in the upper right corner of the keyboard (it has an icon on it that's a circle with a vertical line poking out the top).

Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

One last-ditch yet attempt for fixing your MacBook Pro when it won't turn on properly involves resetting the System Management Controller. As its full name implies, the SMC controls much of the basic functionality of your Mac, from its display and lights to its fan and Power button. As such, resetting it sometimes has a good chance of resolving whatever's stopping your MacBook Pro from turning on.

This procedure assumes the MacBook Pro is on (which is unlikely since this article is about a MacBook Pro that won't turn on).

  1. Switch off your MacBook Pro.

  2. Plug in its power cable.

  3. Press and hold Shift + Control + Option and the Power button, keeping them held for about ten seconds.

  4. Release the keys and then press the Power button again.

In the off-chance that you have a MacBook Pro from 2009 or earlier, you will have to complete a slightly different procedure, since such Macs have removable batteries.

  1. Switch off your MacBook Pro.

  2. Remove its battery.

  3. Press and hold the Power button for five seconds.

  4. Reinsert the battery.

  5. Press the Power button again.

And if you have a 2018 MacBook Pro with the T2 security chip, you have to complete this process instead:

  1. Shut down your MacBook Pro.

  2. As soon as your MacBook shuts down, press and hold the Power button for ten seconds.

  3. Release the Power button, and then a couple of seconds later press it again.