How to Turn Your MacBook on or Off

MacBook won't turn on or shut off? Here's what to do

  • Turn on: Press the power button, or the right end of the Touch Bar until the screen comes to life.
  • If it won't turn on, check screen brightness, charge the battery, check power source, and reset SMC.
  • Turn off: Select Apple logo > Shut Down. If it's not shutting down, select Apple logo > Force Quit.

This article explains how to turn your MacBook on and off. We'll also explore what to do if you can't turn your MacBook on or off. Instructions cover MacBook Pros, MacBooks, and MacBook Airs.

How to Turn on Your MacBook

All Mac notebooks have the power button in the upper right corner of the keyboard or—if your Mac is equipped with a Touch Bar—at the right side of the Touch Bar. The trick is, some models don't have the power icon printed on the power key. The same key is used for Touch ID on models that support that feature, and a printed symbol could interfere with reading a fingerprint.

To turn on your Mac, press the power button or touch the right end of the Touch Bar until the screen comes to life and displays the login fields.

MacBook power button in upper right corner of keyboard

What to Check When Your Mac Notebook Won't Turn On

When you press the power button and nothing happens, try these tips to fix the problem.

  • Check the screen brightness. There's a chance the display lighting level is turned way down. If the screen remains dark after you press the power button, try raising the brightness levels by pressing the buttons with icons that look like the sun located toward the left side of the keyboard on the top row of buttons (or the Touch Bar).
  • Disconnect accessories. Disconnect any accessories that are plugged into your Mac, including printers, mobile devices, video displays, and USB cords. Try to restart your Mac with these items unconnected.
  • Check the power source. Look at the power connections to make sure the power source is securely plugged into your MacBook and confirm the AC outlet is working.
  • Charge the battery. If the battery on your Mac notebook computer is completely dead, you may need to give your computer a few minutes to recharge on an AC outlet before the device has enough juice to power on.
  • Reset the SMC. Resetting the System Management Controller may help. Unplug the power cable from your Mac and plug the power cable back in. Then, press and hold Shift + Control + Option + power button simultaneously for about 10 seconds. (If you have a MacBook from 2009 or earlier with a removable battery, the SMC reset procedure is slightly different.)

How to Turn Off Your MacBook

All Macs (notebooks and desktops) turn off the same way: Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen and select Shut Down.

Shut Down option in Apple menu on macOS

An alert that your Mac will shut down in 1 minute gives you the opportunity to save work from other programs and apps.

Hold down the Command key while choosing Shut Down to bypass the 1-minute countdown and shut down immediately. After all the applications close, your computer shuts down.

What to Do If Your Mac Won't Turn Off

Sometimes applications become unresponsive and prevent the Mac operating system from shutting down properly. Here's how to force quit unresponsive apps.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select Force Quit. You can also open this menu with the keyboard shortcut Command + Option + Esc.

    Force Quit menu item in Apple menu
  2. Look in the Force Quit Applications window for an application that has Not Responding next to it.

    Force Quit button in macOS
  3. Click the name of the application that is not responding and click Force Quit. After you force the app to quit, trying shutting down the Mac again.

  4. If force quitting doesn't solve the problem, hold down the Mac power button for a few seconds to turn off the computer. Unfortunately, if you have to go this route, you lose any unsaved work.

Getting Expert Advice

If none of the above steps solve your problem related to turning on or shutting down your MacBook, visit an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider for help.

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