MacBook Pro

Recognizing Battery Failure in Apple Laptops

Unfortunately, nobody has been able to come up with a battery to put in electronic devices that will last for more than about three years without either losing a significant amount of charge capacity or failing entirely. Fortunately, replacement lithium-ion batteries are plentiful and in many cases quite affordable. If you've ever found yourself running around like a crazy person to find an outlet to charge your laptop you may want to review the following symptoms and consider having your battery replaced!


Service Battery Warnings are a way for your laptop to let you know that it has detected either a failure to charge as expected or that the internal battery has been consumed, or is unable to hold more than a specific percentage charge. You will see notifications that the battery needs to be serviced near the top-right corner of your display.

Trackpad Not Working is one of those symptoms that may at first seem like it couldn't be related to a battery issue. More than a few times we have had a situation where we have quoted a customer for a trackpad replacement over the phone and it ends up being a failing battery. The reason the two symptoms are related is the location of the battery itself. For example, on non-retina Macbook Pro models the battery is located directly underneath the trackpad. When a failing battery swells the path of least resistance is towards the trackpad which can prevent movement of the trackpad and in some extreme cases even crack it!

Short Battery Life is quite common with both failing and consumed batteries. Although consumers are able to access information on their battery health we strongly recommend consulting a third-party for an analysis of that information. Most service providers will be able to provide a quick explanation of current battery health at no cost and recommend replacement options.

Overheating can be caused when the electrical current flowing to individual cells in the battery encounters unplanned resistance. The excess energy that builds up is released as heat and can cause significant damage to your laptop. If you notice that your device is overheating we recommend consulting a technician to ensure that there is no risk of fire.

Unexpected Shutdowns can occur when a battery is unable to provide the necessary amount of electricity to your computer. If you are plugged directly into an outlet periodic loss of battery power is less significant, but without that fallback anything that is unsaved will likely be lost when the device loses power and reboots.

Macbook Pro 13" Mid-2009 (Boot Issue, Keyboard, Trackpad)

Initial Description:

- Device powers on and displays an Apple Logo as expected for a few seconds, but instead of completing the boot into the user environment it displays the 'Do Not' icon after about fifteen seconds indicating that the operating system was unable to load as expected.

Troubleshooting:

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is non-functional in Recovery,

- Determined that Trackpad can move cursor but not click in Recovery,

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... Keyboard works but Trackpad remains the same,

- Installed Known Good Battery ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Removed Known Good Battery,

- Installed Known Good Trackpad and Trackpad Flex Cable,

- Installed Original Battery,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is fully functional,

- Determined that Trackpad is fully functional,

- Boot Issue Persists,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Rebuilt HFS+ Directory Structure,

- Booted into Install Media (USB),

- Disk Utility First Aid recommend a format reinstall,

- Unable to rebuild directory structure via third-party tools,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Backed up Data to Known-Good Storage Media,

- Reformatted Internal SSD,

- Clean Install of 10.11.6 ... Success!

- Restored Customer Data,

- Service Complete,

Diagnosis:

- Malfunctioning Trackpad,

- Corrupted Operating System,

Apple PRAM/NVRAM Reset

What is NVRAM?

NVRAM stands for "non-volatile random-access memory" and is the part of your computer's memory that handles the storage of settings like Speaker Volume, Screen Resolution, Startup Disk Selection, and Recent Kernel Panic Information.

Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM in your laptop or desktop is generally the first troubleshooting step that you should take when attempting to distinguish between software and hardware issues. One situation that we tend to run into on a regular basis is a customer's laptop booting directly into their Recovery Partition instead of into the locally installed Operating System. In many cases a simple reset of the PRAM/NVRAM will resolve it.

If you continue to experience issues after following the instructions below please feel free to reach out to use via phone or email. We offer mail-in service in addition to our walk-in service for customers in Portland, OR.

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How to Reset NVRAM

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys until you hear a chime.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.

If this troubleshooting step does not resolve the issue that you are experiencing or your Mac does not power on at all you may want to consider resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) as well. You can find instructions for that process HERE.

Special Instructions for MacBook Pro 2016 and Newer

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys for thirty-seconds.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.