Macbook Pro battery fails to charge

The non replaceable battery on my Macbook Pro (2010) had discharged recently completely as I’d left the laptop unplugged for more than a month without turning it on.

When I went to use it this morning, I plugged it in, and then turned it on. After a few minutes of use, the battery status still showed as “not charging.”


The light on the mag-safe connection was green, as if the battery was completely charged.

When I depressed the battery indicator button on the side of the MacBook Pro, the response was 5 quick green flashes on the first LED. According to Apple support, that indicates the battery hasn’t been charged to what’s required for a single indicator light yet. However, while my MacBook Pro had discharged like this before, it would normally start charging right away.

So, apparently, before taking it in for a repair (which is what a lot of people in forums were recommending), you might try resetting the System Management Controller. One of the issues that a reset could fix is that the battery does not appear to be charging properly.

To reset the controller, perform these steps (as documented on the Apple Support web site):

  1. Shut down your laptop completely.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the MacBook 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.  [Wow, it’s awkward to do that! I pressed the S-C-O keys first and then the power button and it worked]
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer. 
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

A few moments after I performed the steps above, the mag safe LED light switched to an orange color (charging) and the battery indicator no longer blinked 5 times quickly.

Problem resolved, and much simpler than taking it to a local Apple “Genius” bar.

As this wasn’t an obvious fix, I’ve decided to put this on my blog in the hope that someone else might find it useful, and so when I have this happen again, I don’t need to go hunting for the solution! Smile