MacBook Air Won’t Turn On: 5 Possible Reasons and Fixes

MacBook Air won't turn on

MacBook Air Won’t Turn On: 5 Possible Reasons and Fixes

Key Points

  • The MacBook Air is a portable, powerful machine designed to withstand adverse environments like coffee shops and college dorms.
  • There are several potential reasons why a MacBook Air may not turn on, including battery problems, age, storage issues, and critical system failures.
  • To fix battery issues, users can charge their MacBook Air for at least 3 hours, power cycle the system, or seek support from Apple.
  • A full or corrupted storage device can exacerbate issues with turning on a MacBook Air, but can be resolved through safe mode, data backup, and a factory reset.
  • Regular system updates are important for the overall health of a MacBook Air and can resolve booting issues.
  • In rare cases, a total system failure may be the cause of a MacBook Air not turning on, requiring professional diagnostics and potential component replacements.

The MacBook Air is a portable, powerful machine. Like its larger sibling, the MacBook Pro, it is designed to keep chugging even in adverse environments like a coffee shop, college dorm, or on the road.

While reliable, the MacBook Air does occasionally come across bugs and other issues that could become a problem. When your MacBook Air won’t turn on at all, it can be a bit worrying.

But don’t panic if your MacBook Air isn’t turning on. There are several different reasons for this problem and even more potential remedies to fix it. In today’s guide, we’ll break down a few potential causes and a few different ways you can get out of this sticky situation. Let’s dive in.

Why Won’t My MacBook Air Turn On?

We’ve already discussed what to do when your MacBook keeps restarting. But what if it won’t turn on at all?

Working in a computer repair store has taught me that MacBooks can die for a variety of reasons, sometimes completely unexpected. Before we get into remedying your MacBook, it’s important to consider a few different factors to determine the root cause of your problems.

  • Battery – You may be experiencing battery issues. While it may seem obvious, it’s easy to leave your MacBook Air without a charge for a long time without thinking twice about it. 
  • Age – An older MacBook Air might begin to show signs of aging. Well-kept MacBook Airs can live up to a decade, but if yours has lived to see some things, you may start seeing the effects of time.
  • Storage – Sometimes, an overfilled MacBook Air could experience bigger problems. You may have noticed that your computer loads slower when you keep too much stuff with not enough space.
  • Updates – You should be updating your MacBook Air every time you’re alerted to. Avoiding OS updates can cause serious long-term harm to your computer, including power-up failures. 
  • System – It’s possible that your MacBook Air might be facing some internal system issues that will be a bit more difficult to fix. You can still get your MacBook Air repaired, but it will be harder to achieve your desired results with DIY methods. We’ll discuss your options towards the end.

These factors don’t apply only to MacBook Airs, but also to MacBook Pros. So, if you’re having issues turning on your MacBook Pro, many of these potential fixes could help you out too.

Reason #1: Your MacBook Air Has Battery Problems

When your MacBook Air won’t turn on, blaming the battery is one of the first things that comes to mind. Luckily, there are several different ways to fix battery issues with your Macbook Air.

Step 1: Charge

You may need to charge your MacBook Air in a reliable outlet for at least 3 hours to get it back up and running. This might be a no-brainer, but if you let your laptop die completely (discharge to 0%), then it might take a while before it responds.

Macbook air won't turn on, charging green light
Your charger should light up green or orange to indicate it is working (if it is a MagSafe model).


Be sure to use the charging cable that comes with your MacBook Air. Third-party charging cables can cause further damage to your laptop. So, ensure that you’re using one with the official “Apple” logo on it. Sure, counterfeits do exist, but this is a good sign that you’re using a genuine Apple charger.

Step 2: Power Cycle

Sometimes, battery issues may not be due to the charger or battery’s age at all. You might need to power cycle your system.

Completely shut down your laptop by holding the power button.

hold down power button
Hold down the power button, even if your MacBook already appears to be off.


Make sure each power cable is properly removed.

Press the power button again for 10 seconds.

Restart your MacBook Air as you normally would.

Power cycles won’t damage your computer, even if the battery itself is not the root cause of your problem. 

Step 3: Apple Support

Unfortunately, buying a new charging cable, charging your computer, and running a power cycle won’t always help you turn on your laptop. You might have to reach out to the official source.

Apple Support has the tools necessary to replace your battery when it’s time to do so. MacBook Airs under warranty (or Apple Care) will either be able to get a free or more affordable replacement battery.

Apple Support fixes most MacBook Airs in time frames ranging from one day to a week, depending on the severity of your systemic issues. If you don’t have an Apple store near you, you can always try a third-party repair shop.

Just make sure you’re not investing more money into fixing your computer than it is worth. That might be the case if your system is more than five years old, which brings us to the next possible cause of your MacBook Air not turning on.

Reason #2: Your MacBook Air Is Too Old

Old macbook air
An old MacBook Air, such as this 2011 model, looks modern, but it could be a ticking timebomb.


We know you love your MacBook Air, regardless of its age. It’s gotten you through college, work, and life at large.

The thought of having to replace it feels difficult emotionally and financially. It’s much more beneficial to try to recover an old MacBook Air than replace it because it won’t turn on.

Step 1: Replace The Battery

If your MacBook Air is really old, this could actually be a good thing, at least as far as repairability. Since newer models are much more difficult and expensive to repair, having an older model can be a blessing when it comes time to replace some components.

You can find MacBook Air batteries for older models for as low as $60 and up to around $200. For many models, you’ll only need a screwdriver and a few minutes of your time to take care of the installation.

Step 2: Examine Internal Parts

You can also take a deeper look at your MacBook’s hardware. You may need a part, aside from the battery, to get replaced.

Any model within the past decade should have easily accessible parts. Older models also have an advantage of sorts here. Since many vintage or obsolete MacBook Airs only get cheaper as the years go on, finding inexpensive parts on eBay, Amazon, or iFixit, is super easy.

Macbook air won't turn on due to fried hardware.
Looking at the inside of this MacBook Air, we can see a few potential problems: fans clogged with dust, and corrosion on the logic board. This MacBook is toast.


Step 3: Keep Fans Cool

MacBook Air fans are notoriously finicky. We’re glad that Apple has finally launched a completely fanless model. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have one of the latest M1 or M2 MacBook Airs, your fans may cause some issues.

There are thousands of TikTok videos making fun of that loud buzzing sound that fans generate if they’re old and left on too long.

Sims players often report that the use of Custom Content drives their MacBook Air fan into hyperdrive, causing it to completely malfunction and disrupt their computer’s overall performance.

Some have even said that overworked fans are what causes their MacBook Air to not turn on as expected. So, try to keep your MacBook Air as cool as possible. 

If your computer won’t turn on, and you notice the bottom of it is hot to the touch, unplug it. Remove it from any surface that might keep it that warm. Leave it on its own for at least a few hours, up to a full day, before you try and turn it on again.

Reason #3: Your MacBook Air’s Storage Is Full or Corrupted

MacBook Storage full
A storage situation like this will eventually cause issues with your MacBook’s performance.


A full computer will run into a number of problems ranging in severity. While a full storage device is unlikely to cause your MacBook Air to not turn on, it can still exacerbate any existing issues.

Storage problems are much easier to prevent than solve. It’s advised that MacBook Air users keep an external hard drive so their most important files are safe in case of emergencies like your computer not turning on.

However, it’s not too late if you don’t already have an external hard drive.

Step 1: Safe Mode

Even if you can’t start your MacBook Air normally, you may be able to launch it in Safe Mode.

Safe Mode will help you find the cause of your problem with turning on your MacBook Air. It will only load the most important files and programs, but it won’t delete anything that you have saved on your computer.

To open Safe Mode, hold down the power button until you’re presented with startup options.

Step 2: System Disk

Select your System Disk.

Step 3: Log In

Press and hold the Shift key and select the ‘Continue In Safe Mode’ option.

Step 4: Backup Data

At this point, you’re basically granted a second lease on life.

Use this opportunity to uninstall any large applications that may be harming your computer. 

Then, back up your data.

You can do so via iCloud, the Time Machine, an external hard drive, or a trusted third-party app like Google Drive.

Step 5: Factory Reset

You might not need to do this after you back up your data after launching your MacBook Air in Safe Mode.

Still, if the problem persists, you can perform a factory reset now that you can rest knowing you won’t lose anything important.

A Factory Reset, as scary as they sound, will solve most loading issues.

Severe loading issues that aren’t solved by a Factory Reset will likely need hardware repairs, especially on an older MacBook Air – but it could still be salvaged!

Reason #4: Your MacBook Needs Updates

update your macbook air
Make sure to check your System Preferences for any available updates.


This one won’t always make your MacBook Air fail to turn on, but it can cause issues with booting. Updating your system will ensure that your MacBook Air always has the latest, most functional software and security patches. System updates are critical to the overall health of your MacBook Air.

Regular system updates may feel like a burden to complete, especially if your computer requests one in the middle of important tasks, but you still need to do it.

An outdated OS can absolutely cause your MacBook Air to stop booting up. A tell-tale symptom is the Apple loading screen on bootup but with no progress shown in the loading bar.

Step 1: Safe Mode

Launch your MacBook Air in Safe Mode as described earlier.

Step 2: Update

Run a system update as normal while logged into Safe Mode.

Step 3: Reboot

Restart your computer. From this point on, your MacBook Air should be able to turn on as normal.

Step 4 (Optional): Professional Help

An outdated OS may be the cause of your computer not turning on anymore, even if you cannot even get it to load in Safe Mode.

Apple Support can work some magic and force an update (provided it is compatible with a newer OS to begin with).

This could get a bit tricky, as there is the possibility that you may lose some important files if they aren’t backed up. That will vary case by case, so it’s worth it to ask the Genius you’re working with what can be saved.

Reason #5: Your MacBook has a Critical System Failure

The worst-case scenario cause for your MacBook Air not turning on is a total system failure. In other words, your logic board (the central, most important component on your computer) is failed.

This is actually very rare and can coincide with a Macbook Air’s age, especially if the laptop is more than a decade old. While it is a rare occurrence, it is something that you see a few times a week when you work in a computer repair store. It is always sad news to break, but

We get attached to the technology that we use daily because we get comfortable using it, so repairing even the toughest systemic issues is always preferred!

Step 1: Diagnostics

Find what exactly is causing the system failure by getting a professional examination at the Genius Bar or another reliable IT support company.

System failures are scary, but their dangers range in severity, and it still could be possible to save your MacBook Air even if it is on the brink of shutting down forever.

Step 2: Weigh Options

There are more options than you may think to fix total system failures. Like the other causes, your MacBook Air may simply need some new parts. Components like logic boards are expensive, but might be worth it if you can find a shop to do it cheap enough, or if you are able to repair it yourself.

Final Thoughts

When your MacBook Air won’t turn on, it can feel like the end of the world, especially if you rely on your laptop to do your job. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to fix most of the issues that cause your MacBook Air to stop turning on.

You (probably) won’t need to completely toss your beloved MacBook Air and replace it with a new one. You also (probably) won’t need to lose every important file and application that you’ve ever downloaded. With a little time and patience, you’ll be able to get back to working on your MacBook Air as normal!

But if you aren’t able to get your laptop working again, you might have to resort to buying a new laptop. If your MacBook Air is very old, this can be a great excuse to upgrade to something newer.

Or, if you’re tired of your old MacBook Air, you can consider a few popular MacBook Air alternatives. Either way, hopefully, this article remedied your issue.

Summary Table

ReasonPossible Fixes
1. Your MacBook Air has Battery ProblemsCharge, Power Cycle, Contact Apple Support
2. Your MacBook Air is Too OldReplace The Battery, Examine Internal Parts, Keep Fans Cool
3. Your MacBook Air’s Storage is Full or CorruptedSafe Mode, System Disk, Log In, Backup Data, Factory Reset
4. Your MacBook Needs UpdatesSafe Mode, Update, Reboot, Professional Help
5. Your MacBook has a Critical System FailureDiagnostics, Weigh Options

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I replace my MacBook Air that won't turn on?

That depends on the severity of the situation. These days, MacBook Airs are extremely capable and have been updated so much that most common problems that users face can be fixed at home.

If you do find that you need to replace your MacBook Air, you have options! Students can occasionally score discounts on a MacBook Air from Apple directly. Otherwise, retailers frequently offer promotional sales for at least a hundred dollars off a new MacBook Air. They also offer deals on refurbished computers if you don’t need the newest Apple release.


Is tech support at the genius bar good?

Apple’s Genius Bar offers good support if your laptop is under warranty of if you have Apple Care. But if not, then they might not be as willing to help you. If your MacBook Air is over five years old, you would be best served by taking it to a third-party repair shop or even fixing it yourself if you feel up to it.

Why is my MacBook Air battery dead even though I charged it?

You may notice that your battery does not last as long while unplugged as it did a year ago. Or, worse, it may only work when your computer is plugged in, making the laptop’s portability functions a bit redundant.

All is not lost! Replacement batteries are relatively easy to come by, and far cheaper than a new MacBook Air. You also may simply need a new charger, and not a new battery.

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