Some early signs of Mac hardware failure include an unhealthy keyboard and a shaky trackpad to power issues, cluttered audio, startup problems, and more. Don’t worry though, our tips will help you solve common Mac hardware issues on your own without having to make an appointment with the Genius Bar at your local Apple store.
10. Your Mac won’t charge or power on
If macOS won’t boot, press and hold the power button until the screen is empty, then let go and press again. Resetting NVRAM, PRAM, and SMC can also easily solve your charging problems. To see if you might need a new battery, check the number of cycles of your Mac’s battery.
Confirm if your power adapter and cable are working on another Mac. Then rule out any power issues in your home by resetting the power circuit breaker or GFI outlet. The power button of your Mac may be damaged, so double check. If the problem you’re having is a malfunction that stems from a logic board, you’ll have to pay for physical repairs to your Mac.
9. Flashing power LED or audio warning
Flashing power supplies or MagSafe LEDs mean that the internal hardware is unreliable. Use Apple’s built-in hardware diagnostics to identify culprits. Press and hold the D key while powering on to access and use Apple’s diagnostic tests. After the diagnostic check is complete, you will see if the battery, processor, or other parts are faulty.
If you hear a loud ringtone during startup, it means that the RAM failed the integrity check. Resetting a single RAM module can solve this problem, provided that you have free access to the RAM module, which is not easy on newer machines.
8. A question mark appears when your Mac starts up
If you find a folder with a flashing question mark on your screen when you start up on your Mac, something may be wrong with your startup disk. Either the disk is physically damaged or your Mac is having problems locating its macOS os operating system software.
To solve this problem, on an Intel-based Mac, press and hold Cmd+R at startup to enter the macOS recovery system. If you have an Apple Silicon Mac, press and hold the power button, then select options and click Continue. Select Disk Utility from the recovery options and click on the First Aid option to check the startup disk for errors. If Disk Utility doesn’t find or fix the error, you might need to reinstall macOS in recovery mode.
7. Mac won’t boot up completely
A black or gray screen or macOS does not boot fully indicates a problem with the operating system or an application that loads automatically at startup. In this case, go into Safe Mode and see if there are startup items that are preventing macOS from loading properly.
On intel Mac, press the Shift key at startup to invoke Safe Mode. On your Apple Silicon Mac, press and hold the power key, select your startup disk, then hold down the Shift key and select the Continue running in safe mode option.
Use Disk Utility in Safe Mode to repair disk permissions or to try to repair a corrupted file system.
6. No Display Backlight, Screen Flickering, or Other Screen Issues
If the backlight of the monitor is broken, you can hardly see any images, but first, check if this may be something as simple as turning down the brightness of the screen. If the screen flickers, boot into Safe Mode, then revert to factory display settings by entering System Preferences > Display, tap Resolution next to Monitor Defaults.
If your external display supports a variable refresh rate, try selecting a fixed refresh rate in the refresh rate menu. Changing your screen mirroring options or unplugging your external display can also help alleviate this problem.
5. Erratic Trackpad or Mouse Movement
Try turning off trackpad customizations one by one in System Preferences >trackpad to isolate settings that may be problematic. It can be something as simple as turning on dragging!
4. Physical or liquid damage
It is recommended that you take some precautions to physically protect your Mac. If liquid damage occurs, turn off your computer immediately, disconnect power, and unplug any attachments. If possible, turn your Mac over to disconnect the battery.
If you’re tech-savvy and have the right tools, you can remove the back cover to remove as much liquid from the internal components as possible. Make sure to give the machine 24 to 48 hours of drying time before shutting down the machine again.
Or is there no result? It’s time to turn to Apple Support for help! Apple’s one-year warranty covers manufacturing defects and hardware failures. However, you’ll need to pay out of pocket to fix any physical damage caused by spilled liquids.
Optional AppleCare+ coverage includes protection against accidental physical damage at a much lower cost. To purchase an AppleCare program on your device, click the Apple logo and go to Support > About This Mac, then select AppleCare+ Coverage Available (if your Mac isn’t eligible, you won’t see that option). Alternatively, sign in to Apple’s My Support page to purchase an AppleCare program online.
AppleCare+ does not cover excessive physical damage, defined as “catastrophic damage due to liquid contact or immersion, or damage due to the presence of hazardous material.”
3. The keyboard does not work, the keys are stuck, or the keys are automatically repeated
If your keyboard is wireless, check to see if Bluetooth is enabled in System Preferences > Bluetooth. Resetting the Bluetooth module in your Mac is usually a good way to fix intermittent typing issues. To do this, run the following command in a terminal window:
sudo pkill bluetoothd
If asked, press Enter and type your Mac password. After executing the command, restart the computer to reinitialize the Bluetooth hardware.
Are the keys sticky? Are some of the characters repeating? Adjust the key repetition speed in the System Preferences > Keyboard. If you’re still using a Mac with Apple’s infamous Butterfly Keyboard, you can replace it for free with Apple’s Keyboard Services plan. While changing the keyboard won’t permanently solve the usability of the butterfly mechanism, it’s okay to try to remove dust from your keyboard to fix the stuck keys. Also, consider protecting your keyboard from dust when not in use.
The best band-aid solution to these faulty butterfly keyboards is the Unshaky tool, which effectively dismisses multiple key presses. You can download Unshaky from GitHub for free. The app is no longer actively maintained, but still works as advertised on macOS Monterey.
2. Peripherals do not work
Yes, even peripherals can confuse your Mac. Some of the external devices you can plug into those USB-C or Thunderbolt ports include printers, cameras, storage drives, network devices, and so on. Start the troubleshooting process by unplugging the accessories one by one.
Restart your computer after disconnecting each accessory until you are sure which accessory is interfering with the functionality of your Mac. Try changing the peripheral’s settings or switching to the default values to see if doing so resolves the issue you’re experiencing.
You should also test any faulty peripherals with different cables on different ports to troubleshoot these failures.
1. Mac Restarts After a Kernel Panic Message
If your Mac suddenly displays a kernel panic screen, write down the time this occurred and restart the computer.
Apple’s support agent might request this file to troubleshoot the panic. To review it yourself, open the file in TextEdit and scroll through it to locate the correct time stamp and learn why the kernel panicked.
Your Mac problem may be related to the software
Will your Mac crash unexpectedly or reboot temporarily? Is the app frozen? These symptoms indicate a complication on the software side.
If none of the above tips help, contact Apple’s support department. To speed up the process, tell your support agent that you have performed all of these troubleshooting steps.
Computer problems are common in life
It’s impossible for any technology to fail to have problems, including Apple’s Mac computers. Only after trying the above free troubleshooting tips should you resort to paying for the problem with your Mac.