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How to figure out if a MacBook power adapter or battery has gone bad

You plug in your adapter to your laptop, and the battery doesn’t charge reliably. Sometimes, your Mac dings to let you know it’s plugged in to power; other times, you have to plug and unplug, or even restart your computer. What’s up?

Battery charging involves three separate elements, so you have to go through a process of troubleshooting to identify which one is faulty.

The battery

For several releases of macOS, Apple has provided alerts and information about the health and status of a laptop’s battery. macOS warns you if something’s actively wrong with a battery when it determines this.

In macOS Catalina and earlier, you can Option-click the battery icon in the menu bar, and get a little more insight about the state of the battery. In macOS Big Sur, there’s a lot more detail about the battery available by default, but the condition is nested more deeply: go to the Battery preference pane, click Battery, and click Battery Health.

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