Basic Troubleshooting Tips For Your MacBook

A few weeks ago, I was trying to figure out why a MacBook Air LCD backlight wasn’t working correctly. The display was so dim, it was almost impossible to make out any of the icons or menus on the screen. Before opening up the laptop and looking at the internal hardware, there are a few things I always try first:

Is everything plugged in?

It sounds really obvious but more often than not, power cords are not fully connected to their power adapters…even when it looks like they are. Check where your cords connect to your laptop and where they connect to the wall. If batteries haven’t been charging, it will affect performance and low power can even put your display to sleep. We had to replace Hannah’s MacBook Pro charger after only two years - sometimes they just wear out.

Have you restarted recently?

So many people never restart their computers…keeping them perpetually on and/or just closing the lid and putting them to sleep. Restarting or periodically shutting down your computer refreshes/fixes a number of settings from internet connections, to issues with sound and computer speed/performance. Check your current computer speed/performance for free at

Have you checked your keys?

With wear and use, sometimes keys become jammed or locked in place. Especially if you eat around your device, it can get sticky or crumbs can get lodged in the keys. Are all of your keys in their normal position? I’ve seen power keys locked in place, preventing the laptop from powering on until it was released. If they are damaged, there are ways to clean them and get them working again.


It’s still not working?

Okay, try these more advanced tips.
(Or shoot us an email & we’ll fix it!)

Try Resetting Your SMC

SMC Reset (System Management Controller): I’ve found that this key combination reset fixes so many things that it’s generally worth trying if anything is acting strangely. Some examples include when your battery isn’t working correctly, the fans are running really fast/loud, your trackpad isn’t working, your computer won’t connect to Wi-Fi, your computer is running slowly, displays aren’t working, etc.

- Shut the laptop down
- Make sure your charger is plugged in
- Hold Down Shift, Control, Option and Press the Power Key
- The light on your charger may change colors
- Start up your laptop like normal

For a complete list of devices and fixes, you can reference this Apple support guide.

Try Resetting Your PRAM

I use this less often but it is also a sometimes helpful step in getting everything working again. This resets more core processes like speaker volume, click speed, your startup disks, ports, etc.

- Shut the machine all the way down
- Press the power button and then quickly hold down Command, Option, P, and R
- You should hear a startup chime and your machine will reboot
- Let go of the keys

For a complete list of devices and fixes, you can reference
this Apple support guide.

These are just a few regular troubleshooting steps I take when trying to figure out what is going on with a device. If you aren’t comfortable performing these steps or think it could be hardware related, I’m happy to check it out for you!