How Do I Know If My MacBook Pro Is Charging?

How Do I Know If My MacBook Pro Is Charging

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MacBook Pro charging indicators include a lightning bolt in the battery status or an orange LED with a magnetic cable. As an Apple aficionado, I crafted a guide to decipher charging signals in different situations. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Charging Indicators: Look for a lightning bolt symbol or an orange LED to confirm MacBook Pro charging.
  • On/Active Charging: Check the status of battery indicator for a lightning bolt while using the MacBook Pro.
  • Charging when Off: Older models have LED indicators; newer ones might generate warmth or a sound when charging.
  • Dead Battery Charging: Feel for warmth in the power brick to check for charging when the MacBook Pro is dead.
  • Troubleshooting: Verify power outlet functionality, cable, and software issues if the MacBook Pro isn’t charging.
  • Battery Health Check: Monitor battery status in System Preferences for indications like Normal, Replace Soon, Replace Now, or Service Battery to determine if a replacement is needed.

How to Tell if Your Macbook Pro is Charging When It Is On

The easiest way to tell if your MacBook Pro is charging while it’s on or if you’re actively using it is by checking the battery status indicator.

The indicator is over by the top right corner of the screen. If the battery indicator is simply a partially to wholly filled bar, the laptop isn’t actively charging.

battery indicator

If there is a small lightning bolt in the middle of the battery icon, it’s charging.

Battery charging

If the battery status isn’t in your menu bar, go to “System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above)” (the cog/gear icon), then click on “Battery.”

Click on Battery

Next, select check the box that says “Show battery status in the Menu bar.”

Show battery status in menu bar

You can use this method to check the charging status on newer and older models, but certain MacBook Pros also include an indicator on the charging cable.

Older MacBook Pros (released before 2016) use this same magnetic charging cable with the indicator light. The 2022 MacBook Pros uses the magnetic charger once again.

For example, my 2019 MacBook Pro charger is a USB C cable (or Thunderbolt cable), which doesn’t indicate the charging status. But my 2017 MacBook Air has a magnetic charger cable with a charging status LED.

This LED is green when the battery is full and orange when charging.

Note: Charging your MacBook Pro while actively using it will take longer than if you put the computer to sleep or aren’t using it. This is because you’re using energy when the MacBook is on.

How to Tell if Your Macbook Pro is Charging When Off

If your MacBook Pro is off, there are a few ways to tell if it’s charging or not. Look at the indicator light if you have an older (or newer) MacBook Pro with a magnetic cable.

An orange LED color tells you the system is charging. Green means it is 100% charged.

On the other hand, if you have a 2016-2021 MacBook Pro or use a third-party cable for charging, there isn’t an indicator light. And there isn’t a quick way to determine if it’s charging without the indicator light.

But, you can use some logic and intuition to Sherlock Holmes your way into determining if it is charging.

Once the computer has been plugged in for some time, check the power brick for any warmth, as it tends to generate heat during the charging process; if it remains cold, it may not be charging at all.

In the case of newer MacBooks, there’s a subtle audible cue upon plugging them in a gentle, faint ding reminiscent of connecting an iPhone, albeit quieter. However, this sound won’t be audible if your laptop’s sound is muted or if the battery is entirely drained.

Even so, you can try unplugging it (after having it plugged in for a few minutes), and then plugging it back in to listen for the sound.

How to Tell if Your Macbook Pro is Charging When It’s Dead

When your MacBook Pro is dead, you won’t hear the quiet ping sound when you plug it in on newer models. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • If you have a MacBook Pro with a magnetic charger, check the indicator light to see if the computer is charging.
  • You can also feel the power brick after a little while of charging to check if it warms up. If so, it’s charging.
  • You can take it to a computer repair shop for diagnostics.
  • If you’re electrical savvy, you can use a voltage meter to measure the electricity going into it.

What If Your Macbook Pro Isn’t Charging? 

If your MacBook Pro isn’t charging at all, there are a few potential culprits.

First, check the power to the outlet. Make sure that your magsafe power adapter is connected to a working outlet. To test this, plug in a known good device, like a lamp or smartphone, to verify it works properly.

Other culprits of the issue may include:

  • Faulty cable
  • Line noise issues
  • Outdated software or firmware (rare)
  • Bad battery
  • Power adapter issue
  • Issues at power source

How to Tell if Macbook Pro’s Battery Needs Replacing

You may notice your MacBook Pro battery charges or drains far too quickly.

Most MacBook Pro models should last most of the day, especially new ones. The battery life wanes as they age, so it may be time to replace the battery at some point.

Luckily, your MacBook consistently monitors the health of its battery, making it easy to detect when it’s time for a replacement. To view the battery’s current status, follow these steps:

  1. Go to ‘System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above)’ by clicking on the gear/cog icon in your dock or launchpad
  2. Select ‘Battery’
  3. Select ‘Battery Health’
 Macbook Pro’s Battery Needs Replacing

Once you click ‘Battery Health,’ a smaller window will open. It will list one of four different messages:

  • Normal – indicates a healthy, functioning battery
  • Replace Soon – more a warning than an immediate demand (it should still function fine, though)
  • Replace Now – means the battery is on its way to a permanent grave
  • Service Battery – you need a replacement immediately
‘Battery Health

If you’re experiencing these problems, considering a high-quality and the best battery pack might be beneficial as they are typically bundled with multiple accessories, offering enhanced usability.

Are you wondering if the MacBook Pro is better than the MacBook Air? Go through this article to know their features!


Whether you have a magnetic charger-type MacBook Pro or a USB C port/lighting port charging model like me, the status of your battery is an essential piece of information. 

Depending on the particular model and whether it is on or off, you have a few different ways to ensure it is charging. 

Are you having trouble with your MacBook Pro’s battery? Or you can’t tell if it is charging? Let us know in the comments below. 

About Jonathon Jachura
Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience. He is an Apple fan who currently holds a Macbook Pro (512 GB, 16GB RAM), iPad Pro 12.9", iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple Watch 3, and 4x Acer 23" monitors.

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  • Joe Quinn


    When my Macbook Pro reaches 100%, which I would imagine to be fully charged, the lightening icon doesn’t change to the plug icon – an indicator that the battery is fully charged and it is fully charged. Is this normal?