What Does an X on the Battery Mean on MacBook?

4 Min Read

If you see an X on the battery indicator symbol in the bar at the top of your MacBook screen, then there’sa good chance you’ve also experiencedproblems with your MacBook’s battery. When the battery symbol has an X on it, you may not be able to use your MacBook at all unless it is plugged to power outlet. You might also have seen a notification saying No Batteries Available. In this post, I’ll explain what the X on MacBook battery mean and how you can fix it.

Let’s get into it!

A photo showing Mac battery with a X in it  

What does the X mean on MacBook battery?

The X on MacBook’s battery basically means there is something very wrong with the battery. To the point where the battery is essentially useless. There are a number of possibilities:

  • Your MacBook battery need to be replaced.
  • The battery connection might have come loose inside your MacBook.
  • You can attempt to fix the X on MacBook battery by resetting your SMC.

What can you do when you see the X on your Mac battery?

If your MacBook battery is showing an X, you will probably need to get your MacBook looked at.

If you have technical skills, you can order and replace the battery yourself. Otherwise, you will need to take your Mac in for repair. You can make an appointment at a Genius Bar or with an Apple Certified repair center such as Best Buy.

Before you do that, though, you can try resetting the SMC and taking a look at the Apple Diagnostics report.

Reset the SMC

Sometimes you can reset the SMC on a Mac laptop and that will fix the X on your MacBook’s battery, particularly if the error is related to a power management quirk or some other hiccup, and not a battery hardware issue.

The procedure for resetting the SMC on an Apple laptop depends on whether it is an Apple silicon or an Intel Mac.

Navigate to the Apple  menu and click on About This Mac.

  • If you have a Processor listed (that says Intel), that means you have an Intel Mac.
  • If you see Chip listed, that means you have Apple silicon.

Also, if you have an Intel MacBook, from the information in the About This Mac window, make a note of your exact model, such as MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports).

If you have Apple silicon

  1. Make sure your Mac is plugged into power/charging.
  2. Click the Apple icon  and choose Restart. Or, hit the Apple icon  > Shut Down, and after a minute, turn it back on.

If you have an Intel MacBook

Depending on the type of Mac you have, the process for resetting the SMC will be different.

Mac with the T2 chip

Intel Macs, released in 2018 and later, have the T2 security chip. Find out if your Mac has a T2 security chip, and if it has, follow these steps.

MacBook:
  1. First, shut down your MacBook.
  2. After that, press & hold the power or Touch ID button for 10 seconds and then stop pressing the button.
  3. Now, wait for a few seconds and press the power/Touch ID button to turn on your MacBook.

Once this is done, the X symbol on MacBook battery should no longer exist. But in case the above steps didn’t help, follow along to reset your MacBook’s SMC:

  1. Shut down your MacBook.
  2. Press and hold all the following keys on your laptop’s built-in keyboard:
    • Control from the bottom left side of the keyboard.
    • Option from the bottom left side of the keyboard.
    • Shift from the right side of the keyboard.
  3. Make sure you hold all the above keys for 7 seconds. And once 7 seconds are done (don’t stop pressing the above three keys), start pressing & holding the power button. So, now you’re pressing and holding a total of four keys.
    4) Continue to hold all four keys for 7 more seconds and then let go.
    5) After waiting for a few seconds, press the power button to turn on your MacBook.
Mac desktop:
  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Unplug the main power cord.
  3. After at least 15 seconds, plug in the power cord.
  4. Finally, wait for 5 more seconds and press the power button to start your Mac.
Mac without T2 security chip

If you have a pre-2018 Mac, then follow these steps to reset the SMC.

MacBook:
  1. Completely shut down the computer.
  2. Press the left-side Shift, Control, andOption keys, along with the right-side power button on your keyboard, all at the same time.
  3. Continue to hold all four keys for 10 seconds.
  4. After 10 seconds, release all keys and press the power button to start your MacBook.
Mac desktop:
  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Unplug the main power cord.
  3. After waiting for 15 seconds, plug in the power cord.
  4. Finally, press the power button after 5 seconds to turn on your computer.
Very old Macs
Mac notebook with a removable battery:

Although these are a little bit more ancient, some Macs even had batteries you could remove. These include pre-2009 MacBooks and MacBook Pros. These machines also had a way of resetting the SMC, and to do that, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the computer completely.
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe power connector and any other plug accessories if you have them plugged in.
  3. Remove the battery from the computer.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds and then release the power button.
  5. Re-install the battery and reattach the MagSafe adapter and any other accessories.
  6. Turn your computer back on with the power button.

After following these steps correctly, your Mac’s SMC will have been reset, and hopefully, the X on your MacBook’s battery will be gone.

Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, and Xserve:

If you aren’t using a notebook but instead an Intel-based Mac desktop computer, such as the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, or Xserve, then the steps to reset your computer’s SMC will involve the following steps:

  1. Shut down your computer completely before moving on to the next step.
  2. Unplug the power cord and any other plugs from your Mac so there is no power being supplied to the computer.
  3. Wait 15 seconds, and then reattach your power cord and any accessories.
  4. Wait five additional seconds, and then turn your Mac back on with the power button.

Run Apple Diagnostics

If resetting the SMC didn’t fix the problem, you can try running Apple Diagnostics. This won’t actually fix the issue, but it can help determine which hardware component might be at fault. Apple Diagnostics also suggests solutions and helps you contact Apple Support for assistance.

GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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