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I have just noticed a brown type of sticky residue in my charge port on my MacBook Pro, it wipes off but not completely and to me it smells like battery.

Can anybody tell me if I have a problem here, or if this is normal?

Image of brown sticky residue in MacBook Pro charging connector

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Are you able to screw it open to check the battery? – Rob Feb 6 '14 at 11:30
im hesitant to open it up... i not a mac genius and dont want to cause any more problems. you ever seen or heard of this before? – Louzy Feb 6 '14 at 11:56
You won't break anything by just screwing the bottom-plate off. Nothing is attached to it, so you cannot break anything. For your info, the battery is not directly attached to that pin, so it can never be the battery. Can it be any piece of tape that probably got in it, or something else like coffee?? – Rob Feb 6 '14 at 12:10
How old is the machine? Check About this MAc...More info System Report... Power. What is the number of cycles on battery? Shorter Alt click on battery icon. What is the Condition. Sounds like the battery might by faulty. Either way go to apple store and have it checked. Faulty battery can damage whole computer. – Joop Feb 6 '14 at 12:17
Did you ever get a definitive answer for this? I have EXACTLY the same brown gunk, right in the same place. The guy at the Apple store kept telling me I probably spilled something on it (sideways?). – user76244 Apr 20 '14 at 15:17
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The battery is no where near that part - it's in the hand rest portion of the computer. Also, lithium polymer batteries don't really ooze liquids that would travel that far inside the computer, so it's probably the result of a spill near that area or just corrosion (rust) of the contact once the plastic covering has worn away.

However, any liquid or corrosion by the charging port should get checked out with someone moderately familiar with how electronics work - especially if you leave it plugged in and not on a fireproof table if you could be risking a fire in a house where people sleep or someone might not be aware enough to leave if trouble starts.

The time it would take for a technician to give your Mac the "all clear" would be 5 minutes and the screwdriver needed to pop the top. This is the equivalent of opening the hood and measuring the oil level in a car or truck.

I would clean off the area with a cotton swab and watch. If any more coloration or liquid arrives, take it in for service. Also, if the liquid were inside, you will see some coming out of the thunderbolt port as well. If a bright light and light magnification (or iPhone picture with flash) doesn't show any additional moisture, you might be safe with just some surface rust / a one time wet magsafe connector.

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@bmike... thnx for the advice... will do as you say. – Louzy Feb 6 '14 at 13:40
@Louzy Great picture by the way. I'll upload some as I see the beginnings of the rust color on my newish retina MBP. Perhaps it's just fine ferric dust that will corrode in the atmosphere without any moisture at all. – bmike Feb 6 '14 at 14:29
I thought it looked like rust! – L.B. Sep 17 '14 at 16:08

I have had something like this with several MacBooks.

The MagSafe ports can attract ferrous particles - iron or steel filings, or even the small percentage of minerals in normal urban dust. Combined with temperature change and humidity, such particles can start to corrode which can discolour the connector.

If it wipes off there should be little damage.

These days I just watch out for any visible accumulation. I find Blu-Tack brand adhesive good for collecting the stuff.

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