I recently bought the new MacBook 12" and since it uses a USB-C port and not the traditional MagSafe one, I wanted to know if there is some way for me to know whether it is charging or not while it is switched off. I know that when we connect the charging cable we get a sound and the battery percentage shows up on the screen but I wanted to know if there is a way to know that in-between the charging without booting up.

  • Assuming the power adapter is plugged in and there is not an issue with any circuitry and the battery is not fully charged, then it should be charging. You'll just have to make a mental note of how much charge it had when you shutdown and see what you have when you start it back up later. If there's no change, then it's not charging. Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 14:06
  • @user3439894 I think the point is to be alerted that your charger has a problem before booting up in the morning and realizing that you have no charge.
    – Arc676
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 14:13
  • @Arc676, I well aware of what the point is however in the absence of an indicator light, what I said is one way of dealing with the issue! However, if you want the official take on it then read: If your power adapter isn‘t charging your MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 14:17
  • I am sorry if the question was a bit misunderstood. I do know that my charger is working even when the laptop is turned off, I wanted to know if there was a way to know whether it is charging at some specific moment like the MagSafe charger had an indicator light as said by user3439894 Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 14:31
  • If the device is turned off then the answer is no, as there is not an indicator light. If you suspect your charger is not working, then aside from my first comment read the Apple document linked in my second comment. The other option is to use a multimeter to test connector/circuitry prior to plugging in the USB-C cable to see that it's hot and outputting correctly per specifications. If it's not charging at that point then the issue is internal to the device itself and will need further troubleshooting, some of which is detailed in the linked document in my other comment Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 14:49

4 Answers 4


Curiously, Mac portables has been designed to be put to sleep instead of shutdown for very long time (I occasionally reboot, but never shutdown my iBook G4, which is from 2004)

So the solution would be using it as how it was designed, put it to sleep, open lid to check.

Yay, that's the USB standard's issue. They should have spec in optional indicator and signaling to the USB connector.

  • 1
    The indicator may not be available, e.g. when you restore your new Mac from a TimeMachine backup.
    – Ben-Uri
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 15:50

You will need an adapter but here's a quick, easy, inexpensive solution:

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Sorry to say, but it's not possible to check that without looking on screen. The idea from tjt263 is a good one, but since USB type C is fairly new, there isn't an adapter available for USB-C. I suggest to wait 'til new cables with a charging indicator included are released.


I have the same issue. My solution is to unplug the usb-c and plug it again and it shows the battery status on the display.

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