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I have a 15" MacBook Pro (2015 Retina). On Friday I closed the lid, disconnected from power and put it away. Today, I tried turning it on but I got the low battery screen.

Little surprising but I've had it happen before that it would go in sleep mode (instead of hibernation like it's supposed to) when I close the lid and then empty the battery in my bag, so I thought nothing of it and plugged it in.

The screen changed from the "low battery, plug in" icon to "low battery, charging" icon. Usually this would let me boot within a couple of minutes, but this time it's now been hours on charge and still won't turn on.

I have tried ^ Control⌥ Option⇧ Shift⦿ Power to reset the SMC, no effect. The LED on my original Apple adapter stopped working a week ago or so, but it was charging fine so don't think that's related.

Why would the MacBook recognize that it's plugged in and charging, but still refuse to turn on because of low battery? Is there any way to fix this without taking it for servicing (almost impossible in the middle of lock down)?

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    The LED on my original Apple adaptor stopped working a week ago or so, but it was charging fine so don't think that's related - It's very much related. It very unlikely an LED itself will fail, - it's telling you that something has gone wrong - the first thing you want to try is a different adapter.
    – Allan
    Jul 27, 2020 at 17:56
  • The LED is actually related because I got the same issue and my LED broke 1 week ago too.
    – user467107
    Jul 27, 2022 at 18:44

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The LED confirms that the charging is actually taking place. If the LED stays off, then most likely reason is (keep in mind, LED life is 15000+ hrs.) that the adapter cannot provide the amount of wattage that the computer is requesting. This results in the adapter having voltage too low for the MacBook to be able to actually charge.

In other words, even though it is displaying that it is charging -- it is not, and the battery is actually getting discharged just from having to display this screen. Also, because the battery is so low, the computer is not starting.

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