16-inch MacBook Pro owners suffer strange MagSafe charging problems

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2021 MacBook Pro MagSafe
Is your MacBook Pro charging properly?
Photo: Apple

Some 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro owners are being plagued by mysterious MagSafe charging problems.

A number of users say their machines fail to charge when they are powered off, with the LED light on the MagSafe charger flashing amber, indicating there is a charging problem. At least one has had their MacBook replaced.

16-inch MacBook Pro faces MagSafe issues

When you plug the MagSafe charger into your MacBook Pro, it should glow amber to indicate the notebook is charging, then glow green when it’s fully charged. But for a growing number of users, that’s not happening.

It seems that in certain cases, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is not charging correctly when it is closed and powered off.

“Recently I noticed that when the MacBook is shut down completely there is an issue with charging,” reported one 2021 MacBook Pro owner on Reddit. “The LED on the charging cable repeatedly turns on and off and with each time it does you can hear the charing sound effect.”

“I have the EXACT same issue,” wrote another. “Went to the Genius Bar and they tested with a cable and charger that they have and it still had the same problem. They said they would order a new 140 watt charger for me to see it would fix it but said most likely it’s a firmware issue.”

“This seems to be in on going issue,” added another. “Apple requested my cable and MacBook for engineering to test. It doesn’t happen in all computers.”

What’s going on?

As noted above, the issue doesn’t affect all machines, and seems completely nonexistent on 14-inch MacBook Pro models. But its root cause remains a mystery. Fixes suggested by Apple either don’t work at all, or they prove temporarily successful before the problem returns.

An Apple support article on MagSafe chargers confirms that if the charger’s LED light flashes amber, there is a problem. That documents outlines a number of potential solutions, but again, they don’t eliminate the problem.

Some users report that they’ve had chargers and even notebooks replaced by Apple. However, it’s not yet clear whether that’s necessary long-term, or whether a firmware update might fix the problem in the future.

We asked Apple for more information, and will update this post if we get a response.