MacBook Air Not Recognizing Battery [Fixed]

The MacBook Air is an extremely powerful and convenient computer. Unfortunately, it also commonly runs into an issue where it displays “No Batteries Available” and begins to run sluggishly despite having a charged battery. How can this battery issue be fixed?

1. Run Apple Diagnostics

Before trying any other troubleshooting with your MacBook Air, you should use Apple’s built-in diagnostic tool to attempt to determine the cause of the issue.

You can run Apple Diagnostics and check the health of your computer with just a few simple steps.

  1. Shut down your MacBook Air. The best way to do this is by clicking on the Apple icon and selecting Shut down. Wait for it to power off completely.
  2. Disconnect it from all external devices and peripherals. You can leave your keyboard, mouse, display, power connector, and Ethernet connection (if applicable) plugged in.
  3. Place your MacBook Air on a hard, flat, and well-ventilated surface. Search for the serial number on the bottom of it to determine when it was made.
  4. If your machine was made during or after 2020, press and continue to hold the power button as your Mac turns on. Release the power key when you see the startup options window appear, and then press Command (⌘) + D. 
  5. If your MacBook Air was made before 2020, press the power button to turn your Mac on and then immediately press and hold the D key. When a progress bar appears, or your Mac prompts you to select a language, release the key.

Once you’ve successfully started Apple Diagnostics, the MacBook Air will display a progress bar as the diagnostic program looks for all possible issues. A results page will appear after all of the diagnostic tests are complete. If it has any issues, diagnostic codes will appear.

You can identify your MacBook’s diagnostic codes using this Apple Diagnostics reference codes guide.

If Apple Diagnostics alerts you to an issue with your battery, you may need to take your MacBook Air to an Apple Store for repair services.

2. Reset Your MacBook Air’s SMC

The most common cause of a MacBook Air not recognizing its battery is accumulated glitches that cause the SMC, or System Management Controller, to malfunction.

Because the System Management Controller handles functions like power management, any malfunctions in the SMC can cause your MacBook to behave extremely strangely.

If you suspect that your MacBook Air might not recognize its battery due to issues with the System Management Controller, you can look for other symptoms to confirm.

Here are some of the most common signs of SMC malfunction.

  • Refusal to go to sleep.
  • The power button failed to work as expected.
  • The graphics card is malfunctioning.
  • No response when opening or closing your MacBook.
  • Sluggish performance.
  • No indicator when you plug in or remove your MagSafe power adapter.
  • Fans are running extremely loudly.
  • Overheating.
  • Unexpected shutdowns.
  • Erratic or inconsistent indicator lights.

As you can see, the problems that come with a malfunctioning SMC are extremely frustrating to deal with.

Luckily, performing an SMC reset is extremely simple — and in many cases, it can completely fix the issues you’re experiencing with your MacBook Air. It’s important to note that the ones produced in 2018 or later use a different process to reset the SMC.

Before attempting to reset the SMC, you should determine when your MacBook Air was produced by searching for the serial number on the bottom of the computer. If you want to reset the SMC on an older model, you must perform a power cycling procedure.

Here are the steps you need to take to reset the SMC on your pre-2018 MacBook Air.

  1. Shut down your Mac. You can do this in multiple ways, but the best way to do so is by clicking on the Apple icon and clicking shut down. Wait for it to power down completely.
  2. On the left side of your keyboard, hold down the Control and Option keys. Simultaneously, hold down the power button and the right Shift key. Continue holding all four keys for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Release all four keys. Turn it back on. Check to see whether it recognizes the battery. You can also look to see if other signs of SMC malfunction have disappeared. If your Mac exhibits the same issues, you may need to reattempt the SMC reset or try other repair methods.

Newer MacBook Air computers are designed to be much easier to SMC reset. Here are the steps you can use to reset the SMC on a machine that was produced in 2018 or later.

  1. Shut down your Mac. The best way to do this is by clicking the Apple icon and selecting Shut Down. Wait for it to power down completely.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, then release it. Wait for 5 seconds.
  3. Gently press the power button to turn on your Mac. Once the computer has booted, check to see if the MacBook recognizes the battery. 

Resetting the SMC on newer models is often a two-step process.

If the computer still doesn’t recognize the battery, you may need to complete a few extra steps. Here’s everything you’ll need to do to reset the SMC on your MacBook Air.

  1. Shut down your Mac again. You can hold the power button or select shut down in the Apple menu. Wait for the computer to completely shut off.
  2. Press and hold the left Option and Control keys. Simultaneously, hold down the right Shift key. Wait 7 seconds.
  3. Press and hold the power button as you continue to hold the Option, Control, and Shift keys. Wait 7 seconds, then release all four keys.
  4. Press the power button. Wait for your Mac to turn on, and confirm whether or not the SMC reset was successful by checking if your battery is recognized. If not, you will need to use alternative methods to fix your MacBook Air. 

3. Reset Your MacBook Air’s PRAM / NVRAM

Like with the SMC, accumulated errors with the PRAM / NVRAM can cause your MacBook Air to fail to recognize the battery.

The PRAM / NVRAM stores essential data like your selected startup disk, screen resolution, time zone, speaker volume, and other system settings to ensure they load correctly on startup.

As the PRAM or NVRAM fails, it doesn’t take long for issues to appear. The MacBook Air may begin to display the wrong time, forget settings and configurations, and even fail to recognize the battery. If your MacBook begins to experience these issues, you’ll need to perform a reset.

If made in 2020 or later, it automatically tests the NVRAM upon each startup. For this reason, you don’t need to take any extra steps to test whether it’s functioning. If you want to force it to test the NVRAM immediately, all you need to do is restart your MacBook.

Manually resetting the PRAM / NVRAM is also a simple process. Here are all the steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Shut down your MacBook Air. You can do this by pressing the Apple icon and selecting shut down.
  2. Press the power button and wait for it to start up. Immediately as it starts, press and hold Command + Option + P + R for over 20 seconds. Release the keys.
  3. Wait for your MacBook Air to boot. You will need to reconfigure it in System Preferences. Additionally, you should check to see whether it recognizes the battery. If not, you will need to try other repair methods.

It’s important to note that peripherals like keyboards, particularly Bluetooth keyboards, can behave strangely during the startup process and cause your attempts to fail.

As you press the keys during startup, you should use a USB or built-in keyboard.

4. Replace Your MacBook Air’s Battery

If your MacBook continues to indicate that no battery is detected, it might be time to replace it. This is particularly true if the battery is older since it can complete limited charge cycles before dying. If you plan on replacing your MacBook’s battery, you should take it to Apple or an authorized service provider.

Third-party repairs and off-brand batteries may result in subpar results, and your warranty will be broken, too. It’s particularly important to have your MacBook Air serviced by Apple or an authorized service provider because the battery is built-in.

Unfortunately, this means that unskilled technicians are much more likely to accidentally damage the computer in a way that your warranty won’t cover and won’t be cheap to repair. You may be eligible to replace your battery for free if you have a warranty like the AppleCare Protection Plan.

If you don’t have a warranty or the plan doesn’t cover the specific issue with your battery, replacement costs are generally minimal. 

How To Take Care of Your MacBook Air’s Battery

A pair of woman's hands is protecting a battery.

It can be an extremely frustrating situation when your MacBook’s battery fails and begins to cause strange errors. Once your battery is back to working as intended, one of the most important things you can do is adopt good usage habits to prevent the same situation from happening.

Here are my best tips for taking care of your MacBook’s battery.

Keep MacOS Updated

If you want to take advantage of all the latest battery-optimizing features, you should make sure that your MacBook Air is always updated to the latest version of macOS.

Aside from the battery longevity benefits this habit offers, you’ll also find that your device is much faster and more secure.

Protect Your MacBook Air From Extreme Temperatures

Batteries are extremely sensitive to extreme temperatures, and unfortunately, the battery in your MacBook Air is no exception. Environmental factors like heat, cold, and moisture can cause your battery to fail much earlier than expected. 

If you want your MacBook Air to continue functioning at its best, you must protect it from these extreme temperatures and conditions. According to Apple, you should only use your MacBook in temperatures between 50 and 95°F (10 to 35°C). 

As far as storing it goes, it turns out that the device will be safe in a much wider range of conditions. Apple states you can safely store it in temperatures ranging from -4 to 113°F (-20 to 45°C). 

To protect it from extreme temperatures, you should be mindful of where you leave the device. For example, you should never leave your MacBook in the car on a sunny day or place the device in direct sunlight. 

It’s also important to note that you should monitor the heat your MacBook produces. If it produces excessive heat, it may cause battery damage.

Unplug Your MacBook When It’s Finished Charging

As your MacBook charges, it produces heat. While this extra heat is acceptable for a routine charge, it’s believed that it can cause damage over time when you constantly keep it plugged in.

If you want to keep your MacBook’s battery as healthy as possible, unplug it when it’s finished charging.

If you routinely unplug it, it will be exposed to significantly less damaging heat over time.