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MacBook Air dies a lot, hard to restart 2014 model

Justin N07138

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 25, 2020
1
0
Sort of a long story but the TLDR version is my macbook air dies without warning and does not like to turn back on and I am wondering if it's a hardware issue or possible virus/ransomware.

OK so I have had this macbook air since 2016 (4.3 years) and have never had issues. It's mostly a surfing the net laptop when I get bored of using my phone. Like typing stuff and netxflix. I was away a couple of weeks ago, left it sleeping and when I came back, it wouldn't turn on. Nada. So I looked online and got a screw set and also made an appointment with at the mac genius bar. After I unplugged and replugged the battery it magically worked. Now I should back up because right before all this I also got some rando text from my employer that they were a victim of ransomware and word on the street was to delete all apps associated with work. The only app I had was the VPN and I did notice that the VPN would come on, start and then shut my laptop down. This all preceded the big shutoff by a day or two. I deleted the VPN stuff off the computer (at least on a surface level).

It died again after about a day. So I let it sit until the genius appointment. Went in and the guy pushed power and it started. No issues. I explain everything to him. The ransomware. He is like "oh this is probably a hardware issue" and runs a ton of tests on it and even though the battery is up to like 770 cycles, everything else checks out as ok so his next comment is that "it could be a software issue". Ok what does that even mean? He shrugs and is like basically no help in diagnosing anything.

I get home and again, the macbook goes to sleep, then it won't turn back on. It has dozed a few times and I was able to wake it up. But now when it starts, there is this long black bar under my name that shows up and takes a long time to boot up. That's new.

Today, I unplugged the battery bc that seems to be part of the issue. When I plug it in and it won't start the orange light in the charger just stays lit even when the battery is fully charged. Sometimes... So I unplugged the battery completely today and I am using the cord as power. Back is all screwed back on too. It has still shut down from sleep. It also restarted by itself for no apparent reason. I heard it while I was making dinner. Then when I turned it off, it wouldn't start until about the 3rd or 4th attempt of me unplugging it (so no power) and then holding the power key down for a long time (counting to 20 or more).

So what is the deal?

  • Is this a virus or side effect of ransomware?
  • Is my macbook air just old?
  • I saw something about it only starting on a flat, hard surface. Could some sensors being going out?
  • I also deleted flash off bc it opens like every three minutes and would cause it to crash
  • I just updated too
  • Did I miss something? Did the mac genius miss something??
I am not thrilled with the idea of shelling out $1k for another macbook air. My work laptop is a dell and although it is the definition of suck it is also easy enough to use and would be way cheaper to buy a new version of that if all I am doing is posting to Reddit and watching Netflix.

*I posted to Reddit and got one response which was "your batteries are probably dying" which would not explain the problems persisting when the battery is disconnected and it is just using power, right?
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,794
1,500
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Air's will run much slower if the OS does not detect a battery.

How is the battery health? I see the # of cycles is 770.

Have you tried a clean OS installation?

The bar under your username could be the Air restoring from the hibernation file on the SSD.
 
Comment

xboxbml

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2015
129
44
Sort of a long story but the TLDR version is my macbook air dies without warning and does not like to turn back on and I am wondering if it's a hardware issue or possible virus/ransomware.

OK so I have had this macbook air since 2016 (4.3 years) and have never had issues. It's mostly a surfing the net laptop when I get bored of using my phone. Like typing stuff and netxflix. I was away a couple of weeks ago, left it sleeping and when I came back, it wouldn't turn on. Nada. So I looked online and got a screw set and also made an appointment with at the mac genius bar. After I unplugged and replugged the battery it magically worked. Now I should back up because right before all this I also got some rando text from my employer that they were a victim of ransomware and word on the street was to delete all apps associated with work. The only app I had was the VPN and I did notice that the VPN would come on, start and then shut my laptop down. This all preceded the big shutoff by a day or two. I deleted the VPN stuff off the computer (at least on a surface level).

It died again after about a day. So I let it sit until the genius appointment. Went in and the guy pushed power and it started. No issues. I explain everything to him. The ransomware. He is like "oh this is probably a hardware issue" and runs a ton of tests on it and even though the battery is up to like 770 cycles, everything else checks out as ok so his next comment is that "it could be a software issue". Ok what does that even mean? He shrugs and is like basically no help in diagnosing anything.

I get home and again, the macbook goes to sleep, then it won't turn back on. It has dozed a few times and I was able to wake it up. But now when it starts, there is this long black bar under my name that shows up and takes a long time to boot up. That's new.

Today, I unplugged the battery bc that seems to be part of the issue. When I plug it in and it won't start the orange light in the charger just stays lit even when the battery is fully charged. Sometimes... So I unplugged the battery completely today and I am using the cord as power. Back is all screwed back on too. It has still shut down from sleep. It also restarted by itself for no apparent reason. I heard it while I was making dinner. Then when I turned it off, it wouldn't start until about the 3rd or 4th attempt of me unplugging it (so no power) and then holding the power key down for a long time (counting to 20 or more).

So what is the deal?

  • Is this a virus or side effect of ransomware?
  • Is my macbook air just old?
  • I saw something about it only starting on a flat, hard surface. Could some sensors being going out?
  • I also deleted flash off bc it opens like every three minutes and would cause it to crash
  • I just updated too
  • Did I miss something? Did the mac genius miss something??
I am not thrilled with the idea of shelling out $1k for another macbook air. My work laptop is a dell and although it is the definition of suck it is also easy enough to use and would be way cheaper to buy a new version of that if all I am doing is posting to Reddit and watching Netflix.

*I posted to Reddit and got one response which was "your batteries are probably dying" which would not explain the problems persisting when the battery is disconnected and it is just using power, right?
I will preface this by saying I'm not responsible for any further damage or loss. I'm just trying to give suggestions in good faith to assist. Please read fully.
A couple questions.. Has it EVER been dropped, or exposed to liquids/moisture in ANY way at ANY time in its life? Did you buy it used or new?
Hidden corrosion could cause issues like this. Did you notice any on the top of boards when you removed the bottom case? Sometimes it's hard to see unless you have strong light and microscope/magnifying glass. May also be on bottom of boards.. I wouldn't suggest removing anything to see unless you've done it before and know what you're doing. I would try this first. Do a pram/nvram reset. https://www.macworld.com/article/2881177/how-to-reset-a-macs-nvram-pram-and-smc.html
If that doesn't help, reset SMC. If that doesn't help, if you have all your data backed up somehow(Time Machine/file copy), preferably before the issue started, you could install macOS from scratch and not put anything back on it, and just use it to see if you can repeat the issue. Install from USB stick of the macOS installer and format the SSD and load OS from that. If it does it with bare bones OS install, then I would say it IS a hardware issue. Also, you may want to see if you can get ahold of a different genuine Apple known good power adapter and try that. Bad/non-genuine chargers can cause weird issues. If it works ok with fresh OS install, with the original battery connected of course, then I would say it's a software related issue in some form. You also may want to replace the battery if you keep it. That's a lot of cycles. I have around 397 and I'm thinking of getting a new one on my 2015. Or, you may just want to find a reputable local Mac repair shop and have them look at it. Hopefully, if you have any data on that you want to save, you've already backed it up somehow before the issue started. If it is somehow software related, you don't want to put the issue back on via Time Machine restore or file copy. Good luck. Let us know what you do/results.
 
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