Dodgy MacBook Pro Chargers?

So, with great reluctance, I hopped onto the online apple store to buy a new magsafe charger for our various MacBook Pros. Out of the six or so chargers we’ve had over the years, the only one that still works is the 10 year old one we got with the first MacBook Pro. The newest charger hasn’t survived a year. One recently melted through the cable, with smoke coming from it.

I was about to buy one, and noticed the reviews. 608 Reviews with an average of 1.5 out of 5. Most saying the same thing- they just aren’t durable. They stop working, fray, overheat, are very expensive- and people have to keep replacing them.

Are there any consumer protection laws to stop manufacturers selling such bad quality (and I suspect, designed to fail) products? How are manufacturers allowed to keep selling these?

As a side note, the computers themselves have been durable- one of ours fell off the roof of a 4WD a km into the journey. Some of the aluminum was sheared off each of the corners as it bounced on the road, but years later it’s still working well. That doesn’t make the chargers any less dodgy though…


Looks like there is a major quality issue with those chargers, thanks for highlighting it @Ijon. I’ll be sure to pass the info onto my colleagues in investigations.

As far as the Australian Consumer Law goes, the chargers should last a ‘reasonable’ amount of time or you should receive a repair or replacement. What’s reasonable can be debated, but personally I would make a complaint to Apple under the grounds that the charger should reasonably last as long as the laptop under normal operating conditions. If Apple fail to compensate you, then you can escalate the complaint to your local fair trading body.


I’ve repaired a couple that have suffered cord failure at the hands of a chair and an animal - but the internals aren’t intended to be serviced.

That aside - and because it is a current issue for me (pardon the pun) in keeping my partners Mac running, I did a few searches. As you’d possibly expect, based on the intimate dance the chargers light does with the Mac, its not that simple - here’s a slightly earlier version (I believe) teardown:

There are also a number of sites that talk of dodgy aftermarket chargers with some interesting (and dangerous) looking safety issues.

My point - complexity sometimes leads to higher failure rates - and higher failure rates seem likely to drive consumers to cheap copies.

Surely the life expectancy of the charger would reasonably be the same as the Mac itself?


Thanks Brendan for the advice, and draughtrider for sharing that article- it was fascinating! I have a whole new respect for those chargers. But you both make a fair point that chargers might be expected to last as long as the computer, if not abused. I’ll see what Apple have to say about replacing them.

There’s always a huge discrepancy between how long I expect a product to last and what the manufacturer deems a reasonable lifetime, judging by the warranty periods you get on electronics and appliances!


Interesting, I hadn’t heard of any issues with chargers before. My own Mac Pros are from 2011 and have outlasted two sets of batteries. All of of the devs in my last company, and now here at Choice are all on Macbooks of various flavours and not a failed charger between them (we’re talking around 50 odd mac laptops in total). Mine get abused pretty well with cats and being left under lounges, heaters etc. That said, mine and most that I know are on pretty much permanently, so no thermal stress on them. I wonder if the failure rates mentioned in the above reviews are non-professional users where they are only used occasionally, so heat cycling becomes the major cause of failure?


Heat cycling could well be an issue - anecdotally I know of people who use them ‘professionally’ who rely on battery a lot - and ‘home users’ who leave it plugged in all the time … either way, with a sample size of 50 I’d have thought if there was a common theme you’d have seen it … for me it’s the robustness of the low voltage side of the power supply, but where I’ve seen it fail is where it is usually/often lugged around with the Mac and ‘well used’/exposed to ‘danger’ - the cable itself has rather a soft sheath though the core does seem quite robust up until the point it isn’t.

It does sound like the type of use makes a difference.

My mother has a MacBook Pro, and she lovingly takes care of it. The sheath of her charger cable came apart and the charger stopped working after a couple of years.

She does however turn off the notebook when she’s done using it and carefully wrap up the charger cable and put it away. Although both might have affected the lifespan of the cable, neither is abuse. It’s a notebook. They’re made to be packed and moved, and I think few people treat their notebooks with quite as much care as she does.

Our own MacBooks are used for work- sometimes they’re left on for long stretches of time, then they’ll be taken out every day to clients for long stretches.

That said, there’s also a chance though that the newer chargers fail quicker (like my mother’s charger, and the charger we’ve owned less than a year), given our 10 year old charger is going strong. It’s hard to tell - we’re not exactly running a rigorous experiment on them. :slight_smile:

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I was just wondering about this too – just reluctantly purchased an Apple Magsafe 2 charger as my early 2013 MBP charger sheath has developed a number of holes over the last 6 months. I’ve taken really good care of the charger and it’s not used outside a desktop environment much. It’s still working but I understand it to be unsafe as it is. Had to buy Apple given the significant number of warnings about aftermarket MBP chargers but the reviews of the Apple chargers really worried me… especially as they seem to cost between AUD110 and 140 :roll_eyes: