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Can A MacBook Get Too Cold? (Apple Says…)

People often attribute exposure to excess heat to their MacBook’s demise. Hot charging cables, leaving your laptop in the car on a sunny day, or running it with too many programs can cause various internal problems. However, cold temperatures are equally detrimental to your MacBook, and frost can cause irreparable damage.

It is bad if your MacBook gets cold because the battery can freeze, crack, or even begin to expand when it warms back up. Your MacBook uses a lithium-ion battery that shouldn’t be charged below 32°F (0°C), though Apple recommends keeping it above 50°F (10°C) for safe charging and use. 

Throughout this article, we’ll also cover the following information about why you shouldn’t let your MacBook get too cold:

  • How cold it can get before irreparable damage occurs
  • What to do if your MacBook Air won’t turn on when it’s cold
  • Tips to warm your laptop before turning it on

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How Cold Is Too Cold for a MacBook Pro?

Apple recommends keeping the MacBook above 50°F (10°C) for safe charging and use. The lithium-ion battery can freeze, crack or begin to expand when it warms back up.

If you’re worried about your MacBook Pro getting too cold this winter, you’re in the right place. Leaving it outside, in a car, or anywhere else it’s exposed to freezing temperatures can cause long-term issues. Instead of risking it every time you store your MacBook Pro, consider the following recommendations.

MacBook’s Temperature Guidelines

Forbes explains Apple has set temperature guidelines for their MacBook Pro’s ranging from 50°F (10°C) to 95°F (35°C). These recommendations apply to most Apple products, including most MacBook models, tablets, desktop computers, smartphones, and so on. Although some people have had luck using their Apple gadgets outside these parameters, it’s not recommended.

One thing that terrifies every Mac owner is the damage spilling liquids can do to your machine but are MacBooks waterproof or water-resistant in any way? Learn the truth in our article.

Low Temperatures Are Dangerous MacBooks

If your MacBook gets too hot, it can fry the internal components. However, did you know low temperatures can cause similar issues? For example, when the frost melts, it turns into water and ruins the battery and other components. It’d be best never to let your MacBook Pro get any colder than the aforementioned temperature range.

Proper Storage Recommendations

The best way to avoid your MacBook Pro getting too cold is to follow the proper storage suggestions. For example, keep it in a laptop backpack or sleeve as much as possible when you’re not using it. Remember that your MacBook shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight or freezing temperatures as both issues can cause irreversible effects.

Unfortunately, many people neglect to keep their MacBooks safe from cold temperatures. We often associate heat with damaging electronics, but it’s important never to let your tech equipment dip below their manufacturer’s recommendations. In the next section, we’ll dive into a few common problems that could occur.

Keeping your MacBook in a case that does protect it from direct sunlight but can cause overheating issues? Know the facts in our article.

MacBook Air Too Cold To Turn On

If you’re powering your MacBook Air, but it won’t turn on, cold temperatures are likely playing a role. When your laptop gets too cold, it won’t work as it should, much like your phone or tablet. There are plenty of reasons an icy day could cause severe problems, all of which we’ll cover today.

Here’s a list of five explanations for your MacBook Air’s failure to turn on:

  • The battery might’ve cracked. If it gets too cold, your laptop’s battery can crack from excessive pressure. Water contracts and expands, breaking the case, chipping the internal components, and making it nearly unusable. If this happens, it’ll take a lot longer for it to turn on (if ever).
  • There’s a chance your MacBook’s battery died. Hot and cold temperatures can drain your laptop’s battery as it fights to stay within the guidelines mentioned in the previous section. This process takes a toll on it, but all you have to do is charge the battery, and you’ll be good to go. According to MacSales, you should never charge a cold battery.
  • The charging cable or block could be damaged. While the cable typically withstands a beating, your MacBook Air’s charging block is susceptible to the same issues as the battery. If it’s too cold or frozen, it won’t do its job. Cold air can crack or expose the internals to various problems.
  • Frost can cause problems on any part of your MacBook. Whether you’re worried about the battery, charging block, hard drive, or any other component, everything needs to be protected from cold temperatures. It doesn’t need to be snowy or rainy for your MacBook to be permanently damaged from low temperatures.
  • Your laptop might need to be warmed up. Sometimes, all you have to do is warm your laptop before using it. Give it a few minutes in some blankets, a pillowcase, and out of cold rooms. Keeping your MacBook Air warm can make a world of difference in terms of longevity and usability.

Apple-designed MacBooks to last for a long time, but letting them get too cold will drastically shorten their lifespan. Everything from the laptop itself to the charging block needs to be stored in a safe environment to prevent the problems above. Instead of letting it freeze, review the numerous helpful suggestions below.

how to warm up a macbook

The good news is your MacBook likely isn’t ruined when it gets cold once or twice. There’s a lot you can do to keep it in good condition, even if it’s too cold to activate. Before we jump into the suggestion, remember you should never use pocket warmers, space heaters, or leave your laptop by a fireplace to warm it up. These mistakes can cost you your laptop.

This is the four-step process to warm up your MacBook Pro:

  1. Keep your MacBook Pro in a sleeve or backpack (or both). Proper storage starts with protecting your laptop from outside temperatures. Backpacks, sleeves, and cases provide excellent insulation. Your laptop won’t get nearly as cold if it’s left in a backpack or at least a laptop messenger bag.
  2. Bring it into a warmer room. Despite all other recommendations, Kuzy Products states moving your laptop into a temperature-appropriate room can be the biggest difference-maker in the situation. Never try to warm your laptop when it’s in a cold environment; you’ll risk causing cold air pockets.
  3. Bundle your laptop in thin sheets and keep it off the ground. Warm temperatures rise, and the ground absorbs heat. Leaving your MacBook Pro too low will drain the heat from it. Instead, bundle it in a few sheets or leave it in a pillowcase with a pillow to quickly increase its temperature in a matter of minutes.
  4. Use fans to increase the temperature and remove frost if needed. Although it might seem like fans would reduce your laptop’s temperature, they actually move ambient air throughout its surface. This process removes cold air and replaces it with room-temperature air. It’s an easy way to make your laptop usable and ready to charge.

Gradually raising your MacBook’s temperature often brings it back to life, letting you charge and use it as you please. If it doesn’t turn on, contact Apple’s support line at 800–692–7753. Check your manufacturer’s warranty to see if your laptop is covered for cold-related damages.

Does it matter at what percentage you charge your MacBook? To know what percentage is optimal for MacBook battery health please see our article.

Conclusion

Now that you know why it’s bad for your Apple MacBook to get cold, you can try some of the previously mentioned tips to preserve your laptop. Whether it’s in a car, garage, or backpack, your MacBook is susceptible to freezing and other cold-related problems. Keep it above 50°F (10°C) to stay within Apple’s guidelines.

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Store your laptop in a room-temperature environment.
  • Warm your MacBook with fans, blankets, and sleeves.
  • A MacBook’s battery can freeze and crack if it’s too cold.

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