The latest revision to Apple's magnetically coupled laptop
charging system, MagSafe 3, appeared just weeks ago in the new
14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro or M1 Max
processors. Some reports of charging difficulties quickly
Some users have found that they have a persistent flashing
yellow LED—Apple calls the color amber—on their MagSafe 3
cable's magnetic connector when correctly plugged into the port and
the included USB-C adapter. MagSafe has always made it effectively
impossible to plug in its connector the wrong way: either it makes
the right contact with multiple charging elements and can pass
power, or it doesn't. (If charging properly, the cable head's LED
should be a solid yellow; when fully charged, green.)
However, even if the cable head's indicator is flashing yellow,
charging continues—just seemingly not using the fast charge feature
that can add a 50 percent charge to a low battery within 30 minutes
when using the MagSafe 3 connector with the right power adapter.
This problem doesn't appear widespread, but it's common enough
you can find people in online forums trying to find answers, and a
Macworld reader experienced it first-hand. Owners have worked
through several ideas to fixing the problem: getting Apple to
replace the cable, adapter, or both, or even swap out the entire
laptop. People have reinstalled macOS, and even used the
complicated Apple Configurator 2 option to restore the M1-series
Mac's firmware. (See How to revive or restore an unresponsive Mac from
Some people report that Apple phone support told them to shut
down their Mac and then hold down Control-Option-Shift at restart.
That would be great…except it's a feature that only works with Intel Macs, and only
Intel Macs that shipped before around 2016 and lack the T2
If you're having this problem, it may actually be a firmware
issue related to Monterey's 12.0.1 release. In a confusing
sequence, Apple shipped macOS 12.0.1 almost immediately after the
initial release of Monterey. However, the 14-inch and 16-inch
MacBook Pros were already in production, and the 12.0.0 system
release had been preinstalled onto their SSDs. When first powering
up one of these models, buyers were prompted to install 12.0.1.
Based on reports, people who haven't yet upgraded to 12.0.1 are
not seeing the flashing-yellow issue.
If you're experiencing this problem, time may solve it. The 12.1
release of Monterey should appear in the new future with several
new features—and hopefully a fix for this one.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted
by Macworld reader Mike.
Ask Mac 911
We've compiled a list of the questions we get asked most
frequently, along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is
covered. If not, we're always looking for new problems to solve!
Email yours to email@example.com, including screen captures as
appropriate and whether you want your full name used. Not every
question will be answered, we don't reply to email, and we cannot
provide direct troubleshooting advice.