MacBook beeping 3 times

MacBook Beeping 3 Times (3 Quick Fixes!)

It is undeniable that Apple makes superior and reliable laptops. In fact, the MacBook is one of the top 10 most sold laptops in the world. Having said that, they are not without their challenges. One such challenge reported my many Apple users is their MacBook making 3 beeps at startup and subsequently not turning on.

MacBook Beeping 3 Times

Your MacBook beeping 3 times indicates the RAM sticks are not making a proper connection. To fix it, first ground yourself and remove the bottom base of the MacBook. Then, carefully remove the RAM sticks. Finally, reorder the RAM sticks and reinsert them firmly back into the RAM seats.

That’s it! Simply reassemble your MacBook and attempt to power it on. The issue should now be fixed. If the issue persists, try resetting the SMC, RVRAM and PRAM.

In total, there are three troubleshooting steps you can follow.

I recommend you follow these steps in the exact order as detailed below.

Step 1: Inspect RAM Connection

Properly Ground Yourself

Prior to starting, you will need to learn how to properly ground yourself to avoid destroying your laptop with an electrostatic charge.

Do NOT skip this step.

MacBooks are made up of many fragile and delicate components that can easily be broken due to even a tiny static charge.

Remove The Bottom Base Of The MacBook Case

Ok, we are ready to open up your MacBook.

Before you get started, make sure that your Mac is unplugged and turned off.

Flip your Mac over and remove all of the screws.

The number of screws and their exact location will vary depending on your MacBook model and size.

Remove back of MacBook case

If you are having trouble finding them all, you can use the Apple MacBook manual lookup for guidance.

In most cases, a #1 or #2 sized Phillips screwdriver head will do the trick.

Once all the screws are removed, carefully separate the top and bottom parts of the case.

The easiest way to do this is to wedge a credit card or a guitar pick in between the top and bottom base. Run it along all four sides until it pops open.

DO NOT use a metal object as your wedge. Use something thin and plastic.

Once the case is loose, gently remove the base entirely.

Remove, Reorder and Reseat RAM Sticks

Computer random access memory (RAM) plays a significant role in your MacBook’s overall performance and speed.

Actively used information is stored on RAM on a short-term basis for quick access. In essence, RAM is what allows your Mac to perform its everyday tasks.

RAM sticks

Faulty RAM can prevent the motherboard from properly communicating with the RAM.

There are a number of common reasons RAM fails:

  • Thermal damage/overheating
  • Faulty connection
  • Voltage too high or too low
  • Damage due to improper handling

In the vast majority of cases, your Macbook beeping 3 times is because your RAM (Random Access Memory) sticks are not making a proper connection.

To test if this is the case, you will need to remove, reorder and reseat the RAM sticks.

To do so, with the base of your MacBook fully removed, first locate the “MacMemory” labeled components in the middle of the motherboard. These are the RAM sticks!

MACMemory RAM stick

Gently pull the two hinges on either side of the RAM sticks apart. When you do so, you will notice the sicks will naturally begin to surface.

It is important to note that there are two RAM sticks in the MacBook! Be sure to remove them both.

While the sticks are out, inspect them to make sure there is no visible damage. If there is an obvious crack or chip, you may need to purchase new RAM before proceeding.

Finally, reorder the RAM sticks and reinsert them firmly back into the RAM seats to ensure a proper connection.

Pro Tip: While you have your Macbook open and disassembled, it is also a good idea to clean the fans and ensure the RAM sticks are making a proper connection. By doing so you can prevent future overheating and RAM stick related errors.

Reassemble The MacBook Case And Reboot

That’s it! Perform all of the above steps in reverse order to put your Mac back together.

Go ahead and resemble your laptop and try starting it up. You should be back up and running!

If you find that this is a recurring issue, you likely need to replace your RAM sticks.

Step 2: Reset System Management Controller (SMC)

Notably, the system management controller (SMC) dictates how your MacBook manages power. By resetting it, you can solve all sorts of start up related issues.

Prior to attempting to reset your SMC, follow the steps below.

  1. First, shut down the MacBook.
  2. Next, press and hold down the power button for 10 seconds and then release it.
  3. After a few seconds, press the power button to turn your Mac on.

If the issue persists, you can move forward with the SMC reset procedure.

The process for how you reset the SMC on your MacBook varies depending on whether or not you have a T2 chip and the battery location.

How To Reset SMC – MacBooks With T2 Chip

  1. First, power off your MacBook.
  2. Then, press and hold the Control, Option and Shift keys at the same time for 7 seconds.
  3. Next, while still holding these three keys, press and hold the power button as well for an additional 7 seconds. After the 7 seconds, release all four keys.
    Reset SMC on MacBook
  4. Finally, wait 3 to 5 seconds and then press the power button once and release to turn on the MacBook.

How To Reset SMC – MacBooks Without T2 Chip & Non-removable Battery

  1. First, power off your MacBook.
  2. Then, press and hold the Control, Option and Shift keys at the same time.
  3. Next, while still holding these three keys, press and hold the power button as well. After 10 seconds, release all four keys.
  4. Finally, wait 3 to 5 seconds and then press the power button once and release to turn on the MacBook.

How To Reset SMC – MacBooks Without T2 Chip & Removable Battery

  1. First, power off your MacBook.
  2. Next, fully remove the battery.
  3. Then, press and hold down the power button for 5 seconds and then release it.
  4. Reinsert the battery.
  5. Finally, press the power button to turn on the MacBook.

Step 3: Reset NVRAM and PRAM

Nonvolatile random-access memory (NVRAM) is an area where a very small amount of memory is stored on the Macbook for quick access. Parameter RAM (PRAM) is very similar and stores similar types of information.

Resetting your MacBook’s NVRAM and PRAM can solve many different types of issues.

Fortunately, the process for resetting these are the same.

How To Reset NVRAM / PRAM

  1. First, power off your Mac.
  2. Then, power your Mac on and immediately hold down Command, Option, P and R all together for 20 seconds.
Reset RVRAM / PRAM

You can release the keys once you here the Mac startup sound or once the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.

Notably, if you have a firmware password set this reset process will not work.

You will need to first remove the password and then try again.

Conclusion

If you discover your MacBook beeping 3 times, there is no need to worry! This is an extremely common issue. Simply follow these three steps to get your MacBook up and running again:

  1. Inspect RAM stick connections
  2. Reset System Management Controller (SMC)
  3. Reset NVRAM and PRAM

If you’ve completed each of these steps, and yet you still encounter this issue, check out the Apple MacBook Support page. You can also call the main Apple Customer Support line at 1-800-275-2273.

If all else fails, use your MacBook serial number to review your Apple warranty status.

Were you able to get your Macbook turned on? If so, let me know how in the comments section below!

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