Why Do MacBook Chargers Turn Yellow?

Apple MacBook chargers have become a household necessity for anyone who owns a MacBook. While we all rely on them to keep our devices powered up and running, some users have noticed that their once-white chargers have started to turn yellow over time.

This discoloration can be concerning for some, and it’s natural to wonder why do MacBook chargers turn yellow.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and what you can do to prevent it.

Why Do MacBook Chargers Turn Yellow?

MacBook chargers are an essential accessory for any MacBook user, providing a reliable source of power for their devices. However, over time, the white cables of MacBook chargers can turn yellow, which can be concerning for many users.

Why Do MacBook Chargers Turn Yellow (1)

1. Oxidation

One of the most common reasons for the yellowing of MacBook chargers is oxidation. When the outer insulation of the charger is exposed to the air for an extended period, it can react with the oxygen in the air and cause yellowing.

This reaction is typical in plastic materials, causing them to lose their bright white color and generally turn yellow.

Similarly, skin oils can react with the cable insulation, leading to discoloration and a greasy or sticky texture.

Skin oils and moisture can cause oxidation on the outer insulation and cable jacket of a MacBook charger, leading to discoloration and reduced charging capabilities.

2. Chemical Reactions

Another reason why the MacBook charger turns yellow is the chemical reactions that develop between the skin oils and the cable jacket. Human skin produces oils naturally, and when those oils come into contact with any cable jacket, it could initiate a chemical reaction when exposed to air, leading to yellowing.

The cable insulation of MacBook chargers is usually made of materials like PVC or Polypropylene, which contain colorless or light-colored chemicals. These chemicals are added to improve the durability and flexibility of the cable coating.

However, over time, these chemicals can interact with outside elements like heat, UV light, and skin oils to cause discoloration.

UV light, for example, can cause photodegradation in the insulation, breaking down the chemical bonds and causing the cable to become brittle and yellow.

3. Heavy Usage cycles

Heavy usage cycles can also trigger yellowing of the MacBook charger. The charger is a technical accessory that produces heat when operating, and as such, it may cause the plastics to fade in color over time.

Heavy usage cycles, such as frequent plugging and unplugging of the charger, can cause wear and tear on the cable over time. This wear and tear often leads to brittleness in the cable, which makes it more susceptible to cracking.

The cracking in the cable’s outer insulation is what exposes the inner wiring, leading to the discoloration of the cable. Heavy usage also causes the charger’s magsafe connector pins to erode faster, which can cause issues with charging.

4. Discoloration Due to Heat

The heat that causes this discoloration is emitted from the connectors and adapter unit while the charger is in use.

Symptoms of heat damage can be identified by inspecting the cable coating and looking for signs of degradation such as cracks or ruggedness.

In conclusion, MacBook chargers turn yellow due to oxidation, skin oils, and heavy usage cycles. By adopting suitable prevention methods, such as unplugging the charger when not in use and cleaning regularly with a soft cloth, users can proactively avoid charger discoloration.

Symptoms of a Yellow Charger

A yellowed MacBook charger can be quite alarming for users, as it looks like a sign of failure. While it may not affect its charging capabilities, it’s important to know why it happens, and what symptoms to look out for if it’s a cause for concern.

Here are some possible signs of charger failure that users need to look out for.

Brittle, Cracked, or Fragile Outer Insulation and Cable Jacket

Over the time MacBook Chargers can become brittle, cracked, or fragile, causing potential safety hazards or even charging failure.

Excess heat and heavy usage cycles can result in these issues, which could compromise the durability of the charger.

Here are some steps to check for and address brittle, cracked, or fragile outer insulation and cable jacket on a yellow MacBook charger:

1. Inspect the cable: Start by examining the cable from end to end, looking for any signs of damage or wear such as frayed wires, dents, or kinks.

Check MacBook Charger Cables

The outer insulation and cable jacket are the first line of defense and provide protection to the internal wiring. Any visible damage to the cable can indicate that the insulation has already been compromised.

2. Address any damage: If you find any damage or wear on the cable, discontinue use of the charger immediately and replace it with a new one.

Using a damaged charger can result in electric shocks, short circuits, or even fires, which can harm not only your device but also yourself.

3. Avoid bending the cable sharply: To prevent further damage to the charger, avoid bending the cable too much or sharply. If you need to bend the cable, do so gently and avoid creating any sharp angles that could break the insulation.

A sharp bend can cause the inner wires to snap or break, leading to possible charging failure or other malfunctions.

4. Avoid tightly coiling the cable: Another common cause of damage to the charger is storing it in a tightly coiled manner. Coiling the cable too tightly can cause the insulation to crack or split, exposing the internal wiring. When storing the charger, try to avoid coils that are too tight, and instead opt for a loose coil that allows the cable to relax and remain flexible.

Prevention Methods for Keeping Your Charger From Turning Yellow

Keeping your MacBook charger in good condition is essential to maintain its charging capabilities. But, the yellow discoloration that often appears on the outer insulation of the cable jacket can be unattractive and worrisome.

Fortunately, there are simple prevention methods to keep your charger from turning yellow. Here, we’ll explore some easy and effective ways to protect your charger and extend its lifespan. Follow these tips to keep your charger looking and functioning like new.

Unplugging When Not in Use

MacBook chargers are available in white and have been known to turn yellow over an extended period of time. At first, you might not notice the discoloration, but eventually, it becomes more apparent.

Unplug the Charger when not in use

The good news is, you can prevent the yellowing of your MacBook charger by unplugging it when not in use. Unplugging the charger prevents it from generating excess heat and prolongs its life.

When you unplug the charger, you reduce the chances of exposing it to heat, and it remains in good condition for an extended period.

Cleaning Regularly With a Soft Cloth or Paper Towel

To keep your MacBook charger in tip-top condition, it is recommended that you clean it regularly using simple cleaning methods. These methods are simple and only require a few materials, including a soft and non-abrasive cloth, rubbing alcohol, and a piece of paper towel.

Before you even begin cleaning your charger, it’s important to unplug it from your MacBook to avoid any electrical accidents.

Once unplugged, using a soft cloth or a paper towel, gently wipe the surface of the charger and the adapter unit in small, circular motions.

Clean it with soft cloth

Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use any abrasive materials as this could scratch or damage the outer insulation of the charger.

For areas around the connectors and the adapter unit, you can also use rubbing alcohol to ensure a more thorough clean. Simply add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to your soft cloth or paper towel and gently clean around the areas.

This will help to remove any stubborn dirt that may have accumulated around the charger pins and connector.

It’s essential to take proper precautions when cleaning your MacBook charger. Ensure that it is dry before plugging it back in, and avoid using any harsh cleaning products, including water, as this can damage the charger’s circuit and other internal components.

Final thoughts

In summary, a yellowing MacBook charger may seem like a harmless cosmetic issue, but it can actually have serious consequences for its charging capabilities and overall function. The discoloration is often the result of outer insulation being exposed to skin oils and excess heat, as well as UV light exposure.

To prevent your charger from turning yellow, it’s important to handle it with care, using paper towels to wipe off any oils or dirt. Keeping the charger away from direct sunlight and excess heat can also help prevent discoloration.

If your charger does turn yellow, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible to avoid any potential failures in charging.

If you found these tips helpful, we encourage you to share this article with other MacBook users and start a conversation about the best ways to maintain a healthy charger. Together, we can ensure that our MacBook chargers continue to serve us for years to come.

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Muhammad Faran is a tech blogger with a passion for laptops. His years of experience in content writing reflects in his captivating and insightful posts. Faran strives to guide and educate his audience on navigating the world of laptops.

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