Use a MacBook Magsafe Power Adapter on a MacBook Pro, and Vice Versa

Jun 7, 2010 - 4 Comments

old magsafe adapter Did you know that you can use a MacBook 13″ MagSafe power adapter on the 13″ MacBook Pro? Or a MBP 15″ adapter on the 13″ models? And the 11″ MacBook Air adapter with a 13″ MacBook Pro, and so forth? In most cases you can interchange power adapters, this also means the older white MagSafe adapters work just fine on the new 2010 MacBook Pro 13″ model, and vice versa. In other words, if you just upgraded to a new MacBook, don’t toss the old MagSafe adapters!

Now, before you start plugging random MagSafe cords into random laptops, you’ll want to check the voltage and wattage on the MagSafe adapter itself. Doing this is easy, all you need to do is look at the side of the power brick for text that reads something like “85W MagSafe Power Adapter”. The reason to check is to be sure it’ll power the machine, as lower wattage MagSafe adapters like those for the MacBook Air will not power a MacBook Pro.

magsafe macbook to macbook pro watt

Of course if you can, you should be using a power adapter that is the proper wattage for your MacBook/Pro, but according to Apple you can use a MagSafe adapter with higher wattage without incident; meaning you can use an 85W MagSafe adapter that is intended for the MacBook Pro 15″ model on a MacBook Pro 13″ model, even though it’s adapter is 60W. You can not use a lower watt adapter on a machine that requires higher wattage however (although some real world experience suggests it will work to power the machine, it just won’t charge the battery, but YMMV).

This is great because it means if you have an older MagSafe adapter laying around, you should be able to use it on a new MacBook. I was particularly thrilled to discover this because I have a few older MagSafe adapters and I leave one near my couch and one on my desk so I can use my MacBook Pro with the lid closed to create a desktop machine. You can pick up the newest Apple MagSafe 60W Power Adapter from Amazon, and it’ll power any 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro.

new magsafe adapter

I prefer the way the new MagSafe adapter looks and how it sits on the MacBook Pro, but it doesn’t break away from the machine as easily as the older MacBook MagSafe adapters do. This limits some of the protection that the MagSafe adapter offers, there have been several times in the past where myself or others have tripped over power cords and only been saved from disaster by the quick break-away magnetic attachment in the MagSafe. The new MagSafe adapter definitely requires more of a deliberate pull away to detach, I don’t know if this is because the magnet is stronger or if it just sits more snug in the power outlet.

Of course, some notable exceptions to this are when the magsafe adapter has changed, which has happened in later releases. In those situations, you can use the changed adapters with other compatible Macs, or use a secondary magsafe adapter converter unit to use the older magsafe adapter with a new Mac.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Hardware, Mac


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  1. ram says:


    after a water spill incident my macsafe dc in logic board died and i had to use an older macbook dc in . the computer is a macbook pro 13 mid 2010 , 2,4ghz, 4gb, although is running on 2gb because the other ram module died in the incident. the computer is VERY SLOW. can that be due to the older model dc in board i am using?



  2. Stephen says:

    This is the most long winded article that simply should be: There are 3 versions of MagSafe power adapters. 45w, 60w & 85w. You can safely use the 85w on any MacBook, the 60w is good for any 13″ and below size MacBook and the 45w is good just for MBA’s. You can use the 60w on a 15″ MBP but it won’t charge the battery, just power the machine unless it’s asleep.

  3. Michael says:

    I really like the sleeker look of the new magsafe adapter… But, like you said, the previous adapter actually seems to be more functionally robust — i.e. it breaks away when it is supposed to.

  4. Nago says:

    Great article.
    Personally, I have tripped a few times over the new cord, and, while it requires a stronger pull than the old one, it still cannot move the MB an inch.

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