With how much we rely on our laptops for work and play these days, it can be devastating when we’re confronted with a black screen. But what causes a black screen on a MacBook Pro? And how can you fix it?
As an Apple repair tech, I have to say this issue is all too common. Fortunately, after spending over a decade working on MacBooks, I have some good news for you: there are often a few easy fixes you can try before taking your MacBook Pro to the Apple store.
In today’s article, we’re going to walk you through 9 fixes for a black screen on a MacBook Pro.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- How to Fix Black Screen on MacBook Pro?
- Fix #1: Remove All External Connections
- Fix #2: Check for Power
- Fix #3: Check Screen Brightness
- Fix #4: Restart Your MacBook
- Fix #5: Reset the MacBook’s NVRAM/PRAM
- Fix #6: Intel Macs Only: Reset System Management Controller (SMC)
- Fix #7: Use Safe Mode
- Fix #8: macOS Recovery
- Fix #9: Reinstall macOS
- Last Resort: Visit the Apple Store
- Final Thoughts
- Try the easiest fixes first. Remove all external connections to your MacBook Pro to ensure there’s no interference between your Mac and its hardware.
- Check if your MacBook Pro has power and the charger is working properly.
- Ensure your screen brightness is turned up, and try restarting your MacBook Pro to fix memory and hardware issues.
- Reset the NVRAM/PRAM or the System Management Controller (SMC) to fix issues with hardware functions.
- Try booting your Mac in Safe Mode to check if the screen runs properly.
- Enter macOS Recovery Mode to troubleshoot and fix problems with your MacBook Pro.
- You can also reinstall macOS to reset your Mac software to the latest version.
- If none of the above troubleshooting steps work, it may be necessary to take your MacBook Pro to an Apple Store for further diagnostic testing.
How to Fix Black Screen on MacBook Pro?
A black screen on your MacBook can be very inconvenient and annoying. But don’t throw your computer just yet. Let’s start with the easiest solutions first, and work out way up from there.
Fix #1: Remove All External Connections
First, it is possible that external connections to your Mac may be causing a disconnect between your Mac and its hardware. Remove all potential data and power draws away from your computer by removing all external connections.
Fix #2: Check for Power
If the computer does not have power, then the screen will be off. Plug in your Apple branded or Apple Certified Power cable and ensure that you are receiving power.
- If your Mac power cable has a light, ensure the light is on.
- If your Mac power cable does not have a light, check the keyboard for light, and listen for fan sounds or other sounds and lights on your MacBook.
If your Mac does have power, continue trying the other steps in order to fix your black screen. If your Mac does not have power and the charger is not lighting up, take your Mac to an Apple store for further hardware evaluation.
Fix #3: Check Screen Brightness
It is also possible that the screen brightness on the Mac is turned all the way down. With your Mac powered up, press the screen brightness up button (recently associated with the F2 button or a similar location on the Mac with Touchbar).
Fix #4: Restart Your MacBook
A simple restart can do a lot for the computer’s memory and hardware. By hard restarting the computer, we may be able to fix your black screen.
To restart the computer, press and hold the power button until the computer shows signs of shutting down. Wait approximately 10 seconds. Press and hold the power button until your Mac shows signs of turning back on, such as a startup sound.
Fix #5: Reset the MacBook’s NVRAM/PRAM
NVRAM stands for Non-Volatile Random Access Memory, and PRAM stands for Parameter Random Access Memory. Both of these types of RAM contain the parameters and information of the settings for your Mac, such as volume, date and time settings, and display settings.
These display settings may help us fix the black screen issue on your MacBook.
To reset NVRAM and PRAM:
- Shut down your Mac using the power button.
- Turn on your Mac using the power button.
- Immediately press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R keys simultaneously.
- Release the keys after the startup sound plays (in older Macs) or the Apple Logo appears and disappears for the second time (newer Macs).
Fix #6: Intel Macs Only: Reset System Management Controller (SMC)
On Intel Macs, the System Management Controller (SMC) manages and controls the hardware functions of the Mac. These include several functions that could be related to your black screen.
Note: Apple Silicon Macs automatically reset the similar functions of the SMC with a hard shutdown and start.
To Reset SMC on Macs 2018 and newer:
- Shut down your Mac with the power button.
- Press and hold the right Shift, left Option, and Left Control for approximately 7 seconds.
- Press the power button and press and hold all 4 keys for another approximately 7 seconds.
- Release the keys and wait a few seconds.
- Press the power button to restart your Mac.
To Reset SMC on Macs 2018 and older:
- Press and hold the left Shift, left Control, left Option, and power buttons.
- Hold for approximately 10 seconds. Release all 4 keys.
- Turn on the Mac using the power button.
Fix #7: Use Safe Mode
Safe Mode is a way to boot your Mac with only the necessary software and startup items. If your Mac can start up and the screen runs in safe mode, then there is likely another problem with your Mac that you could potentially identify while in Safe Mode.
For Apple Silicon Macs:
- Shut down the Mac using the power button.
- Press and hold the power button until startup options appear, and select a volume.
- Press and hold the shift key and click “Continue in Safe Mode.”
For Intel Macs:
- Shut down the Mac using the power button.
- Press the power button to turn the Mac back on, and press and hold the shift key until the login screen appears.
- Log in (and log in a second time if required).
If booting in safe mode turns on your screen, it may be helpful to continue to troubleshoot using the First Aid Utility, deleting any unknown software, and updating macOS if necessary.
If these troubleshooting steps don’t fix the screen being black, then it would likely be beneficial to try recovery mode and/or reinstall your macOS software.
Fix #8: macOS Recovery
Another option to try to fix and wake up your black screen on your Mac, is to enter macOS Recovery Mode. Recovery mode attempts to automatically fix the problems that could be causing your problems with your Mac.
Keep in mind, you likely won’t be able to do this step if your MacBook Pro’s screen does not turn on at all. However, if the screen only goes black after booting up, this will help.
For Apple Silicon Macs:
- Completely shut down the Mac.
- Press and hold the power button until the volume and options button show on your screen.
- Click options and continue.
- Follow the remaining prompts to recovery mode.
For Intel Macs:
- Press the power button to turn off the Mac.
- Press the power button again to turn on the Mac.
- Immediately press and hold the Command and R keys.
- Follow the remaining prompts to enter recovery mode.
In both cases (Silicon and Intel Mac), If recovery mode works to turn on your Black screen, you may only need to restart your Mac from recovery mode in order to fully restore the screen to working order.
Fix #9: Reinstall macOS
Reinstalling your macOS software sounds scary. However, it may be necessary to fix the underlying issue. This simply resets the Mac software to the baseline of the latest version of macOS.
To Reinstall macOS, enter macOS Recovery mode using the steps above. While in Recovery Mode, select Reinstall macOS.
Note: You will only be able to do this if your screen initially turns on and works. If your MacBook fails to turn on at all, you may have a more severe hardware problem.
Last Resort: Visit the Apple Store
Unfortunately, if none of the above turned your MacBook Pro screen back on, then there is likely a more serious problem than what we can solve with only the keyboard. I would suggest taking your Mac to an Apple Store in order for them to complete further diagnostic testing.
A black screen on your MacBook Pro can be a frustrating issue, but there are several potential fixes you can try. These range from simple steps like checking for power or adjusting screen brightness, to more involved solutions like resetting NVRAM/PRAM or entering recovery mode.
Reinstalling MacOS is also an option if all else fails. If none of these steps work, it may be necessary to take your MacBook Pro to an Apple Store for further diagnostic testing.
What worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!
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