macbook pro turns on but screen stays black — my solution

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The Apple Macbook Pro would turn on, but the screen would not.  The screen would stay black.  I could tell the computer was on because when I hit the “caps lock” key, the green light on the key would turn on and off.

I fixed this the following way (this is basically resetting the Power Management Unit — PMU):

I disconnected the computer from the power cord, and from all other cables.

I held down the power button for several seconds to turn off the computer.

I let it sit 5 minutes.

I restarted the laptop while holding down the Shift key.  This restarted the computer in Safe Mode, with the screen visible again.

After I logged in (in Safe Mode) to make sure everything was ok, I simply restarted the computer the normal way, and the screen behaved normally again.

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If that doesn’t work for you, you could try these steps, documented at apple.com:

Holding down Command, Option, P, and R to reset your PRAM and NVRAM

Resetting PowerBook and iBook Power Management Unit (PMU)

474 Comments

  1. Hi, I am having a similar issue.
    All good on the power side – green light
    Push power and i get the chime
    Screen flashes on – grey colour then goes black.
    Have tried ALL the methods above with out any luck.

    help!!!
    Thanks in advance.
    Anthony

  2. If these solutions do not work consistently and you are still experiencing problem- let your computer battery drain to zero and then try. it fixed my problem. also, have been running both VM ware and using external monitors– both seem to be recurring themes for causing this problem

  3. THANKS !!! This worked perfectly for me with my older “Air”. Although my shift key light did not turn on and off as original poster observed, I knew it was on since it felt warm and I hadn’t powered it down the previous evening after use. Once I followed posted steps to turn it off, the unit cooled down so I knew it was actually powered down. I let it settle for about 15 mins and followed instructions. Such a relief!

  4. Not working, I keep coming across these same instructions but my macbook screen will not come on. This is the third time this has happened. My friend had some guy fix it twice for me but after 2 weeks of getting it back this time, it happened again. The second time this happened, was in the same time frame. IDK if just ironic or what.

  5. Hey.
    Iv tried all the methods I can find on lien for this and none have worked.
    My laptop was working perfectly before and the screen seems to be displaying the diagnostics etc fine.
    Just won’t do anything else and goes back to being a blank black screen with the cursor showing.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    What could be the issue, does any have any idea?

    Thanks

  6. My macbook pro 2012 has the screen off, but when I put a flash on the screen I can see that my screen is on. Does this means that is something wrong with the screen or it can be fixed??

  7. Pram and Nvram reset worked for me. This makes sense too considering PRAM is used to store startup information such as display, speaker volume and other things. If PRAM gets confused/corrupt then it doesn’t know what to display. I use a 2 and 3 monitor setup which may have contribute to the issue when it occasionally does happen. Cheers, Sean

  8. Hey guys i have mac book of 12 mid and my macs screen went black and not turning on i tired all the methods but still same result nothing happend please can anyone help me i have a important file which i need to access ???

  9. Please my MacBook Pro retina model number a1502 has a black screen…I have done a pram reset still no change…please I need help

  10. Totally worked. Heard the snap and screen went black after I’d finished editing a bunch of wedding photos.. then I restarted and forgot to unplug power cord so first time didn’t work. 2nd time with power cord out worked perfect and I’m up & running again, thank you!!

  11. We have around 15 Apple computers in the company.
    New, thin notebooks have a high amount if problems. This is inherent in the slim design.
    usually screen turns black. I had it happened 6 times in 5 weeks after I bought this latest notepad.
    Now been told that i cannot return it although first problem started before 15 days return period and I been lied to by telling me there is no problem.
    Very disappointed in the integrity of Apple

    1. Before going and buying a new motherboard for 1000$. Have just the video card chip replaced for 150-250$. eBay/google it. I got mine fixed that way and it runs perfect now! Also Apple has a recap on that which is expiring this year sometime(2016)

  12. Thank you for your solution 🙂
    It works!!!

    I told the computer technician at the IT department the trick to deal with that problem and they thanked me.

  13. I have problem also with my macbook pro a1286.. i used to forced shutdown my macbook.. but when i try to open it again, its only a black screen.. even the keyboard and apple logo at the back didn’t show light’s..
    I did already the com.. opt.. p and r but didn’t worked..:(
    Can you guys help me please??

  14. Hello. I woke up this morning to a macbook pro ( 2.4 GHz core 2 duo/2GB/256MB VRAM 200GB ) that had a black screen. I’ve gone through many of the fixes listed on this site but so far, nothing has worked fro me. Do you have any other options I can try?

  15. This solution worked, but at first I was too impatient to notice.
    Started up in Safe Mode, but only saw a very dim “something” appear
    on the screen of my 2006 MacBookPro 1.1. So I tried other solutions I found posted. None worked.
    But finally returned to this safemode startup. …and once again, the very dim
    something appeared. I got distracted by another chore which probably took
    5-10 minutes. When I got back to the MBP, the screen was nice and bright.
    I logged in….everything worked. So I restarted, which happened more slowly than expected.
    So I zapped the PRAM and now everything is back to normal….THANK YOU! THIS IS A LIFESAVER!

  16. Hi there, the “shift-restart-version” did the trick for me, so many thanks, wonderful, I had been really desperate…

  17. Ok, I tried this. At first I thought it didn’t work because starting in safe mode was the same as starting normally. I was unhappy, however I tried turning it on again after waiting a minute and it started fine.
    I’ll also say the problem was the computer was technically on but the little start up noises never happened and the computer screen stayed black.

  18. Hi. My mac book pro A1226 with black screen.tried setting all the stuff mentioned in Google .nvram c.o.p.r. or c.o.p.f etc etc but nothing display.however can hear fan running sound chime at startup but give up. ..

  19. Anyone interested in purchasing a macbook pro mid/late 2006 black 11.5 inch screen. The “I” key is not working on the actual macbook. Has normal wear on the sides of the plastic, typical of this model. A few side screws and back screws missing. Fully operational, laptop is working fine, is operating mac os x 10.6.8 snow leopard. Selling it with separate white apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 500gb hardrive, 2gb of ram for 400USD. Let me know if you are interested. Will be placed on ebay so you can see pictures. Title: Fully Operational Macbook Pro mid/late 2006 OS X 10.6.8 500GB Hardrive 2GB of Ram.

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