Black screen on MacBook Pro?This is how to fix it

Black screen on MacBook Pro?This is how to fix it

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MacBook Pro with a blank screen? You wish the circumstance would never arise, and when it does, it frequently appears to occur at the worst possible time. We consider Apple’s MacBooks to be some of the best laptops for creatives and have generally found them to be quite dependable. But much as with any laptop or desktop computer, issues can arise occasionally.


We won’t dispute that a black screen on a MacBook Pro can occasionally be terrible news, but most of the time it’s actually not that big of a concern and can be rectified very easily. We’ve encountered this issue a few times because a large portion of our writers and creative contributors utilize MacBooks on a daily basis. The steps we often take when our MacBook Pro displays a black screen are listed below.

When your device first starts up, a blank screen of any color—black, grey, or blue—will show once or more. If your MacBook gets stuck on a blank screen, however—whether you’re using the laptop’s built-in screen or an external display—these techniques might just help you get it moving again. In light of this, check out our selection of the best monitors for MacBook Pro if you’re seeking for a larger screen. In the event that you decide it’s time to change your laptop, we also offer a list of the finest MacBook Pro bargains.

How to fix a black screen on MacBook Pro

An image of a black screen on MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Julian Hochgesang via Unsplash)

A dark screen on a MacBook Pro can be caused by a variety of problems. It can sometimes happen when you wake up your laptop from sleep mode, and it can also be brought on by corrupted disk permissions or a software issue. If the issue is a black or otherwise blank screen on your MacBook Pro’s own display, the procedures to try are outlined below. Go straight to the section on how to fix a black screen on a MacBook Pro external monitor if your issue is with an external monitor.

1. Verify the battery life and brightness level.

Okay, so you probably already did this, but to be safe, double-check the power. Finding that the problem is something this easy can be very relieving. Connect your laptop to its charger if you’re out of battery life in case the battery has depleted. If the power indicator light is on, you can rule out a bad power cable by checking it. Additionally, it’s likely that you (or your cat) accidently pressed the brightness keys on the keyboard at some point, causing your screen to go dull. Try turning up the brightness on your MacBook Pro by pressing F2 or using the control bar.

2. Disconnect any accessories.

If the issue is still present, make sure your Mac is not connected to anything other than your charging connection and adapter. Peripheral devices like printers, keyboards, external drives, mice, and trackpads can all potentially create startup issues.

03. Restart your MacBook Pro

Screenshot of MacBook Pro start screen

Try restarting your MacBook to fix a MacBook Pro black screen (Image credit: Apple)

The next thing to attempt is a simple restart if you’ve verified that the laptop is receiving power and ruled out the chance of interference from peripheral devices. Your device should restart itself if you press Control + Command (the symbol with the four loops) + the Power/Eject/Touch ID button, depending on your model. As an alternative, you can restart your MacBook Pro by holding the power button down for 15 seconds before releasing it. Crossing fingers.

04. Perform a MacBook Pro hard restart

Screenshot of the MacBook Disk Utility option

Once you’re screen is back, it’s worth running Disk Utility to repair any errors (Image credit: Apple / Future)

Still no success? Next, attempt a forced reset. All kinds of MacBook troubles can occasionally be resolved with a simple hard restart. Press and hold the power button on an Apple-chipped MacBook Pro (M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max) for approximately 10 seconds. The startup options window, which has a gear icon labeled Options, ought to appear. Pick Options, then click Continue. Release the power button and press and hold it again for an additional 10 seconds if the options window doesn’t appeal to you.

Press and hold the power button for approximately 10 seconds on an Intel-equipped MacBook Pro. After releasing the power button, press and hold Command + R until you see an Apple logo or other image. After around 20 seconds, if the screen is still blank, it’s time to continue. Running Disk Utility to look for faults is worthwhile if this does manage to recover your screen. Restart your MacBook again after Disk Utility fixes any issues it found.

05. Test out these MacBook Pro keys.

Although it isn’t confirmed by Apple, a certain key combination is reported to occasionally be able to restore a blank MacBook Pro screen. To perform a hard shutdown, press the power button once, the sleep hotkey, “S,” and then hold it. Press the button to restart after waiting 15 seconds. Many people have attested to the effectiveness of this, but we have no understanding why.

6. Launch your MacBook Pro in safe mode.

You can start your MacBook Pro in Safe Mode to avoid having other launchers boot up first. By doing this, the possibility of other programs and services interfering and impairing the proper presentation of your screen is eliminated.

Turn off your MacBook Pro and let it sit for 20 seconds before restarting in Safe Mode. Restart it and then press and hold the Shift key. As soon as the login window appears, release the Shift key. ‘Safe Boot’ ought to be shown in the window’s upper right corner. Your computer may occasionally ask you to log in twice and start up more slowly than usual as it performs diagnostics. You can restart in regular startup mode once it has fully booted up to check if the black screen has been resolved.

Reset the PRAM or NVRAM.

It’s time to start looking into more technical options if that doesn’t work. Small memory partitions called PRAM and NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) are used to hold parameters like display resolution and volume control. They occasionally run into problems and need to be reset. To accomplish that, turn off your MacBook and then turn it back on. Hold down Option, Command, P, and R simultaneously as soon as the computer starts up, and keep holding them down until you hear the startup bell (around 2 seconds)

Remember that if you do this, you can lose some of your settings. If this fixes the problem, check your system preferences later to make sure your date/time, display, and disk options are accurate.

08. Reset the settings on the System Management Controller

The Systems Management Controller (SMC) of the Mac regulates functions like temperature, fans, the keyboard, and the display. Another simple repair for a black screen on a MacBook Pro is to reset the SMC. Your MacBook must be turned off and unplugged for at least 15 seconds before being plugged back in. Hold down Shift, Option, Control, and the power button all at once while the power is still off. When your MacBook starts to power up, release the keys.

9. Install MacOS again

You might need to reinstall MacOS as a very last resort, but keep in mind that doing so will essentially mean buying a new Mac. Before visiting this resort, you might wish to get in touch with Apple support. Although it is possible to non-destructively reinstall macOS without damaging files, we advise that you always make a backup of your files and folders to an external hard drive or to the cloud in case something goes wrong.

How to fix a black screen on a MacBook Pro external monitor

A designer uses a MacBook Pro connected to a monitor

(Image credit: Arian Darvishi via Unsplash)

The steps above should help you resolve a MacBook Pro black screen, but if your laptop’s own screen is working but an external monitor is blank, there are other things to try.

01. Check your connections

Although it might seem simple, check your connections first, then the power on your external monitor. Since most MacBook Pros only provide Thunderbolt/USB-C connectors for external monitors, you’ll also need to examine your dock or adapter if you’re using a monitor with a different connection. Try connecting your display when your MacBook is off, and then turn it on if you notice that the external display doesn’t turn on once you connect it.

Simply closing your laptop could result in a blank screen on an external MacBook Pro display. This immediately puts your MacBook Pro to sleep by default. You’ll need to make some adjustments if you want to be able to close the lid of your MacBook Pro while using an external monitor. Toggle the slider to Never in System Preferences > Battery > Energy Saver > Power Adapter. Keep in mind that your MacBook Pro must be attached to a keyboard, mouse, or trackpad in order to prevent sleep mode from occurring when the lid is closed.

02. Detect your display

Screenshot of MacBook Pro display settings

Use the MacBook Pro display settings configuration to detect your display (Image credit: Apple / Future)

If the external monitor display is still blank go to System Preferences > Displays. You can press the Alt/option key to bring up the ‘Detect Displays’ button. Click on ‘Detect Displays’, to prompt your MacBook Pro to recognize the external monitor. See our guide to how to connect a monitor to MacBook Pro for more details on using an external monitor and see our guide to the best dock for MacBook Pro to expand your connection options.

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Last Words

Dealing with black screens is never enjoyable. Rebooting and maybe losing your work aren’t exactly pleasurable pastimes, aside from the never-ending frustration. This instruction should have helped you resolve the problem and get back on your feet.

If you know of any alternative solutions for a MacBook’s black screen, please share them with us in the comments section below.


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