macbook pro turns on but screen stays black — my solution

Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 1:26 pm
By Colin

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.


If that doesn’t work for you, you could try these steps, documented at

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

Resetting PowerBook and iBook Power Management Unit (PMU)

309 Responses to “macbook pro turns on but screen stays black — my solution”

  1. Mary Ward

    Thanks MG, the only thing that worked!

  2. Igor

    Thank you so so much! I had a book due to publish at friday and a million documnets of animal wellfare organization that has to be delivered to govenment and then the computer just crashed. Now its working perfectly!!! I and the misstreated animals thank you!!! Lifesaver!

  3. Savi

    Wow shift key really worked for me thank you

  4. Karla

    This just saved my poor grad student life! Can’t be more thankful, I thought I lost everything

  5. OceanBreezes

    Thanks!!!!!! The shift key did not work for me, but the resetting of the PRAM and NVRAM did. I would have just never figured this out without this post!

  6. Reggie

    I have a new MacBook Air and transferred all apps and data from my Time machine. When finished the screen and keyboard would not work. Holding down command option p & r totally worked…Thanks!

  7. Thank you!! I haven’t been able to make it go on for two days!!

  8. Mandy

    This worked for me. thank you!

  9. Benjamin Obiwan Poli

    Worked like a charm!
    THANK YOU!!!!!


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