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)

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

  1. Lol25

    Resetting nrvam worked for me I am so happy thank u

  2. Cool bean

    Aww thanks maan you were awwsome I was
    Just gonna spend 180$ for new display screen thanks man

  3. Colin

    Glad the info helped! Happy New Year!

  4. Caro

    I tried everything I found online and nothing worked ! Fed up !

  5. Rico

    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)

  6. Boban

    Resetting NVRAM worked… thank you very much.

  7. 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.

  8. Elizabeth Seidl

    Thank you so much this just saved my life!

  9. sree

    Thank you soooo much its working….

  10. Danni


  11. 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??

  12. YEA!!! It totally worked. Thank you so much!

  13. Eduardo

    Tks a lot, it worked!

  14. Jeff

    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. Urs Morf

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

  17. Jason

    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. Jeanette

    Thank you cmd option P R worked. Lifesaver as have work to do today

  19. ACG

    Thanks! The safe mode option worked when the other two did not.

  20. Zeenat Imran

    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. ..

  21. Phyllis

    Thx! This seems to have solved my problem!

  22. Gabi

    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.

  23. Leila

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  24. Rosenne

    thank you so much it worked!!!

  25. Melinda

    THANK YOU SO MUCH this worked for me after my laptop fell off my bed this morning. However, I shut my Macbook and put it away for a few hours, then I opened it back up it went back to the same dark blue screen again. Do you know why this is happening again especially because it was working earlier?

  26. Cindy

    This is amazing! About 3 years ago I had to take my 17″ MacBookPro the the Mac store because the screen was completely black and I could not get it to come up. The boys at the Genius bar said it was not possible to fix at a reasonable price.

    They happily sold me on a new Mac book 13″ with back resolution for $1500!!!

    I have been miserable without my old 17″ Mac Book Pro. I have no idea why but today I googled “blank screen on Mac Book Pro” and your blog came up, Colin. Thank you sooooo much. I tried your trick. First I had to charge the battery as it had been sitting for almost 3 years, then I started it up, held the shut-down button down then I restarted holding the shift key down….OMG!!! All 17″ lit up like a christmas tree!! woo hoo! I am soooo happy. After all these years I will be taking it back to the geniuses at the genius bar and request that they transfer all data from the 13″ Mac to my 17″. (NOTE: When I bought the new 13″ I was able to get all the info off the 17″ onto the13″….now I have 3 yrs. of photos, bookmarks, emails and software to move the 17″……Not happy with the genius’ anymore…..but soooo happy for Colin’s solution….you are the true genius! Thank you so much!!!! I love you….

  27. Colin

    Hi Cindy,

    I’m really glad that this page was able to help you. Thank you for your feedback.
    When I first posted this ‘little tip’ back in 2010, I did not know if it would be useful or not to others. I’m glad that is has turned out to be helpful, and I also want to thank all of the other commenters here who have posted additional information about how to solve this issue. -Colin

  28. Anna

    Problem black screen!
    Last night, I was on my (2008) MacBook Pro
    And I accidentally hit the “yes” button for that
    New (well, new to me) photo thing (I think it was in agreement
    to let them show me how I can organize all the photos)
    Then I see it’s downloading like 3000 of my photos! Then it
    Kind of froze….so I just closed laptop
    Then when I tried getting it to work it’s been black
    Ever since! Yesterday!!
    I have tried all those things for restarting
    the pram & etc. etc.
    The shift- power
    Everything… It turns on and then after
    about a minute my keyboard lights up for a minute
    Or so… Then Dims off but I can
    still hear my laptop running- help?

  29. DM

    OMG! It worked! I’ve tried 3 other sites w multiple solutions, this worked! Thank you!

  30. Sait

    That was brilliant thank you very much man you are the best

  31. Sindre H

    My macbook (pro 2011) decided to stay black for several days. Only the fan and the sleepligth indicator worked. No respons on the screen whatsoever. Tried all combinations of startup procedures, without luck. One time with the C+O+P+R+Power the fans ran like crazy, but nothing more happened. I opened it up, ejected the ram, and cleaned the fans and tried startup again, but again no response.

    The solution was to let it run out of power (battery), then run all startup procedures connected to the charger. Shift+control+option+power, and C+O+P+R+Power. No response at all. I where afraid I had killed the mac once for all and went to bed. But suddenly it fired up and are back to normal. What a relief!

  32. Kristi

    Help, please! The screen has gone black on my 2013 MacBook Pro (13 inch Retina display). I’ve tried all of the troubleshooting suggestions I found online (PRAM, SMC, flashlight, etc)…the only change is that the screen will go from black to grey, but nothing else happens. Took it to the Apple Store, and they said I need a new display to the tune of $450… Ouch! I hate to spend that much on a 3 year old Mac. This is my first Mac and I don’t have any spare parts, nor technical ability to do the repairs myself. Any other (less expensive) suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    I did just recent update Adobe Flash Player in order to complete required online training. Might that be causing the problem? I don’t have an external monitor…should I take the Mac back to the Apple Store and ask them to connect to an external monitor to see if they can uninstall Adobe Flash Player?

  33. Tiff

    This was so helpful thank you thank you

  34. Fabulous. Helped me. I was sure I had a bad graphics card. I had green spots all over my screen followed by the black screen. Nothing helped, including reseating the RAM. But your simple solution was perfect. Bless you!

  35. Theres

    I tried all of the above but the screen does not come up. The power cord works and the orange light is on. The sound comes on as well, but I dont know if that is to indicate that I turned the computer off, or that I turned it on, because The screen is black!!
    What else can I do??

  36. If the solution above fails to help, then most likely your laptop suffers from lack of connection with the LCD panel driver. That was my issue.
    The LVDS connector is a very small and delicate piece but the LED backlight needs quite a lot of current compared to the size of the pins. I figured out what was the cause of the problem when I removed the LCD. Its socket (yes, from the LCD side, not from the laptop mainboard side) was almost burned, perhaps because of the moisture. Cleaning it carefully solved the problem. Resoldering may also help, which I also have got done.
    The socket was also making the backlight appear uneven (there are six pins responsible for the LEDs, fault of any of them will cause the effect).
    I suppose (I haven’t checked that) the LVDS signals are something like HDMI or DVI format, which involves I2C communication, so if any of video data pins don’t work, you will see mess on the display, but if one of I2C pins fail, the mainboard won’t detect the display at all and you will see nothing.

  37. Mary Kerr

    After 2 days of trying all of the ‘reset’ solutions I called Apple Support. He had me try the same ‘reset’ solutions and to no avail we ended up setting up an appt at the Genius Bar. Dreading that drive I decided to try again. Here is a description of my problem and the solution….Yay, the solution! When I turn on my MacBook Pro there was no sound, and no keyboard lights. The only way I could tell it was on was to look at the Apple icon on back of the monitor, it was lit up. The technician suggested I try the Option-Command-P+R after I start it up and hear the beep. Since I had no sound I waited until I saw the apple light up, then I tried that sequence of keys. It didn’t work. After I got off the phone with him I decided to try it again, but this time I did not wait until the apple lit, and right away I heard the beep and it started correctly. So I just hit the start button and right after I did the Option-Command-P+R and held it for 2 or 3 seconds and then let them go. So glad to hear that sound!…

  38. dan

    my computer got wet and now the screen is black. i was able to use an hdmi cable and view things on the tv. so now i can transfer everything onto an external drive.

  39. dave

    Thanks for the fix.

    I had the same issue. 2011 Macbook Pro. Machine starts but screen stayed black. Works fine if I plug into an external monitor.

    I reset the PRAM as described above (P-R-opt-command-Power) I had to turn the brightness up before I could see it. Worked!

    My machine falls into the group that Apple is repairing free of charge but this only continues through 2016. Check with Apple.

  40. Peggy

    The second method worked!! Holding command, option and the P and R buttons!! THANK YOU!!

  41. Noelle Thompson

    I dropped my MacBook Pro and almost cried. The first technique didn’t work, but the second (resetting the PRAM did- it didn’t seem like it did at first, -and I was just standing there googling on my iPhone when the screen on my
    Mac kit up! Thank you so much!

  42. Ali

    Thanks man. Love your trick. Saved my laptop’s ass

  43. Ali

    I tried your trick it worked in the start but it’s happening again? Please help me out or email me lleade????

  44. lucy

    thanks!!! i thought i had broken it. You are a life saver

  45. kevin

    I tried everything, all of the above and then some. I happened to find someone saying “just enter your password on the black screen”. Wow! It worked. I’m on a MacBook Pro 2015 running OS Sierra.

  46. Deniz

    Apple will replace your motherboard for free, I have done so for the same problem for a 4 year old laptop. Don’t waste your time with temporary solutions.

  47. Jody

    THANK YOU so much! I was in a complete panic that I somehow broke my laptop.

  48. Alexander

    2008 MacBook Pro starts up with the windows start up logo (my dumb ass nephew tried to be his own engineer, wiped out the original apple OS X and installed a clean windows lol), and seconds later the screen goes black. But it works normal when connected to an external monitor/tv. The reset steps didn’t work, but again it’s on windows, who knows whether those resetting steps apply to windows too or limited to OS X. But haven’t tried the safe mode. I’ll try that later. We tried to restore the original OS X, it started a bit to select the drive to set it up, then went on to black screen again. I didn’t even know you could wipe out original OS X and install windows without OS X installed or without bootcamp assistance. However he managed to do that I have no clue, but I was pest when he did that. I guess he found it too splendid a free MacBook Pro from uncle. I was going to send him my second MacBook Pro 2011, but I thought twice and changed my mind. They don’t appreciate anyways. He’s lucky Tim Cook doesn’t know that my nephew betrayed apple for Microsoft. Any help/advise appropriated. Thanks.


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