MacBook Screen Flickering: Reasons And Solutions

A flickering or glitching MacBook screen can ruin your whole day or your cherished movie night.

Apple always stays on the priority list for its high-quality display with vibrant colors. But, it’s been a couple of months screen flickering with horizontal lines or color blocks have become common.

Everyone is not facing this screen flickering issue, but the percentage is higher enough to take this issue into consideration.

If you’re someone with the same suffering, this guide is tailored just for you. Let’s cover up the common causes of screen flickering, and how you can fix it!

What Are The Common Reasons For MacBook Screen Flickering?

Screen flickering is characterized by a display that rapidly changes between different colors or shades.

It can be a minor annoyance or a significant problem depending on its frequency and severity. Screen flickering can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Intermittent flashes or strobing
  • Horizontal or vertical lines on the screen
  • Color distortions, like a green or black tint

Here are some common reasons behind MacBook screen flickering:

1. Software Bugs or Glitches

Operating System Issues:

Sometimes, problems with the macOS can make your MacBook’s screen flicker. You can often fix this by updating your software or resetting the NVRAM.

Incompatible Applications:

Certain apps may not work well with your MacBook’s graphics or the macOS version you have, causing screen flickering. Check for updates or uninstall troublesome apps.

2. Graphics Card Problems

Hardware Malfunction:

Is your MacBook Screen Flickering Black or Green? A faulty graphics card can lead to this sort of flickering. If your MacBook is under warranty, reach out to Apple Support.

Overheating:

Excessive heat can cause the graphics card to malfunction. Ensure your MacBook stays cool by keeping it well-ventilated.

3. Display Connection Issues

Loose Cables:

Loose or damaged internal display cables may lead to flickering. If you’re handy with hardware, you can try to fix this, but it might void your warranty.

4. External Factors:

Magnetic Interference:

Strong magnets or magnetic fields near your MacBook can mess with the screen. Keep magnets away.

External Displays:

Using an external display can cause flickering if there are problems with the display or its cables.

5. Power and Battery Problems

Power Adapter Issues:

A faulty power adapter or cable can lead to electrical problems and screen flickering. Always use genuine Apple accessories.

Battery Swelling:

If your MacBook’s battery swells, it can press on internal parts, causing flickering. If you suspect this, replace the battery.

6. Malware and Physical Damage

Malicious software can affect various aspects of your MacBook’s performance, including the display.

Running a malware scan with a trusted security application can help identify and remove any potential threats.

7. Physical Damage

Vertical or horizontal MacBook screen flickering lines are often indicative of a hardware issue like outer damage.

If your MacBook has been dropped, exposed to liquid, or suffered physical damage, the internal components may be affected, leading to screen flickering.

8. Excessive Screen Brightness

Extended use of max screen brightness on your MacBook can generate excess heat, potentially causing screen flickering. Adjust brightness to a comfortable level to prevent this issue.

Step-By-Step Guide To Fix MacBook Screen Flickering

Before moving into the technical solutions of this MachBook Screen Flickering issue, we recommend you to follow a few fundamental steps on a priority basis. Let’s begin!

Step 1: Restart The Device

The old turn it off, turn it on trick. You would be surprised how many issues this simple routine trick can fix.

Restart The Device

Just Click the “Apple” icon on the top left corner of the screen, and choose “Restart”

After that click “Restart” on the newly opened Window. If you don’t click “restart” it will do the task after a while. It’s that simple.

Click the Apple icon on the top left corner of the screen, and choose Restart

Still Flickering? Let’s move to the following step!

Step 2: Update Your MacOS

The next thing you can try is updating the operating system of your MacBook.

Usually, the screen flickering issue gets fixed with a software update. And there may actually be one available for your Mac now.

Update Your MacOS

Checking depends on what macOS you’re running. If you click the Apple icon and see the software update listed, click that.

in App Store select Updates in the sidebar

Otherwise click the Apple icon, then App Store and then select “Updates” in the sidebar. After that, click on “Update All” to complete the MacOS upgrade process.

Step 3: Clear Caches And System Junk

The third troubleshooting step is to clear any cache files and system junk. When you don’t know what’s going on, it’s best to start with a clean slate.

Deleting old system junk, like caches, and remains of old apps helps isolate the real cause. Cleaning your machine makes it run better as a bonus.

Clear Caches And System Junk

Open the Finder Window, and then press these keys: Shift + Command + G. Or you can click on “GO” from the top bar, and then “Go To Folder”

type the following command into the field

After that type the following command into the field: ~/Library/Caches, and it will take you to the Caches folder.

it will go to the Caches folder

Now select the folders by clicking: Command + A. You can delete all the selected cache files by clicking: Command + Delete.

Step 4: Reset The PRAM (or NVRAM)

Next, you should try resetting your PRAM. Don’t be scared — you don’t have to be a programmer to do this. PRAM stands for Parameter Random Access Memory.

It deals with various system settings, including the display parameters of your Mac. There is an easy combination of keys to reset the PRAM. This oftentimes will put the screen back to normal.

Reset The PRAM

First, you have to click on the Apple icon and shut down your Mac. Completely shut it down, don’t click restart.

Completely shut it down mac

Then, as soon as you turn your computer back on, press and hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys on your keyboard for about 20 seconds.

So you press these 4 keys as soon as your Mac starts. Release them when you hear the startup chime. The settings are reset.

Step 5: Adjust Energy Saver Settings

The next troubleshooting step to try is adjusting your Energy Saver settings.

Are you on a MacBook Pro and you have “Automatic graphics switching” enabled in Energy Saver?

Then your computer functions by switching back-and-forth between two separate graphics cards. Which could be causing the problem.

click on the Apple icon. Then, open System Preferences

Hover your mouse pointer to the top left corner, and click on the “Apple” icon. Then, open “System Preferences.”

Click On Battery to move into the battery arena

Click On “Battery” to move into the battery arena. Again click on the “Battery” option.

Again click on the Battery option

Look out for the Graphics settings and review if it is checked or not. Lastly, uncheck the automatic graphics switching option.

Step 6: Run Maintenance Scripts

One more potential remedy for your screen. You can also run the so-called maintenance scripts to help your Mac run smoother, and hopefully that will fix your screen glitch.

What this command does is clean some outdated logs and caches, and it sort of greases the inner wheels of your macOS.

You can manually run maintenance scripts using Terminal, which requires an administrator password:

run maintenance scripts using Terminal

Open Terminal (you can use Spotlight search or find it in the Utilities folder within Applications). In the Terminal command bar, enter: sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

enter sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

Press Return and provide your administrator password. Your Mac will execute three maintenance scripts. The Terminal prompt will return once they are completed.

For running a specific maintenance script, such as a monthly one, edit the Terminal command to: sudo periodic monthly

Enter this command if you’re short on time or only need to perform one maintenance task.

Step 7: Reset SMC

Sometimes, your MacBook Pro’s screen may flicker due to issues with the System Management Controller (SMC), which handles power management.

Resetting the SMC can help resolve this problem. Here’s how to do it based on your MacBook Pro model:

For Macs with Apple Silicon:

First, confirm that your MacBook Pro has Apple Silicon. You can check this by referring to Apple’s device models list.

Reset SMC

Or, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac and look for a chip name like Apple M1. If it has Apple Silicon, you don’t need to reset the SMC manually.

For Macs with a T2 Security Chip:

Determine if your MacBook Pro has a T2 security chip by checking Apple’s device models list or through these steps:

Open the Apple Menu. Press and hold Option, then click System Information > Controller. Look for “Apple T2 Security Chip.”

If your MacBook Pro has the T2 security chip:

Restart your MacBook via Apple menu > Restart. As soon as your computer starts, press and hold Shift + Control + Option on the left side of your keyboard.

Hold for 10 seconds, then press the Power button and count to 10. Release all keys, wait briefly, and turn on your MacBook. Reset the SMC to potentially resolve screen flickering.

Step 8: Reset True Tone

Finally, if you’re on a 2018 Mac or newer, you might disable True Tone.

While True Tone is supposed to give your screen more natural colors, this feature can cause your screen to blink.

go to System Preferences to proceed

Click on the Apple icon, and then go to “System Preferences” to proceed.

Click on Display and uncheck the True Tone Box

Then, Click on “Display” and uncheck the “True Tone” Box. Hopefully, one of those tricks will help fix your screen flickering.

FAQs

What Is The Average MacBook Screen Flickering Repair Cost?

The repair cost for MacBook screen flickering can vary widely depending on the cause and the MacBook model you own.

If your MacBook is under warranty, or you have AppleCare, certain repairs may be covered. If not, the cost can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars.

How To Fix MacBook Screen Flickering While Watching Netflix?

Screen flickering while watching Netflix can be browser-related, quality settings, or due to browser extensions. Here’s how to fix it:

  • If you encounter flickering on a specific browser, try using a different one, as compatibility issues may be the cause.
  • Lower the Netflix video quality to ease the strain on your graphics card, which can trigger flickering.
  • Some extensions can disrupt video playback. Temporarily disable them to check if they are causing the issue.

Can third-party applications cause screen flickering on a MacBook?

Yes, third-party apps can sometimes conflict with your macOS and cause screen flickering. If you suspect this is the case, try disabling or uninstalling installed apps to identify the culprit.

Conclusion

Dealing with a flickering MacBook screen can be quite a nuisance, but don’t fret – there are effective ways to address this issue.

Whether it’s a minor software hiccup, a loose connection, or potentially something more serious in the hardware, there’s a solution in sight.

If you’re unsure about the problem’s nature or how to resolve it, it’s wise to consult a professional who can diagnose and fix your MacBook’s display glitches.

Note: If your Mac is still under warranty or covered by AppleCare, the cost of repairs might be considerably lower, or even completely covered, depending on the specific situations.

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