Retina Macbook Pro Screen Flicker Solution

When you spend a fortune on a new computer, the last thing you want to see is a flickering screen (especially when the screen is paramount to the design, and a pain in the @$$ to remove).

UPDATE: It’s Most likely a hardware issue. See our solution, and latest update on this emerging issue here. You could also just switch to this Chromebook (I did, and I love it).

When I saw my screen start flickering on my RmBP (Retina macbook Pro) I didn’t even turn it on and off. I just went straight to applecare because I was not risking anything. Hopefully they repaired this in the 13 inch model.

I got a solution from the technician that appears to stop the screen flicker, and as usual I’m posting it here for all to use. I hope this saves you some time and frustration.

If you’re running into the very common safari problems, here’s where you fix it by the way.

So, what we’re doing is a basic troubleshooting solution called reseting the PRAM. It basically resets certain memory controlling hardware that can sometimes get buggy. It’s not dangerous at all to your mac, and it’s extremely simple. These are the instructions almost verbatim from Apple.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Hold Down the keys
  4. While holding the keys, press the power button. Technically you don’t need to press them until it turns on, but you need to beat the gray screen, so it will be easier for you to just hold them down from the start. Keep holding.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound (Chime) for the second time.
  6. Release the keys. Your mac is going to start up normally, and most likely the problem will be solved. It worked for me.

If you’ve ever got a tech problem, send it to me and I’ll get you an answer- no charge.

Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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56 Responses

  1. jeffA says:

    I’m having screen flicker in my 13 inch retina. Applecare hasn’t helped- they just make me run through diagnostics and use my time to help their engineering department, but not help me.

  2. fahad saud says:

    i have problem with my RMBP here is the video to describe my problem

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2kBTuz8i58

  3. Shin H says:

    Hi all,

    I have a the basic 15″ Macbook Pro Retina model with the screen flickering issue.

    And after initial analysis, I realise that it happened after I tried to project the display to my 42″ LCD TV via HDMI.

    It began to have this intermittent flickering issue which is very irritating. Hence, I am suppecting that the issue lies with Display Profiles. My current display profile is “sRGB IEC61966-2.1”, while it seems to be switching between a Color LCD and sRGB Profiles and cause the flickering.

    Here’s my way:

    1) Key in “ColorSync Utility” in spotlight

    2) On “Profile First Aid” Tab, Click on Verify

    (It should check the existing color profiles and return a report. For my case it seems like the color profiles created for the TV is missin or corrupted.)

    3) Click on “Repair”

    (If it is successfully repaired, it will probably solve the issue. While mine indicates “0 out of 2 profiles fixed”)

    4) Press “Shift” + “Command/Apple” + “G”

    5) Enter the following directory “/Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays”

    6) I move this bad color profile “Color LCD-00000610-0000-A00E-0000-000004280380” to a temporary folder.

    7) My screen do not experience any flickering until now.

    You may want to try this out to see if this solve your problems.

    Regards,

    Shin H.

    • appstorechronicle says:

      Thank You For This Very Interesting Solution. This is definitely a possibility although the fact that I’ve done a full restore has led me to believe it’s a hardware issue. I’m going to repost this.

    • Agustin says:

      Thank You Very Much, your solution solve me the problem! THANKS!

    • Jared says:

      Deleting this file fixed my issue! I’m sharing this bug and solution with apple, they replaced my logic board and several other fixes with no success.

  4. Chris K says:

    I am having the same issue. They replaced my logic board and the issue went away for a while, but now it is back and this time they want me to somehow replicate this issue in front of them at the store; even though I have showed them the video evidence taken with my phone. Never again.

    15″ Macbook Pro w/Retina

    • YASH says:

      Hi Chris, Did you get any help form apple again? Same thing happened with me. Logic board replaced issue went away for few days and now starting to show up again. Not sure what to do now.

  5. sagar patel says:

    my macbook laptop screen is dim and i want to make it bright

  6. sagar patel says:

    my macbook screen is dim

  7. Hi i have a constant mouse and screen jumping. I tried your trick
    as mentioned above but it did not solve the issue. Can you advice pls?

  8. Miod says:

    Hi my friend i try way you say for flickering monitor screen. But dont slove this problem how can slove this problem please help me my friend ,thanks a lot .

  9. Cosmic Rocket says:

    4) Press “Shift” + “Command/Apple” + “G” <—– Doing this doesn't do anything for me (Im on Mavericks).

    Is their something else I can do to achieve the same thing?

  10. Cosmic Rocket says:

    ok well I sorted out my previous question….

    “shift + command + g” bring ups the “go to folder” command in finder. You need to be in Finder when you press that combo 🙂

  11. Andrew says:

    It’s a wifi problem, the fix is to chenge the router wifi chanel or go 5 ghz

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-to-Fix-Flickering-Display-on-MacBook-Pro-Retina-427598.shtml

  12. Thanks! It worked for my Macbook Pro 13 Uniboty late 2012.

  13. It's not a flickering problem although every now and then I think I see a flicker (strange). My problem, is that when I close some windows and go maybe to a darker screen, I can see like a ghost of my other windows…it looks horrible…what is this!? Thank you in advance!

  14. I have the exactly same problem Gustavo, when i quit a screen and see wallpaper then there is a ghost of the previous window i was working on, plus my screen have started to flicker sometime. I have done PRAM reset and it still remains. Please help if you found the solution.

  15. Seattle says:

    Shin H’s solution regarding the display profile fixed mine. Nice work!

  16. Memo says:

    So I was trying to watch a movie through an hdmi and as I was trying to start the movie my computer flickered and it shut down and now it won’t start up. It’s a 13 inch Mac book pro retina. Any ideas what’s wrong with it??

  17. stefano says:

    Hi!

    I dropped my Gf MacBookPro on the floor and its monitor started flickering since than. I’m thinking about bringing it to an Apple affiliated store (we’re living in thailand and there is no Apple Store). Do you think it would be an easy to solve problem? Do you think the affiliated store will charge me way more than a normal store? Is there anything I could try before bringing it to the store?

    Thank you very very much.

    Stefano

  18. My screen is flickering. I tried you instructions 2 times and it did not work…any other ideas?

  19. I just got my 13" macbook pro retina and I also had a flickering screen problem. I turned it on and off but it didn't stop. Eventually I removed the USB for my wireless mouse and the flickering finally stopped. It didn't flicker again when I attached the USB again.

  20. i tried ur instructions and now its doing it more ………

  21. Danno Savi says:

    Ayrton Alexis It's called ghosting you guys and it is nayural on the retina display. Turn on a screen saver, it helps.

  22. Ron says:

    Hey!! Thanks a lot!! I see so many people saying it won’t work, but for me fortunately it did!! Thanks a lot!! My lady is Pretty happy now, since this is the computer she is using to get her Dr.ph done and it’s only 1 year old, she was getting very upset! Thank you man! Try it people, you have nothing to loose!

  23. I worked for me!!!!!! Mac book pro retina was scrolling and flickering we couldn't even see the screen, so I gave this a try and it WORKED!!!

  24. But it started doing it again about 15 hours later

  25. Chris Figiel Gunst do it every 15 hours

  26. It worked! Thank you!

  27. Not a crook says:

    Folks, I tried something slightly different. I tried the above and also reseting the smc http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/reset-macs-smc-pram/. Never solved the issue.

    The issue I getting was 2 fold. One the screen was flickering, it seemed to happen whilst browsing the web, also whilst restarting during the black loader screen, the black background would be covered in static. Like i said I did the two above. Then failing that I tried time old tested method of if it’s broken, hit it! Well, to be specific, I closed the lid, and banged it on the sofa sideways on a few times hard. Switched it back on and it seems to have rectified itself… I’m wondering if it was a particulate build up some of the sensitive hardware. (Hows that for a technical explanation) Fook it, it’s work again after an hour or so of googling to no avail!!

  28. Sean Alpert says:

    Hi I found this link. Because of my flickering screen. I restarted my computer before I read anything and the screen was still flickering like pixels all over saw this about your mouse idea so I re-attached my power cord and that solved my problem. Thanks hope this helps someone else. Cheers!

  29. Hi, my macbook pro wont turn on. The screen flashes between grey, black, red, green, blue, and striped grey.. I have tried the above method of holding in 'cmmd, r, option, p & the power' buttons and waiting to hear the starting up chime sound twice.. to no avail.
    Any other tips you could suggest?

  30. Thank you so much. I was panicking but you helped me. I'm from Angola (África) and I can't access any apple store without spending a lot of money. So thank you very much for this post. I got my screen problem fixed.

  31. HappyCamper says:

    THANK YOU, MICHAEL! 🙂

    My mid 2013 MBPR started doing all sorts of strange things yesterday, including Command + Spacebar only bringing up Dictionary results (?), and fonts changing.

    I tried turning it off and back on again, but unbelievably this didn’t work. (Thanks a bunch, IT Crowd!)

    I ran DiskUtility (HD was fine) and various other things, but each time I restarted the computer there were flickering lines across the whole screen that ran up from bottom to top. Most impressive was that it did this first on the MBPR screen, and then both of the two 27″ Thunderbolt Displays, in turn!

    In the end, I went to bed, resigned myself to the thought that this was probably going to be an expensive fix (i.e. New Laptop)

    This morning I tried it again. Same problem. Screensaver had turned all 3 displays a sickly grey. No doubt about it, I was going to have to drive to the nearest town (1 hour away) and get a new computer. I’ve got a ton of work to do and no time to waste.

    On a whim, I decided to try a ‘StartPage’ search for my flickering screen problem. Your link appeared in the top 10 results, but was the one that jumped out at me.

    Followed your instructions with immediate success. I have signed up for your newsletter, and can’t thank you enough for this Monday morning gift!!!

  32. Hi, im having issues. The keyboard on my macbook wont type but as i press a key, the screen flashes. Can anyone help?

  33. I honestly believe that doing this made the flickering worse…..

  34. Mine is a 100% lost cause because i began having problems and right before i brought it in my boy friend spilled beer on my computer. which actually caused no harm in the long run. but the screen still fucks up constantly and they are gonna try and blame it on liquid damage. even though this was a problem before said beer incident

  35. Monique says:

    Hey all! Just thought I might suggest a source of the problem for all who are completely lost. My 27″ iMac had suffered horribly from screen flickering since the day I bought it. I put up with the problem for a year it was annoying but I lived too far from an apple store to bother. Turns out it was the graphics card that was faulty. This solved all my problems and I have not had an issue since

  36. LVR says:

    I saw in another blog that in some cases screen flicker is somehow connected with WiFi. So I experimented with it on my early 2013 15inch MacBook Pro. Voila!… Whenever WiFi is off my screen doesn’t flicker. As soon as I turn it on the flicker begins again. Sounds like a firmware/software update is needed from Apple.

  37. Thanks for your screen flicker solution. It worked. Just tookk a minute. You Rock! Captain Dave

  38. This worked for me! My screen was just lightly flickering and I waited for it to startup–chime three times, and on the third it went away. I'll update in a couple months if problem continues.

    Thanks!

  39. Dear Michael, thank you so much, that has cured my netflix flicker.

  40. This worked!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  41. jamiz says:

    Help, I also have a problem with my MBP Late 2013 Retina. It flickers a lot and it is quite annoying.
    Can anyone help me with this problem?

    I took a video of it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCGfNnynGcY

  42. This worked for me. CMD PR hold – reinstall OS Yosemite.

  43. Nope it's doing it again. Apple shop time

  44. Thank you so much. This helped me today. 8 thought I was going to spend some fortune having the Mac repaired. You're an angel!

  45. I have a similar flickering problem. The dock sometimes flashes up briefly, then disappears, with the whole screen flickering. A PRAM reset has fixed this on occasion, but not always.

  1. March 14

    […] I get into the real diagnostics. If you have the ambiguous “service battery” message,  try a PRAM reset (which can be found in the linked article) before you go through the trouble of bringing it […]

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