MacBook Pro Screen Flickering? 10 Solutions to Fix It

Let’s be honest; you don’t spend over 1500 bucks to see some weird colorful straight lines on your screen appearing and disappearing every now and then, do you? Yep, that’s what I felt when I saw my MacBook Pro screen flickering for the first time.

It literally gave me a mini heart attack! Do I need to replace a new display now?? It costs almost the same as a new MacBook Pro! But the good news is, you don’t always have to pack it and leave for a replacement at the service center.

Sometimes, it’s just a glitch that makes the display flicker once in a while. And yes, you can solve the problem in a few steps. In this piece, we will find out 10 ways to solve Mac screen flickering. 


Why Is My MacBook Screen Flickering?

Why Is MacBook Screen Flickering


Well, it’s not actually a universal problem for Mac users. But the number of threads on Mac user forums on ‘why is my MacBook screen flickering’ is not to be ignored, either.

Flickering on the screens doesn’t depend on whether you are using a retina display or an LCD; it’s just surprising for both types of displays. 

If you really dig deep, the problem probably lies in the imbalance between the operating system and certain Graphical Processing Units (GPU).

This indicates that you need to go down to the systemic level to solve this issue. From clearing caches to resetting the SMC, you need to try out multiple chances to get this thing fixed.

Let’s find out some of the proper ways you can stop MacBook screen flickering. 


Restart Your MacBook  

Let’s start with the very basic solution we have. You can always try restarting your MacBook to see if it solves the flickering problem. Restarting will load all your memories from zero.

So, if the flickering is caused by a software issue, there’s a huge possibility that it will be resolved right after you have restarted your device. 

Go to the Apple logo and select Restart to reset your device. It will restart automatically.


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Update Your macOS 

ways to stop MacBook screen flickering - Update macOS 


At times you may need to upgrade your OS to solve a flickering problem. As we have mentioned earlier that the flickering problem is probably a case of mismatch between the GPU and your OS, it can solve the problem if updated. However, you should always remember to keep a backup of your data using Time Machine. 

This way, if you fail to upgrade your OS for a reason, you can always downgrade to your current OS pretty conveniently. That being said, here’s what you need to do to update the macOS. 

  •  Go to the Apple Logo on Mac and then select System Preferences 
  • Select Software Update. MacBook will start searching for the latest update.  
  • Once it finds an update, it will show it on the right side of the dialogue box, like this. 
  • Click on the Update Now button on the right, and the device will start to update. You may need to wait for some moments for the update to take place. Once it’s done, you can try restarting your MacBook, and hopefully, it will solve the flickering problem. 


Disable Automatic Graphics Switching 

Some MacBook Pro devices come with a single graphics chip. In this case, the graphics output is distributed to two different GPUs.

The integrated chip takes care of the less powerful tasks like browsing, while the single graphics chip handles powerful tasks like graphic designing and gaming.

This is done to save power and increase battery life. However, to do this, the graphic chips are continuously switching for the given tasks. 

This can result in the flickering that you are facing. If you disable this automatic graphic switching option, it will solve the issue. Check if your MacBook has this option. Go to Apple Logo > System Preferences > Battery and Select the Battery option on the left. 

If there’s an option named Automatic Graphics Switching, uncheck it. If there’s no option in this name, you don’t have a single graphic chip, and the issue is not caused by this. 


Reset the System Management Controller 

ways to stop MacBook screen flickering - Reset the System Management Controller 


The System Management Controller, or the SMC in short, is a low-level chip that controls some of the physical issues of your MacBook. Battery charging, sleeping and waking up of the screen, switching between graphic modes – these are some of the tasks that SMC handles. 

So, if there’s an issue with the SMC, it surely will put the display in trouble. In some cases, malfunction in SMC is directly related to the flickering of the display. So, resetting the SMC can be a viable solution to this problem. Here’s how you can reset the System Management Controller. 

If you have the latest MacBook with Apple T2 Security Chip, follow this way. 

  • Turn the MacBook off and disconnect from the power switch 
  • Press and hold Alter, Control and Shift keys together. Continue for 7 seconds 
  • Now press the Power button
  • Hold these 4 keys together for 7 more seconds 
  • Now release all the keys and again press the Power button. 

This will reset the SMC on your MacBook. 

If you have an old MacBook from before 2018, follow this way. 

  • Turn the MacBook off and disconnect from the power switch 
  • Press three buttons at the same time – Shift, Control, and Option 
  • While pressing these buttons, click the Power button 
  • Hold all these 4 keys for 10 seconds 
  • Now release all the keys and again press the Power button. 

This will reset the SMC on your MacBook.


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Reset NVRAM or PRAM chip on Your MacBook 

The Non-volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) of the MacBook stores some critical information on graphics configuration in it. Older MacBook devices use Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) for the same purpose.

Resetting the NVRAM or PRAM can solve the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air screen flickering problem. Here’s how to do it. 

  • Turn the MacBook off and disconnect from the power switch 
  • Press the Power button. It will start the booting process
  • While it is booting up, press and hold Command + Option + P + R keys at the same time. Hold these keys for about 20 seconds and then release them 
  • The MacBook will restart at this point and should solve your screen flickering issue. 


Restart in a Safe Mode 

ways to stop MacBook screen flickering - Restart in a Safe Mode 


The safe mode option of the MacBook is pretty useful. It instantly switches some of the apps off and also limits the capacity of some apps, as well. This also affects the graphics and screen parameters.

For this, if you restart the device in a safe mode, if the screen is working fine, you can rest assured that it’s not a physical problem. To boot the MacBook in a safe mode, you need to follow this process. 

  • Turn off your MacBook 
  • Press the Shift key and click the Power button 
  • Don’t leave the Shift key until the log in screen comes up 
  • When it does appear, you are now in the safe mode 

If the screen shows no sign of flickering, you can be sure that it was just a glitch and will be solved when you reboot in normal mode. 


Disable True Tone 

Like the iPhone, MacBook devices from late 2018 come with a new feature named True Tone. This feature automatically adjusts the screen according to the external lighting around.

Enabling Ture Tone will give you a more natural look on your screen and will take care of your eyes at some point, too. But this can also cause flickering on your screen, as well. So, disabling it should solve the problem. 

To disable the True Tone feature, go to Apple Logo on the top left, then select System Preferences. Find the Display option and open it. 

Then uncheck the True Tone option from it. 

This will turn the True Tone feature off, and you will probably notice that the flickering issue is resolved. 


Uninstall Third-Party Browsers 

ways to stop MacBook screen flickering - Uninstall Third-Party Browsers 


Most complaints on screen flickering of MacBook Pro devices have to do with the third-party web browsers. Sometimes, the macOS doesn’t suit third-party browsers like Chromium and Firefox.

If you are not heavily dependent on using these third-party browsers, we would suggest you remove and uninstall these browsing apps from your MacBook.

This would solve the flickering problem if the problem originated from third-party browsing apps. Here’s how. 

  • Go to Finder. Click Application on the left.
  • This will show all the apps that you have installed on your MacBook. Scroll through the apps and find the third-party browsing app (for example, Firefox, Chrome, etc.). 
  • Right-click on the application and click Move to Bin
  • This will uninstall the app from your MacBook. 

Restart the device and check if the flickering issue is there or not. If the issue was a result of the third-party browser, uninstalling the app will easily solve it right away. 


Check With an External Monitor 

If you are really not sure what exactly happened to the screen, you can always check by connecting the device to an external monitor.

If the external monitor gives you a proper view of the display without any flickering, there’s a good chance that the problem is a hardware one, and you need to see a service center. 


Change Display Resolution 

ways to stop MacBook screen flickering - Change Display Resolution  
macrumors |


Are you using the default resolution of the display? You may try to change the display resolution to see if it solves the problem. Sometimes, the default resolution may not work properly with the OS, and you need to play around with the options to see which one suits the device the best. Here’s how you can do it. 

  • Go to the Apple Logo and then System Preferences 
  • Select the Display option 
  • Select the option – Scaled 

Here, you will find 4 to 5 display resolution options. Try checking every option you have to see which one suits the best for your MacBook Pro. Once you pick the right one, it will immediately solve the flickering issue.


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Nothing Works? 

If you are having bad luck, nothing from the abovementioned solutions will work for you. This will indicate that the problem is indeed a hardware one, and there should be some loosened connections or some physical damage done to the inner display. 

In this case, you don’t have any other option except for taking the device to your nearest Apple service center and handing it over to an expert mechanic.

You may need to spend a few bucks if the issue is about loosened connections only. In the case of a damaged display, chances are there that you need to replace it altogether, which may cost you more! 

If you are not covered by warranty on AppleCare, you will need to spend from $129 to $199 to repair the display depending on the MacBook Pro model you have. 


Final Words 

Try these solutions for MacBook Pro Screen Flickering we have listed down today before you rush towards a repair center. Take a deep breath and be patient. Simply try each of the solutions or multiple solutions at the same time. Once you fail to solve it by yourself, it’s time you visit the repair center right away. 

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