What happens and what you can do when your Mac screen crashes

Watching your Mac screen suddenly distort, freeze, or refuse to turn on is never a welcome event. Unlike other Mac problems, you can’t slow down the resolution of a misbehaving screen; must be fixed immediately. If you’re lucky, the glitch is just a glitch, temporary in nature and not necessarily an indication of ongoing problems to come. In many cases, display problems do not return after a reboot.

Assuming the problem you’re having is a graphics problem and not one of those startup issues that manifests as a stuck screen on a gray, blue, or black screen, it’s a good idea to take the time to go over these troubleshooting tips. problems.

Restart your Mac

You may be surprised at the number of times your Mac is turned off and back on to fix issues like display issues. Restarting your Mac returns everything to a familiar state. It clears both the system and graphics RAM, resets the graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU), and then resets everything in orderly steps.

Make sure your Mac display is connected and turned on

This may seem obvious, but if you’re using a separate display, one that isn’t built into your Mac, you should check that it’s turned on, that the brightness is up, and that it’s properly connected to your Mac. You may scoff at the idea that a cord came loose or the power somehow went out, but kids, adults, and pets have been known to accidentally unplug a cord or two, press a power button, or walk across a power bar switch.

If you’re using a display that’s an integral part of your Mac, make sure the brightness is set correctly, if you can.


The RAM (PRAM) or Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) parameter contains the display settings used by the monitor, including resolution, color depth, refresh rate, number of screens, color profile to be use and much more. If the PRAM in older Macs or the NVRAM in newer ones gets corrupted, it can change the display settings, causing problems including strange colors and refusing to turn on.

Use the How to Reset Your Mac’s PRAM (Parameter RAM) or NVRAM guide to reset the PRAM or NVRAM.

Reset SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) also plays an important role in managing your Mac’s display. The SMC controls the backlight of a built-in display, detects ambient lighting and adjusts brightness, controls sleep modes, detects the position of the lid of Mac notebooks and some other conditions that can affect the display of a Mac.

Reset using the guide: Resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) on your Mac

failsafe mode

Use Safe Mode to isolate any graphical issues you may have. In Safe Mode, your Mac boots into a stripped-down version of the Mac OS that loads only the minimum of extensions, disables most fonts, clears many of the system caches, keeps all startup items for startup, and removes the dynamic loader cache, which is one of the known causes of some display issues.

Before testing in Safe Mode, disconnect all external peripherals connected to your Mac except for the keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and the display.

Start your Mac in Safe Mode by following the guide: How to use the safe boot option on your Mac.

After restarting your Mac in Safe Mode, check if any of the graphical abnormalities are still occurring. If you continue to have problems, there may be a hardware problem. Go to the Hardware Problems section.

software problems

If the graphics issues seem to be gone, your problem is likely software related. Check any new software you’ve added, including Mac OS software updates, to see if they have any known issues with your Mac model or software you’re using. Most software manufacturers have support sites that you can check out. Apple has a support site and support forums where you can see if other Mac users are reporting similar issues.

If you can’t find help through the various software support services, try diagnosing the problem yourself. Restart your Mac in normal mode, and then start your Mac with basic applications, such as email and a web browser. If everything works fine, add any apps you use that may have helped cause the graphics issue one at a time. Continue until you can repeat the problem, which narrows down the cause of the software.

However, if you still have graphics problems without opening any applications and the graphics problems disappeared when running in Test Mode, try removing the startup items from your user account or create a new user account for testing.

hardware problems

If the problem appears to be hardware-related, run Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac’s hardware for problems. You can find instructions at: Using Apple Diagnostics to troubleshoot your Mac’s hardware.

Apple has occasionally extended repair programs for certain Mac models. This usually happens when a manufacturing defect is discovered. Check if your Mac is included among those with a recognized defect. At the bottom of the Mac Support page, Apple includes a list of active exchange or repair programs.

Apple offers hands-on hardware support through its Apple Stores. You can make an appointment to have an Apple technician diagnose your Mac problem and, if you wish, repair your Mac. The diagnostic service is free, but you must take your Mac to the Apple Store.