MacBook Pro blank screen and no keyboard illumination

This morning I woke up to a ghastly sight – my beloved MacBook pro opened but with a blank screen.

An external display didn’t even register at the time (but did eventually).

To cut a long story short I did the following, using instructions from this site:

  • Held the power off button to force power off, turned it on, several times, whilst trying different dance moves and monastic chants, invoking demons, you name it – no luck.
  • Tried to reset the SMC, using the hidden sleep functionality – no response.
  • Tried to reset the SMC using the keyboard shortcuts – no response.
  • Reset the PRAM – I got a chime from the MacBook – yay.. I must have fixed it, NOPE.

Disheartened with the lack of screen, I decided to plug the external display in again, and see if that’s changed.

BINGO – I had a progress bar. But it was stuck at 25% and still no main display!  (so one of the above DID do something).

I then found Safe Mode (SHIFT+POWER ON), could get me beyond the progress bar stall (  – but still no main display, and the drawing speed was very slow – probably because graphics drivers aren’t fully loaded or something.

The  other problem I now had is that the external display wouldn’t show the Apple Bar at the top, so making it hard to access sleep etc.

I solved this latest conundrum by adjusting the TV’s own controls to fit the input source to the screen, rather than taking a 16:9 aspect. (Something I’ve not had to do in the last two years!).

I was then about to try resetting the SMC again, but found this Apple article Just following the initial steps exactly (Sleep, Wake, Shutdown, Restart) fixed the problem. And then after changing the display settings I could finally get on with my Unity 3d Project!

 ** UPDATE **

My fix lasted for two days, then the screen really didn’t want to work.

After taking it to the Leeds Apple Store, they simply took the MacBook apart, reset the SMC again, disconnected the battery and reconnected it as well as “Reseated the graphics card cable”. It’s fixed again – for now.

Thanks Apple for not charging me for your time though – many would.

** UPDATE March 2019 **

How to quickly replicate Apple’s steps without opening up your MBP.

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