You have forked out thousands of bucks to get your MacBook, which is one of the world’s best consumer-grade computer systems. After all, it’s only right to make a proper investment to get a reliable computer that will help you get your work done with ease. But all this goes down the drain when your MacBook’s screen starts flickering and shows uneven lines on its display. Thankfully, that is one of the most common Mac problems you can fix within minutes without even moving the laptop from your lap. In this article, we will demonstrate several ways to recover the MacBook screen flickering issue from the comfort of your home. Let’s dig in.
1. Reboot Your MacBook
Rebooting your Mac can fix many minor yet annoying issues within minutes. It’s the simplest method that every MacBook user should try when they see any abnormality in their computer, including the screen flickering issue. Your MacBook screen might start flickering if there is some kind of software glitch. To fix this, rebooting your Mac is the most efficient action. Here’s how you can recover the MacBook screen flickering issue by restarting your Mac:
- Click on the “Apple menu” icon in the top-left corner of your Mac’s screen.
- Once the drop-down menu shows up, click on the “Restart” option.
- You will get a new prompt that will ask if you want to restart your computer now. Here, click on the “Reopen windows when logging back in” checkbox.
- Click on the “Restart” button and wait until your MacBook reboots.
If the screen flickering problem is so severe that you can’t access or use the icons and menus on your Mac, you need to force restart your computer. There are two ways to do it:
- Press and hold the Power button for 10-12 seconds to force shut down your Mac. Now, wait for 10 seconds and use the Power button again to power on your computer.
- Press the “Control + Option + Command + Power” keys to force shut down your MacBook. If this doesn’t work, try pressing the “Control + Command + Power” keys together. Once the MacBook shuts down, wait for 10 seconds before powering it on again.
2. Deactivate Automatic Graphics Switching
Every MacBook Pro model comes with a dedicated graphics card and can have two separate GPUs. As a result, the MacBook automatically switches between the two GPUs to provide its user with the best graphics output possible. This is called automatic graphics switching. This feature helps your MacBook Pro maintain the peak graphics output for a long time while reducing power consumption. However, it might also be the primary reason for the screen flickering on your Mac. Thus, to recover your MacBook Pro from the screen flickering problem, you need to disable automatic graphics switching like this:
- Click on the “Apple menu” icon to open the drop-down box and then click on the “System Preferences” option.
- Once the “System Preferences” window opens, navigate to Battery → Battery Menu.
- Next, click on the “Battery” option located on the left panel.
- Now, find the “Automatic graphics switching” checkbox and uncheck it.
Pro Tip: If you’re unable to find the “Automatic graphics switching” option, it means that your MacBook Pro doesn’t contain two separate GPUs. In this case, ignore this method and focus on the next ones.
3. Disable True Tone to Recover MacBook Screen Flickering Issue
True Tone is a built-in feature that comes with every single Mac device that is manufactured after late 2018. This feature uses the GPU and helps the MacBook to adjust the color display of the screen in real-time to suit the surrounding ambiance. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the best additions to the Mac devices that makes it easy to work staring at the screen for a long time. However, if the True Tone technology suffers from a functional problem, it might cause screen flickering issues in your Mac. If that’s the case, you need to turn off this feature manually to fix the issue. Here’s how:
- Click on the “Apple menu” icon and navigate to System Preferences → Display.
- Once you get into the Display window, uncheck the “True Tone” checkbox.
If the screen flickering issue originates from the malfunctioning True tone feature, disabling it using this method should immediately fix the difficulty.
4. Recover MacBook Screen Flickering Issue Using Software Updates
If you haven’t updated your MacBook for a long time, it might create several functional complications, including screen flickering issues. Apple releases multiple updates at regular intervals to fix the different software issues and bugs. Consequently, regularly installing these updates can help you fend off multiple software and driver concern. Therefore, if you have been avoiding installing the updates for a long time and facing the screen flickering difficulty, updating your macOS may help you fix the concern. Follow these steps:
- Click on the “Apple” icon in the top-left corner of the screen and then the “System Preferences” option from the drop-down menu.
- Once the “System Preferences” window shows up, click on the “Software Update” option.
- Now, your Mac will check if there is any update available to download. If you haven’t updated your macOS for a long time, you should see the “An update is available for your Mac” message. Here, click on the “Update Now” button to start downloading the pending updates.
- Once you download all the available updates, you need to “Restart” your Mac to install the updates successfully. To do that, navigate to the Apple menu → Restart.
Pro Tip: Make sure to backup all your Mac’s data (or at least the important files) before you start downloading the updates on your computer. While updating your Mac doesn’t mean that you will lose them, it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions. However, if you did lose your critical files after updating, follow our guide to recover lost Mac files after OS update.
5. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
Nowadays, every MacBook comes with an SMC chip that controls its internal power settings. It manages various crucial aspects of a MacBook including battery charging, sleeping time, automatic graphics switching, and more. Let’s show you how you can reset the SMC chip to recover the MacBook screen flickering issue.
1. For MacBooks Powered with M1 Chip
An M1 chip-powered MacBook already has the SMC function embedded within. There is no way to reset the System Management Controller or SMC manually. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Follow these steps to reset the SMC on a MacBook with an M1 chip:
- Shut down your MacBook and leave it for at least 45 seconds.
- Now, switch it on and your MacBook’s SMC will be automatically reset.
2. T2 Security Chip Mac Computers
Follow these steps to reset the SMC:
- Shut down your MacBook.
- Now, press the “Control + Option + Shift” keys and hold them for 7-8 seconds.
- While holding the three keys we have mentioned in the previous step, press on the “Power” key too and hold it for another 7-8 seconds before releasing all four keys.
- Now, wait for 30-40 seconds and switch on your MacBook by pressing the “Power” key.
That’s it. The SMC reset is complete.
3. For MacBook Models Released Before 2018
Follow these steps to reset the SMC:
- Shut down your MacBook.
- Now, press the “Shift + Control + Option” keys and while you keep holding them, press the “Power” key too.
- Keep holding the four keys for about 10-12 seconds before releasing them.
- Hit the “Power” button to turn on your MacBook.
6. Reset NVRAM/PRAM to Recover MacBook Screen Flickering Issue
NVRAM/PRAM manages multiple peripheral settings of your MacBook, such as display brightness, device volume, time settings, and screen resolution. Therefore, when the NVRAM/PRAM malfunctions, your MacBook may suffer from multiple complications, including screen flickering issues. To fix this problem, you need to restart the NVRAM/PRAM of your MacBook by following these instructions:
- Shut down your MacBook and wait for a few seconds.
- Next, press the “Power” button and release it immediately.
- Now, press the “Option + Command + P + R” keys as soon as you release the “Power” button in the previous step.
- Keep holding the four keys until you see the Apple logo on your MacBook screen.
Now, your NVRAM/PRAM settings have been reset, and you, as the user, should be able to recover the MacBook screen flickering issue.