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During Use, MacBook Pro Screen Goes Black - HELP!?

I have a MacBook Pro 15” Retina late 2013.

I was having problems with shut downs ever since I updated to Sierra (it’s been almost a year now).

After two trips to Apple with no solutions, I decided to go back to my original OS (OS-X Mavericks) and now I’m having this problem (in the last year it’s probably happened 10 times max but that’s pushing it.)

Since I got this update it’s been 14 hours and it’s happened three times already. The lights are on in the keyboard, and the Apple is lit up on the front, but the screen is black and the fans are running really loud.

I’ve got all the available updates (without upgrading to High Sierra). Is there an easy fix for this?

Update (05/29/2018)

I didn’t mention that when I turn my computer back on it works fine. I’ll browse the web or edit on photoshop, and then it’ll happen again - black screen and increasingly loud fans, keyboard and Apple logo still lit.

Then I hold the power button down until it shuts off, and when I turn it back on, it works fine until it happens again after a period of time.

And BTW, here’s some info in case it’s needed:

MacBook Pro Retina, 15" Late 2013

  • Processor 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
  • Graphics Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
  • Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • 251 GB Flash Storage
  • Software OS X 10.9.5 (13F1911)

I reset the PRAM and that didn't work. Resetting SMC made my display options set to "scaled" instead of "best for display".


I promise it’s late 2013 lol

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I also want to note that I’ve updated to El Capitan (Mavericks wouldn’t allow me to run Photoshop). Since I upgraded, the black screen/loud fans stopped and I’m back to the shut downs (or hibernations, whatever it is).

UPDATE 6/15/18:

TG Pro and Activity Monitor snapshots after I opened up Lightroom and Photoshop

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I hope those are in order but you can tell by the time at the top in the photos. It wasn't staying up high the whole time but I guess that depends on what I'm doing in PS or LR? I also can't remember if I said this already but thought it might be important to say that I'm almost always using an external hard drive when I'm on my laptop, mostly because it seems to help with the shut downs, but also because if I'm using LR or PS all of my photos are on my external drive.

UPDATE 6/16/18:

Here are some screenshots while I exported photos from Lightroom (I'm so surprised it didn't shut down during this process)

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How big a hard drive do you have and how full is it?

I have 237/250gb available, it was just wiped and I’ve added nothing but a browser and a background so far

The 2013 models are a bit weird! Apple started to produce two different versions one with only the Intel graphics services and a second series with the dual graphics setup adding the NVIDIA GPU.

- MacBookPro11,2 - Integrated Graphics

- MacBookPro11,3 - Dedicated Graphics

Go to About this Mac to see what you have.

Thank you everyone for the advice! My dad is going to pop it open in a few days or so, (I’m not sure exactly when) and see if he can fix it. I’m thinking we’re going to apply some more thermal paste, when Apple did that for me it worked for hours with no shut downs. I’ll talk to my dad about everything you’ve suggested too and see what he thinks. Thank you!! I have late 2013 and it’s 11,2 for those wondering. My computer is still shutting down (the right way, or hibernation, whatever-occasional crashes) and I’m noticing how hot it really is when that happens. I’m panicking because I use it for work (as a photo editor) so I’m in photoshop a lot and I’m so sick of having to reopen/restart projects. This has truly been a frustrating year dealing with this. $2,000+!!! -.-

@danj You commented before on my other thread about the shut downs. You seemed to think it was the heat sink failing. After learning that Mavericks stopped the shut downs and started with the black screen/fans, and then El Capitan started with the shut downs again- do you still think that’s what it is?

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@kimberlyrenee - I think you’ll need to do a few different things here to get to the root issue.

First I do think you’ll need to do a bit of cleaning making sure the dust buildup is not hampering the systems cooling. Carefully pop the bottom cover and using a soft paint brush and a can of can’ed air dust the system don’t scrub to hard as you don’t want to damage things by shagging things with the brush. Use short blasts of air to push away the dust. Pop the cover back on and lets try the next step.

While I know Ezra had recommended using software to override the fan I find that just makes things worse! Until you understand why your system is getting hot forcing it to cool harder often just masks the underlying issue and in the long term damages your system.

While the software Ezra recommended does offer the thermal sensors temps the presentation of that information is not ideal on trying to ‘See’ whats happening sometimes we need to see the trend on when things ramp up and how hot things got. Which is why I try to get people to use TG Pro as it give you a better presentation of the needed info. Here we are using it to diagnose the issue using it in conjunction with Active Monitor which you have in your application/utility folder. Running it you should see if a given application process is consuming to much of the CPU’s time when the system starts getting warm.

So with both TG Pro & Active Monitoring running in windows on your desktop run your apps in a third window and watch what happens when things start to ramp up. Take screen snapshots of both and paste them here for us to see.

Update (06/16/2018)

I’m sorry to tell you your system is just not up to the task of the type of photo editing you’re attempting. The process load is pushing the thermals beyond what this system was designed to support. Basically its undersized for the tasks you are trying to do. Between the limited graphics services, RAM & storage this system has it’s doing the best it can.

I think you’ll need to make the investment of a new laptop system which has a dedicated GPU, supports 16 GB of RAM and offers a bigger SSD. Even then your system will get hot but it won’t thermally shutdown like this system is.

The better direction is invest in a desktop system which has better cooling by design. Even Apple realizes the limits of its systems the 2013 MacPro (TrashCan) was also graphically & thermally challenged which is why the newer iMac Pro was released.

To hold you over until you can save your pennies you’ll need to go on a process diet. Only have one app running and don’t auto load any apps at startup. That way you’re not forcing the CPU to task switch as often. You should get the full version of TG Pro as it can pre-cool your CPU so it gives you a bit more run time. Most likely these corrections won’t go far enough as you do need to address the fact the system has been running hot of quite awhile.

This is where you’ll need to remove the heat sink and clean the old thermal paste off as you’ve cooked it! You also need to replace the heatsink as well. Follow this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Late 2013 Heat Sink Replacement Review the tool & parts listing for the needed sundries and part.

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You mentioning the fans running loud makes me think the computer could be overheating for some reason. Try downloading something like Macs Fan Control (https://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-con...) and seeing if the computer is running unusually hot.

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I had Firefox open with one tab, and ROBLOX opened in a game

Try turning the fans up all the way with a controller. Does it make a difference in your temperature? It seems kind of unlikely, but maybe your fans/vents are just clogged up and the computer can't properly cool itself down.

@ezra - I know a lot of people love to push the fans when things get hot. Most of the time pushing the system is the wrong direction you end up not solving the root issue.

Whats more important is to 'See' whats getting hot so you can focus on why it is. Compare what "Macs Fans Control" gives you for information and what TG Pro offers for the thermal sensors.

I think you'll agree the graphical view of all of the sensors offers a better view Vs the simple numeric entry. TG Pro also offers a high water mark and if you get the full version it offers logging. From someone who services Mac's for a living I've tried many apps to find the best that helps me help others. So far I have not found anything better.

Unlike Macs Fan Control TG Pro only increases the fans once a thermal threshold has been reached (set). Which I think is a better approach.

To be clear I have no financial involvement with Tuna Belly software. I look for the best and I only recommend the best tools for the given task

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Does sound like a overheating CPU. Maybe the GPU, I believe the later versions have discreet GPUs installed. But it also makes me wonder if some weird system failure is happening, because if the fans aren’t raving up before the crash, why would they go full blast when the glitch happens?

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I haven't tested the fans to check for overheating since I downgraded to Mavericks but it was never a huge issue before. I had something downloaded before that would tell me how hot it got and I shut it down twice when I felt the numbers were getting too high but it never shut off because of the heat, the computer was never unusually hot. I do have to say though, back when I was having the shut downs or hibernations, I sent it to Apple through Best Buy Geek Squad and they reapplied thermal paste to the CPU and I had about 6 hours of no shut downs, no crashes, no having to stay plugged in, and then it all started up again. (Not many crashes, though, almost always shut down normally though it should be noted that it may have been hibernating. Would never lose work, or rarely I would only lose, say, a few steps in history on Photoshop.)

Omg, so I guess I jinxed it and spoke too soon.. shortly after I commented, my laptop overheated and shut down. It was HOT.

@kimberlyrenee - Check the two links in your question so we know which version you have.

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By the way, per your post, it is more to mid 2012 MBP retina. The symptoms are similar to the drive health. Hold down CMD+S at start up to get to single user mode

wait until it finished loading and press enter

then type the following

fsck -fy >>>Enter

It will check the drives and when done try another one

Try this command for a few different times with different volumes

fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk1 then enter or disk1s1 or disk0s2 what ever depend on your drive partition.

That should make a lot of different. If that is not a solution, the EFI firmware need to clean up. It may have some address issues. The device should be fine but the drive directory may corrupt.

If it is EFI firmware, it cost $120 to reflash plus shipping. (lol good marketing)

Update (06/05/2018)

Power up the device while holding the Command + S until the command lines appears. Then press enter once and type the following line to make so many feel comfortable.

fsck -fy

The internal drive is usually disk0 and use the volume directory to rebuild each of them.

First try the whole disk with the following line

fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk0

That will repair the drive and if there is any error, it will shows. That is the command to run the whole disk to repair file system.

If that get error, try each volume.

fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk0s1

then try another partition

fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk0s2

That is forced the drive to repair. It is better if you have external drive to boot with the single user mode. If not, internal drive may not allow to access the root system unless I make you confused.

If that do not work, feel free to post the detail and correct device model.

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You don't need to replace the EFI for this type of problem! And doing a drive check while not harmful you do need to be careful and use the tool correctly!

Here is the proper way to use fsck command line: How to Repair a Mac Disk with fsck from Single User Mode

I also don't run it on the boot drive as OS system files are open! So it can't fix these.

Think of it this way... You have a shoe with a broken heel you hobble into the shoe cobbler store and you want him to fix your shoe what does he do? He needs to take it off your foot before he can fix it!

We need to do the same here we can't have the drive active with the OS running on it. We need to use a second bootable drive and make sure it's booting under it.

I did not say replace EFI. I said reflash EFI firmware with clean ME region that do not have to do anything with the replace. If there is the solution you already knew, there is no point of telling what to do. I am giving free advice and I am telling with the devices I experienced. If it is 2012 or early 2013, the device is prone to the GPU failure because of the the quality of the solder cause power to become unstable, This is not only the drive problem. Removing the back panel is not a rocket science and using air blast do not make different if the thermal paste(in proper method) is not replaced after certain period.

Please take a look at the command lines I provided first before pointing out to the website while the command used do not need to mount the drive. May be she might need to check the system integrity protection or may be rebuild the directory. Mavericks is actually an awesome operation system that do not overload the machine and boots super fast won't cause the issue. Her device is early 2013.

@freewill - Re-flash EFI is the same as Replace EFI firmware, it still has nothing to do with the issue. Why do you think the Intel Management Engine (ME) has anything to do with this problem?

The GPU problem this system has is in the construction of the GPU chip its self not the solder. This GPU uses a flip chip design and the pads that interconnect the internals fail. But that is if this system has the dedicated GPU. As I pointed out Apple introduced two versions of this model so you need to know which model to know if this is the case.

File integrity wouldn't explain this problem you're reaching here.

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Hi, I have the same problem while using my macbook in Mac OS, But I do not have any problem in Windows( I have bootcamp installed). Do you think it still is the heat sink?

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Best to create your own question if you've already cleaned your system of dust, Made sure your system has enough drive space and if possible increase the RAM.

Then its a matter of monitoring your apps and temps.

Post snapshots of TG Pro and Activity Monitor both together so we can correlate the two.

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