How to Fix a MacBook Pro Screen That Goes Black Randomly

You may have experienced an issue with your MacBook Pro where the screen goes black for no apparent reason. This can lead to your laptop freezing or even the loss of data and files. It would be logical to assume you have either a virus, or a serious problem with the hardware, but fear not, for you are not alone. In this article, we’ll take a look at fixing the MacBook Pro screen going black randomly issue, what causes it, and how to prevent it from recurring.

Why Does The MacBook Pro Screen Go Black Randomly?

First off, it’s important to understand why your MacBook Pro screen is going black randomly. This can be caused by a number of issues, so make sure you read the following carefully to see if yours is being caused by the most common issues.

Battery Drain

You may think this is a fairly obvious one, but you’d be surprised to find that your MacBook Pro’s battery is completely out of charge. This may not be your fault though, for you would usually notice if you had a problem with your battery. But would you notice if you had a problem with your charging cable? Or how about the battery itself? It’s important to check these things thoroughly in order to eliminate them as the cause.

Display Issues

Another common problem when it comes to your MacBook Pro randomly having a black screen is the display settings. Sometimes, you may find you are still able to hear audio from your laptops such as startup sounds or dialogue boxes. If this is the case, chances are your screen brightness is turned all the way down. You can check by firing up your MacBook Pro in a dark room free of any glare and see if you can work your way to the settings to turn it up.

Incorrect Disk Permissions

If you’re unfamiliar with disk permissions, you’re not alone. The average user may not understand what it means to have incorrect disk permissions, but to put it simply, disk permissions control system and users processes access to the files on your MacBook Pro.

If the system thinks they are incorrect, it can cause the black screen issue.

Login Items

Login items (things in your auto startup) can sometimes be the cause of a random black screen because they stop it from booting up correctly.

Bugs in Apps You’ve Downloaded

Third-party apps can be risky. It doesn’t take a genius to know this, but did you know that bugs inside third-party apps are not uncommon, and can quite often be the cause of the random black screen issue? D

The macOS Operating System

At times, the macOS can be guilty of cannibalizing itself. The random black screen on your MacBook Pro may actually be caused by an incompatibility issue within the macOS itself. On top of this, it could even be a bug in the macOS. It’s not as common, but it’s best not to rule it out.

Now that we’ve got an idea of what may be causing your MacBook Pro to randomly get a black screen, let’s move on to see what we can do to fix it.

How to Fix a MacBook Pro Screen That Goes Black Randomly: The Fixes

Check The Battery

Fortunately, the first fix we have for you is super easy, barely an inconvenience. There are three simple checks you can do in seconds to rule this one out.

  1. Check the entire length of the charging cable, as well as the battery itself
  2. Check the indicator light is on to show the MacBook Pro is on
  3. If still unsure, check to see if your MacBook is producing any noise from the fans etc

If it’s not producing noise and you’re able to charge it for long enough to check your battery’s health, you should be looking to do this now by going to the Apple menu, then About This Mac, System Report, Power. From here, you can check everything you need to know about your battery’s health to see if that is what’s causing the issue (See image below)

macbook pro info

Restart Your MacBook Pro (and restart with Special Keys)

Okay, so we’ve ruled out the battery. Now it’s time to rule out another simple fix. If you’re struggling with the black screen random issue and are not able to restart your MacBook Pro normally, you can perform a force restart. You can do this in three ways, in case one or two of them do not work.

  1. Hold down the power button for fifteen seconds. Then, press again to turn it back on.
  2. Press Control+Eject. If a dialogue box pops up, simply hit yes to power off your MacBook Pro. Then, power it back on.
  3. Press Control+Command+Eject. This will perform a forced restart.

If you’ve found none of the above has worked, there are actually some very specific key sequences, or ‘special keys’ that can get you out of the black screen.

  • Press the power button. Don’t worry about not being able to see the power off dialogue box you would normally see.
  • Press the S key on your keyboard. Doing this will tell your MacBook Pro to go to sleep. Then, hold down the power button for six seconds.
  • After waiting a minimum of fifteen seconds, you can press the power button on your MacBook Pro to turn it back on. If done correctly, it should now start up normally, and your screen should be on.

Reset the NVRAM/PRAM

The next fix we need to try is to reset your MacBook Pro’s NVRAM/PRAM. To do this, follow the steps below.

  • Hold the power button for six seconds to power off your MacBook Pro
  • Press the power button to turn it back on, but quickly hold Command+Option+P+R. This resets your NVRAM/PRAM.
  • Release all of the keys. If it’s worked, you should now see the screen light up as the laptop powers on.

Disable Suspicious Login Items

Something that is not such an obvious cause of the MacBook Pro screen going randomly black issue is an app that is launching automatically on startup and causing the screen to go black. There are a number of third-party apps and plugins that will allow you to see what is happening with your startup logins, one of the most highly recommended is FonePaw MacMaster. Once you’ve installed FonePaw MacMaster or any similar program, follow the steps below.

Toolkit
  • Once installed, click extensions on the left of your screen, then scan.
  • Once the scan is complete, click login to login and start finding any and all apps that are launching at startup without your permission.
  • Click the circle button next to the app you wish to disable. If the circle button turns gray, you have successfully disabled it.

Reinstall your macOS

If you still find the issue has not been resolved, the last port of call should be to reinstall your macOS. This will work if your black screen is caused by a software issue. Before you do this, however, there are two extremely important steps to take.

  1. Backup your MacBook Pro – Use either Time Machine, USB, or iCloud to backup the contents of your mac.
  2. Free storage space – Freeing storage space ensures your masOS reinstall will go off without a hitch.

Bottom Line

Now we’ve reached the end of our article, you should have gotten to the bottom of the MacBook Pro screen that goes black randomly issue. If the problem persists, check that it’s not simply a compatibility issue. Most importantly, enjoy using your MacBook Pro the way it was meant to be!

Categories Mac
About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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