MacBook screen flicker: Solutions you can try

Why is my screen flickering? 

Not everyone was reporting these problems, but there are certainly enough people experiencing this for it to get mentioned. 

Flickering screen seems to be appearing on retina and non-retina screens, with Mac users noting that it can effect them when using Terminal, or when graphics are enabled or disabled. In some cases, it’s so bad that it makes looking at the screen impossible. 

MacBook Screen flicker problem

It seems that the issue stems from compatibility problems between the new operating system and graphics processing unit. Subsequent macOS updates may have solved this problem, although a workaround or troubleshooting fix is often necessary even then. Let’s look at how to solve it and get Mac screens working smoothly without flickering. 

How to fix Mac screen flickering?

There are a number of potential solutions to this problem. It is worth trying each one in turn, then seeing whether the screen flickering issue is still present, or if one of the fixes has solved it; as each Mac may have a difference reaction to this hardware and software interactivity challenge. 

1. Restart your Mac

  1. Go to the Apple Menu > Restart. 
  2. Or Shut Down, then give it a few minutes before starting it up again. 
MacBook screen flickering

2. Update your macOS 

  1. Go to the Mac App Store or Apple Menu > System Preferences.
  2. If a macOS update is available - which means you aren't running the latest version (which could contain the automatic updates needed to solve this problem) - then a new macOS will be waiting for you to download it.
  3. Back up your data beforehand, either to an external hard drive, third-party cloud-storage or iCloud.
  4. Now follow the steps to update the macOS and once your Mac restarts, see whether the screen flickering issue is still present under the same conditions as before. 

Assuming neither of the above solutions have solved this, there are a few other things you can try. 

3. Clear caches and system junk

To solve this problem, there is an app you can download that clears out loads of system junk that impairs performance. 

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free.
  2. Launch the app and click the System Junk tab
  3. Let it run for a few minutes: It will indicate how much junk it has found and wants to clear, then you only need to confirm and your Mac should be running as good as new. 
  4. Or better, run Smart Scan to clean up junk, start speedup scripts, and check your system for malware — all in one go. 

 4. Reset the PRAM (or NVRAM): 

  1. Shut your Mac down (not reset, a full shut down). 
  2. As soon as you start your Mac again, press the following keys for around 20 seconds: Option, Command, P and R (simultaneously). 
  3. Your Mac will restart with the PRAM (or NVRAM) reset, which should solve the problem. If not, here are a couple more things worth trying. 

It could be caused by caches or out-of-date system logs, and there are solutions for both of these. 

5. Adjust Energy Saver settings

If you use MacBook Pro, MacBook screen blinking is sometimes caused by Energy Saver working improperly. If you enable “Automatic graphics switching” in Energy Saver, your Mac will alternate between 2 different graphics chips. But things often break.

Open your System Preferences > Energy Saver.
Uncheck the box that says “Automatic graphic switching”

MacBook Screen Flashing

Restart your computer and see if MacBook screen flashing stopped.

6. Run maintenance scripts

macOS Maintenance Scripts is a tool that fixes various system glitches and inconsistencies. After you run this service, your Mac should run a bit smoother. And, hopefully, Mac screen glitching will disappear.

You can do that easily using the app mentioned above — CleanMyMac X

  1. Open the app.
  2. Go to the Maintenance module.
  3. Choose Run Maintenance Scripts. 
  4. Click Run.

Free version of this app is available here.

Once complete, restart your Mac for good measure and see whether your MacBook screen flickering has stopped. 

Implementing a combination of fixes, such as clearing out caches and system junk, or running maintenance scripts, and switching it off and on again (or updating the macOS) should solve this annoying problem quickly.

7. Enter a Safe mode

Safe Mode disables a number of services and puts other in a low-key mode. This affects screen parameters as well. Try entering a Safe Mode to see if your screen graphics stabilized. 

  1. Shut down your Mac completely.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and turn the Power on.
  3. Keep holding Shift until the Login Screen appears.
  4. This is the Safe Mode.

By now you should see if your Mac screen glitching continues.

8. Disable True Tone (for 2018 Macs and newer)

The True Tone technology makes your screen colors look more natural. But sometimes its color management goes off track. 

  • To disable True Tone, open your System Preferences.
  • Click on Displays.
  • Now, uncheck the True Tone box.

Has your MacBook screen blinking stopped?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my MacBook screen flashing?

This issue is sometimes is software related. Open your Activity Monitor and look for unknown processes going on. Also, you can use hidden software detector in CleanMyMac X.

I’ve tried all these steps but nothing worked

One more idea to try is to change your screen resolution. Go to Displays in System Preferences and play around with Resolution settings. Try switching off the default option that’s shown there.

If it’s a hardware issue how can I fix it?

Maybe it’s the screen connector at the hinge your MacBook that is off. In this case, you will have to take your Mac to the service. Apple has a free replacement program for this issue.

Hope your screen is acting calm and peaceful now. Thanks for reading.

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