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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Macbook screen flickering

Macbook screen flickering
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Aug 28, 2006, 07:02 PM
 
I've read about this happening to the iBooks quite a bit here, but don't recall seeing a problem with the Macbooks.

I have a week 23 1.8Ghz, and a couple weeks ago I noticed that no matter what setting I have the screen at, the brightness will flicker.

Is this a known problem for the Macbooks like it is the iBooks? Is it time for me to call Apple?
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Sep 5, 2006, 05:19 PM
 
Well, I've boiled this down to one of two things....

Either

1.) I am the only person with a Macbook doing this instead of an iBook.

or

B.) I am really bad at the search function and everyone just looked at this and shook their heads in disgust, hoping either myself or a mod would delete it.
1.8Ghz Macbook. Week 23
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Sep 5, 2006, 06:15 PM
 
Taken it to an Apple store?
Could be a bad screen inverter.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 11:48 PM
 
happens to me as well, but I havn't the time to send it in. You are not alone!
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Sep 22, 2006, 01:17 PM
 
I am seeing this also. I have a Macbook from the first few weeks it was being sold, but I also havent taken it in. I actually havent seen this problem until recently. Have you brought yours in yet? What did they say?
     
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Sep 22, 2006, 11:21 PM
 
Hmm... haven't had my BlackBook's screen flicker..... I'll keep an eye out for that though!
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Sep 23, 2006, 03:08 AM
 
I'm seeing it... and I don't know if it's hardware or software because after clearing out the PRAM it seems to go away for a bit. (Although the last time I did this, it also triggered the weird vertical lines on bootup the next time I started my computer).

When it's bad, it's really really bad. When it's not, it is solid as a rock. This is on a MacBook manufactured in week 33.
     
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Sep 25, 2006, 07:29 PM
 
I just had my MacBook repaired on Friday for screen flickering. The Apple Centre had allowed me to keep it until they got the parts (new logic board), so I was without a laptop for only one day. Oh, and it was the inverter for the backlight.
Now I'm waiting for the keyboard/trackpad assembly to arrive - while I was waiting for the repair parts, the button of the trackpad started to turn yellow...
     
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Oct 2, 2006, 04:59 AM
 
I sent mine in today at the Applestore at Irvine Spectrum. The "genius" says it's a inverter problem, he was reluctant to admit that it was common. If your macbook upon waking up flickers or when you gradually increase the brightness of your screen it is bright then dims you may have the same problem as me. They sent it for repair, it's sad that a 2 month old computer can have problems like this.
     
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Oct 2, 2006, 11:19 PM
 
I got my new MacBook last Tuesday and noticed the screen flickering the first time I started it up. It's currently being sent back to Apple.
     
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Oct 4, 2006, 08:59 PM
 
My macbook did this. I just got it back today after sending it in for an RSS problem (random shutdown). So far I havn't seen this issue, so hopefully it is somehow related? But for all I know it may flicker like there's no tomorrow tomorrow...

But you deffinatly aren't the only one with the issue...
     
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Oct 17, 2006, 05:36 PM
 
I have the same problem with the 1.8Ghz macbook, purchased early September, 2006. I just discovered that by reducing the brightness to zero and then raising it 1 notch, the blink is often really bad, though I can't consistently depend on this to induce the flickering that seems random, but frequent. I hope it will act up when I take it to Apple for repair, replacement, or whatever. It is really annoying.


Originally Posted by ducatisteve View Post
I've read about this happening to the iBooks quite a bit here, but don't recall seeing a problem with the Macbooks.

I have a week 23 1.8Ghz, and a couple weeks ago I noticed that no matter what setting I have the screen at, the brightness will flicker.

Is this a known problem for the Macbooks like it is the iBooks? Is it time for me to call Apple?
     
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Oct 17, 2006, 09:15 PM
 
My screen has been flickering a bit, starting today. Googling found videos of the same problem with other macbooks on Youtube. Lowering the brightness all the way, then increasing to one notch seems to reproduce the problem, as previously stated.
     
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Oct 19, 2006, 06:46 AM
 
Oddly enough, it has stopped flickering. I think that it is more likely to flicker when the battery is low, at least on mine. If it starts again, I will take it in, but as of now it has stopped.
     
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Oct 20, 2006, 02:27 AM
 
The screen flicker is independent of battery charge. It happens to mine when battery is fully charged, and also when AC power is connected. Under these "full power" conditions, the flicker is still a random occurence and the severity of the flicker is also variable. Nevertheless, it occurs at some time every day. I'll be checking in with the Apple folks soon.
     
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Oct 20, 2006, 07:06 AM
 
Mine is flickering at 46% battery, and it has been since it was at 9%. I will see when it is full.
     
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Oct 24, 2006, 02:56 PM
 
My Black Macbook screen has started to flicker randomly over the past 2 weeks. I just got it back from Apple a few weeks ago, after sending it to them to repair the random shutdown problem. What's going on with Apple's component suppliers?
     
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Oct 24, 2006, 07:30 PM
 
Mine still flickers, so it's seemingly not related to the random shutdown issue...

All be it I've had my system randomly shutdown twice since I got it back from the RSS repair...
     
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Oct 24, 2006, 10:12 PM
 
I had the same issues. Originally I had the orange plastic issue. I sent that in and got it fixed. Then it started flickering. I sent it in and they replaced some LCD stuff. I got it back and it worked great for a week. Then it started again. Sent it in and they said they couldn't replicate it. I got it back and it still did it. Then they made me bring it to a computer repair place locally to have a mac guy verify the issue. He called and then I was able to get a replacement. Needless to say I got the iMac instead. I've always been a PC guy but recently I started using Macs to record my music. Apple hardware is beautiful but I think sometimes they sacrifice functionality for form. A thin laptop like that with that great processor and there is one fan and one vent in the back. I know they don't like fan holes and stuff like that but it is a computer, it produces heat, so design it to run how it should. I don't care if I see fans on the bottom of my laptop..... my eyes are never really focused there. So far I'm happy with the iMac but internet work is not as fast as on a PC at all.
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Oct 25, 2006, 09:35 AM
 
I thought I was going insane or looking at the screen for too long. Mine does it from time to time. When I have some time off of school I will take it to the Apple Store and see if they can repair it. Maybe I'll be able to get that deal where I get to keep my Macbook until the parts arrive.
     
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Oct 25, 2006, 09:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by iMacYouMac View Post
I had the same issues. Originally I had the orange plastic issue. I sent that in and got it fixed. Then it started flickering. I sent it in and they replaced some LCD stuff. I got it back and it worked great for a week. Then it started again. Sent it in and they said they couldn't replicate it. I got it back and it still did it. Then they made me bring it to a computer repair place locally to have a mac guy verify the issue. He called and then I was able to get a replacement. Needless to say I got the iMac instead. I've always been a PC guy but recently I started using Macs to record my music. Apple hardware is beautiful but I think sometimes they sacrifice functionality for form. A thin laptop like that with that great processor and there is one fan and one vent in the back. I know they don't like fan holes and stuff like that but it is a computer, it produces heat, so design it to run how it should. I don't care if I see fans on the bottom of my laptop..... my eyes are never really focused there. So far I'm happy with the iMac but internet work is not as fast as on a PC at all.
at first I thought Airport was better but now I have noticed wireless internet on a PC (MIMO) is faster thanthe Airport.
     
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Oct 25, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
Well if the PC is using 802.11n (which uses MIMO technology) then of course it wil be faster.
     
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Nov 15, 2006, 09:43 AM
 
Mine flickers for about 30 seconds after waking up from sleep, then goes back to normal.
     
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Nov 15, 2006, 10:57 AM
 
I'm going to take mine in on Friday and see what they have to say about it at the genius bar...but with my luck, it won't flicker at all while I'm at the store.
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 09:37 AM
 
This problem is supposed to be resolved after the recent firmware updates.
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 03:34 PM
 
I hate to say this but mine just started flickering too. Week 35 white macbook with latest firmware applied - so firmware doesn't fix it.
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 05:01 PM
 
I'll go out on a limb and say that the flickering worsened after installing the updates, but it may be purely coincidental...
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by hookem2oo7 View Post
I'll go out on a limb and say that the flickering worsened after installing the updates, but it may be purely coincidental...
I would tend to agree, but it may- as you say- just be coincidental.
     
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Nov 21, 2006, 11:54 AM
 
Mine is doing this as well. Only started after I sent it i for the cracked case and RSS. Now this... :/
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Dec 2, 2006, 12:27 AM
 
My macbook has been having this problem too. I'm sending it back to apple because we don't have an apple store here in Boise and the alternative dealer here wanted to charge $50 to "expedite" the diagnosis of the problem (definition of "expedite" is anything < 7 days!!)

Interesting to see Apple's response to the problem on their forum... and I quote:

"This topic is locked - replies are not allowed."

http://discussions.apple.com/thread....604924#3604924
     
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Dec 3, 2006, 01:33 AM
 
mine just started flickering too - but only slightly
     
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Dec 3, 2006, 04:08 PM
 
I have that happen on my week 25 2.0ghz MacBook. It isnt too bad but I may take it in anyways. It usually only happens when it is plugged in.
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Dec 5, 2006, 01:50 PM
 
Yeah my MacBook screen has begun flickering too. It seems to be worst within 5 minutes of startup and/or wakeup and flickers less after that.

Also, I was noticing on some posts that you guys were referring to the production week of your MacBooks. How do you get this information? I would be interested to know that about mine. Thanks.
     
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Dec 5, 2006, 10:45 PM
 
I just bought a new C2D Blackbook, and my doesnt have the flicker, but at about half brightness, it has light scrolling horizontal lines that run vertically. Additionally, you can only see them on solid color background (and of course I use the middle gray background).

Not sure if its a problem or me being really picky, as they are almost non-noticeable, and you cant see them at all in some types of light.

Anyone else have this?
     
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Dec 6, 2006, 01:09 AM
 
Will apple replace the computer or make me have service on a brand new unit.
     
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Dec 14, 2006, 12:47 AM
 
Update to my previous post... just got my Macbook back from Apple (I have Applecare). I left it on my porch on Monday for DHL pickup and got it back on my porch Wednesday, which is great service (I have always been impressed with Applecare service). The diagnosis/repair was to replace a Battery Transfer Board.

Unfortunately, it's still flickering. It began flickering as soon as I turned it on.

Back it goes.

-WF
===========================

Originally Posted by Workfaster View Post
My macbook has been having this problem too. I'm sending it back to apple because we don't have an apple store here in Boise and the alternative dealer here wanted to charge $50 to "expedite" the diagnosis of the problem (definition of "expedite" is anything < 7 days!!)

Interesting to see Apple's response to the problem on their forum... and I quote:

"This topic is locked - replies are not allowed."

Apple - Support - Discussions - Screen flicker on Macbook ...
     
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Dec 19, 2006, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by gametime10 View Post
Mine flickers for about 30 seconds after waking up from sleep, then goes back to normal.
Same here. I am gonna take it in. Apple's QA has really suffered in recent years it seems.

Note that I only get the flicker when it's on battery power. No flicker when plugged in.


Originally Posted by frankthetank966 View Post
This problem is supposed to be resolved after the recent firmware updates.
Nope. Not for me anyway.
     
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Dec 19, 2006, 06:14 PM
 
Same thing with mine and apparently apple knows about it already!
Apple support forums

Google results for Macbook + flickering
     
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Dec 20, 2006, 03:08 PM
 
I have also recently encountered this uncontrollable screen flickering on my iBook G4. Try shutting down the computer, remove the battery, reinsert the battery, and then boot back up the computer. This seemed to resolve my flickering problem.
     
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Dec 21, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
Holy, crap....Steve Jobs personal assistant just called me! Said he was going to stay on top of issue and make sure things work out well. woohoo!
     
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Dec 24, 2006, 04:51 PM
 
My MB just started flickering the past week or so. Has anybody actually successfully had this problem repaired? Lots of people complaining about it, but not many resolutions it seems.
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Dec 28, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
I don't know if this is related to the flickering problem when using the battery, but whatever the case now it's moot, because the battery doesn't work at all. My battery is now totally dead. I tried resetting both the SMC (PMU) and the PRAM, but it's still dead. The MacBook only works when plugged in.
     
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Dec 28, 2006, 11:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by bradoz71 View Post
My MB just started flickering the past week or so. Has anybody actually successfully had this problem repaired? Lots of people complaining about it, but not many resolutions it seems.
I wouldn't call it so much as repaired... i had my computer replaced with a brand new unit... that seemed to fix the problem.
     
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Dec 28, 2006, 02:19 PM
 
What are you referring to when you say a "brand new unit?" An entirely new computer?
     
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Dec 31, 2006, 12:34 PM
 
Dunno what they'll do for me. They said my dead battery could be due to the battery itself (obviously) or a defective logic board, among other things. I don't know if the flickering I had previously is related or not obviously. We'll see.

I'm wondering now if I should get AppleCare, especially since I can get it for $218 (US$188). However, it still seems rather expensive considering it's 16% the price I paid for the machine, and I wasn't necessarily planning on keeping a long time anyway, depending on what new machines get released in 2007. No biggie though, as I have until May before I have to decide.
     
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Jan 6, 2007, 10:39 PM
 
Just got my MB back for the second time. I had sent it back earlier (see below) to Apple (I have Applecare) but it wasn't fixed properly, so I finally got around to sending it back after the holidays. Just like last time, DHL picked it up from my doorstep and it was returned 2 days later (ie out on Wed, back on Friday, which I am very impressed with. I don't like being without my computer, and Apple's service didn't disappoint). I'm not quite sure what they did this time? They apparently replaced:

"APP-630-7691 PCB, MLB, 2.0 GHZ DC, SMS/KIONI"

??

Is that the motherboard? Anyway, upon starting the MB, it flickered <sigh>. But since startup, it hasn't flickered except after waking from sleep. It is clearly better than it was, but the initial startup/wakeup flicker has me concerned. If the startup flicker is the only problem, then I can live with that, but if it becomes worse, then back it goes.

-WF


Originally Posted by Workfaster View Post
Update to my previous post... just got my Macbook back from Apple (I have Applecare). I left it on my porch on Monday for DHL pickup and got it back on my porch Wednesday, which is great service (I have always been impressed with Applecare service). The diagnosis/repair was to replace a Battery Transfer Board.

Unfortunately, it's still flickering. It began flickering as soon as I turned it on.

Back it goes.

-WF
===========================
     
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Jan 12, 2007, 05:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I don't know if this is related to the flickering problem when using the battery, but whatever the case now it's moot, because the battery doesn't work at all. My battery is now totally dead. I tried resetting both the SMC (PMU) and the PRAM, but it's still dead. The MacBook only works when plugged in.
I got my MacBook back last week, and the flickering is gone. Granted I haven't used it much (since I have a 24" iMac), but both from reboots and on wake so far I have had no flickering.

They did nothing with the motherboard. They said they just replaced the battery.

Well, they also reseated the portion of the case around the keyboard because when they replaced it last time it was off a bit. They had replaced it because of the palmrest staining issue on my white MacBook but I guess they hadn't aligned it perfectly. However, this has nothing to do with the flickering, since the flickering preceded the case replacement, and persisted afterwards. It only disappeared after they replaced the battery.
     
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Jan 18, 2007, 04:20 PM
 
Eug, are you still flicker-free? I'm sending mine in tomorrow. My main problem is a defective Superdrive, but the flicker has been happening more often and I mentioned it as well.
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Jan 18, 2007, 07:30 PM
 
hahaha, as the original poster, I guess I should update. I brought my computer to the Apple store in Tampa to get it serviced. After a day, they called me and said they couldn't recreate the problem. After a while, they saw it and replaced the power inverter. It took about a week after I turned it in to get it back, and it hasn't flickered since.
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Jan 19, 2007, 11:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by Macola View Post
Eug, are you still flicker-free? I'm sending mine in tomorrow. My main problem is a defective Superdrive, but the flicker has been happening more often and I mentioned it as well.
My MacBook is still flicker free. It's been a couple of weeks now.

It's rather confusing though. I don't see how just replacing the battery would have fixed this.

Where is the power inverter? Maybe they fixed that and didn't tell me, but I doubt it.
     
 
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