What to Do If Your Mac’s Display Doesn’t Look Right

If your Mac’s screen has ever looked weird (no image, flickering, etc.), you know how easy it can ruin your workday or movie night.

Even though it may look bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem is that serious. Yes, it could be a complex hardware issue that only an Apple Authorized Service Provider can fix. Or a simple software problem you can quickly fix yourself. This article will look at the most likely causes and how to fix them.


If There Is No Image On The Screen

Try one of the options described below:

  • Make sure your computer is on. If your monitor has a power button, make sure it’s switched on.
  • Make sure the cables are properly connected to the computer and monitor. If your graphics card has an external power cable, make sure it is connected to the card and the motherboard.
  • Make sure your computer is not in sleep mode. Press the power button or any key to see if the computer wakes up.
  • Make sure your monitor’s brightness and contrast are properly adjusted. Use the brightness keys on your Apple keyboard. On some monitors, the brightness and contrast adjustment buttons are on the bottom or side.
  • Reset your parameter random access memory (PRAM) by restarting your computer and holding down the Command+Option+P+R keys until you hear the boot beep again.

If The Monitor Screen Is Black Or Dim

Try adjusting the brightness of your monitor or calibrating it:

  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of the monitor. Use the brightness keys on your Apple keyboard. On some monitors, the brightness and contrast adjustment buttons are on the bottom or side. You can also adjust brightness and contrast using the Monitors panel in System settings.
  • Calibrate your monitor. This can be done by choosing the Apple menu > System Preferences. Click Monitors, select Color, and click Calibrate. To learn more about colors and your monitor, visit the Help Center.

If The Images Are Too Large Or Small

Try adjusting your monitor resolution.

Screen resolution determines the size of text and objects on the screen. By default, the Mac automatically uses the best resolution for the display. We recommend that you use the default resolution. Still, if necessary, you can manually adjust the resolution to increase the size of text and objects on the screen or increase screen space by reducing the size of text and objects.

Setting the resolution for the main monitor

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Select Scaled, then select one of the options.

Setting the resolution for the connected monitor

If you have multiple monitors, additional resolution options are displayed when you connect a monitor.

  1. On a Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Displays, then click Display Preferences.
  2. Select a monitor in the sidebar, then do one of the following, depending on your monitor.
  3. Click the Scaled pop-up menu, then choose the scaled resolution for your monitor.
  4. Select Scaled, then choose the resolution you want.
  5. You can select Show All Resolutions to see all additional resolutions for this monitor.
  6. Click Done.

Depending on the selected resolution, some application windows may not fit entirely on the screen. Choosing a zoomed resolution can affect performance.

If The Colors Don’t Look Right

First, make sure the monitor is securely connected to the computer.

Try using a monitor profile designed for your monitor. For example, if you’re using a Thunderbolt monitor, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Monitors, then select Thunderbolt Monitor from the Color Profile list.

If that doesn’t help, try calibrating your monitor. Keep in mind that your perception of the color reproduction of a monitor can be affected by many factors: the light falling on the monitor, the position and angle of the monitor, or its age. You can adjust your monitor using the Monitor Calibrator Assistant app to take into account these factors.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Click the Color pop-up menu and choose Customize. A list of color profiles for this monitor will be displayed and other color profiles.
  3. Click the Add button to open the Monitor Calibrator Assistant.

The Monitor Calibrator Assistant will guide you through the monitor adjustment process and create a calibrated color profile. The number of adjustments during the calibration process depends on the type of monitor.

The preset monitor profile is automatically assigned as your monitor’s color profile.

Some monitors have built-in features for color accuracy and calibration. See the documentation that came with your monitor.

If The Image Is Blurry

Make sure your Mac has found the monitor. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.

To see the Search Monitors button, press the Option key. Then press the button to find the monitor.

If The Monitor Is Flickering

If your MacBook screen is flickering make sure your Mac is connected to the monitor using quality cables and adapters.

Flickering may be caused by a nearby power line, fluorescent lamp, or electrical appliances such as a radio, microwave oven, or another computer. Try rearranging nearby electrical appliances or moving the computer and monitor to a different location.

If The Screen Freezes

To force quit a hung program, hold down the Command and Option keys to force quit a lagging program and press the Esc key. Then select a program from the list and click Force Quit. If that doesn’t work, force restart your computer by holding down the Power button for 5-6 seconds until your Mac Pro turns off. Press the Power button again to turn on your Mac.

If There Is An Indicator On The Front Of The Monitor And It Is Blinking

On some Apple flat-panel monitors, a series of short flashes indicates that an error has been detected. The monitor receives an incorrectly formatted video signal if you see a repeating sequence of three short flashes.

Make sure your monitor is compatible with your graphics card and that you have installed the correct monitor software if your monitor comes with installation software.

If you see a sequence of two short and one long flash, this indicates a problem with the monitor’s backlight. Contact an authorized Apple reseller or service provider.

If These Steps Did Not Help

It’s best to contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider or contact Apple for help. The limited monitor warranty won’t cover if you attempt to repair but accidentally damage the monitor. Contact an Apple Authorized Reseller or Service Provider for more information on any warranty service.

Posted by
Dharmesh Donda

iStaunch is written by Dharmesh Donda, an avid Internet geek, IT professional since 2012. Have been in IT industry for more than a decade, and currently doing management and consulting work have taken a plunge into entrepreneurship.

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