Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I occasionally receive the infamous HDCP error (as seen below).

HDCP Error

However, I don't have an external display connected. It happens on the MacBook's built in display. This happens MID VIEWING. It starts playing fine, then randomly I get this error. I can always restart it, but it's become a pain. Any ideas?

share|improve this question

What programs are you running? This can happen if, for instance, a VNC session is started, or one of the many airplay applications (servers) runs, or if a screen capture utility runs. They create a third virtual monitor which isn't HDPC compliant, and if they happen to do it while you're watching your movie, you'll receive this error.

Check through your services and background apps to see what is running that might need or use display access. If you don't notice anything, see if you can disable all your background apps and test it again. If it's still happening you might need to reinstall OS X to get rid of any old drivers left behind from an installation of an old USB display adapter, for instance, or screen sharing application.

share|improve this answer
Adam has covered the likely software causes. Your hardware could also need a repair. If you still get this error from a clean install of the OS and no screen sharing / remote management / AirPlay enabled then it could be a problem with the graphics hardware. – bmike Aug 7 '12 at 14:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.