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I have been experiencing an intermittent screen flickering/glitching. The problem occurs where I use, or leave the laptop on for several hours, until I let the laptop rest (i.e. shut it down and leave it off) for several days, then promptly starts again with a couple of hours of use.

The flickering/glitching affects the whole screen. I don't think the attached image does the problem much justice. The whole image on screen appears to shake, moving up and down, ghosting between two 'screens'. The problem started with faint horizontal lines across the screen and then escalated within a matter of hours.

I have taken the Macbook Pro into an Authorised Apple Service Provider who were unable to diagnose the fault with their diagnostic systems; as a result they weren't prepared to replace any hardware. The service provider has proved fruitless. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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  • were you able to identify what the issue was? I am suffering from the same issue. MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) on macOS Catalina 10.15.1 (19B88) Mar 13, 2020 at 4:03

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If possible, try using a second display (through Mini-DisplayPort or Thunderbolt).

The objective is to find if the issue is the LCD panel (Screen) or the GPU (Video Chip/"Card").

If the issue persists on a secondary/external display, the issue is the GPU. If the issue is limited to the built in display, you've narrowed down the source of the issue to your LCD.

Have you noticed any other patterns, such as use of Safari or other apps? Some apps, upon opening, switch from basic "integrated" graphics, to the more powerful "discrete" graphics chip, and its possible that this change is causing the distortion.

EDIT: I should also note that service providers' diagnostics are unable to detect connection issues with the LCD panel (unless completely disconnected), so any tests they run will be inconclusive if its the LCD. LCD issues simply require visual inspection, and your photo should be sufficient proof. Source: Apple Employee/tech for 8+ years

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I'm having the same (or similar) problem. You should give details of your Mac (yr, make, OS) and steps you took to fix it.

I would like to detail out the steps I took to try to identify & rectify the issue.

  • Try resetting your NVRAM: Shut down and while pressing and holding Command + Option + P + R keys restart the Mac. Your Mac will go off and you can release the keys once it does (once you hear the startup sound). This should reset the NVRAM
  • Reset the SMC: Shutdown your Mac. Press & hold Power + Option + Control + Shift for about 20 seconds. This resets the SMC. Please note: this is applicable for Macs with non-removable batteries only.

I tried these but it seems like there is some hardware issue (I need to confirm this)

I have a mid 2010 13" MBP. All of a sudden a day back I noticed the screen started flickering and it's very difficult to make out stuff on the screen. I tried several things (after looking up on YouTube) but none worked (resetting SMC, NVRAM, reinstalling OS, restoring from Time Machine).

To give some details, the issue is across apps, screens although it's most observable on Firefox and even after turning its hardware acceleration off from its preferences, it's no better. On Safari, the display is still blotted but much better than Firefox and that's where I'm currently using the Mac.

I'm yet to plug onto another display (as I'd need an adapter for mini DP to HDMI) and I'd be updating once I do that.

I know this is an old machine and has probably run its time, but it still works great, especially I upgraded its battery & SSD about 2 months back (I already had upgraded the RAM to 8 GB & from HDD to SSD some 5 years back but SSD was only 130GB, and I added another SSD 250GB, 2 months back).

I'm not sure if I want to spend any more than $100 on this machine (since I already spent like $200 2 months back hoping this would give me runway till the next MBP launches in '21)

Update: I had learned to live with it & have been using the system for the last 3-4 days with the flickering/glitches (it's less on Safari, unusable on Firefox) and just now, all of a sudden, without me doing anything, it all became fine (didn't restart or anything, it just went from glitches to perfect)

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  • Welcome to Ask Different. How does your answer help address the problems faced by the original post? It looks like you just have the same problem. Please see How to Answer for info on how to write good answers.
    – fsb
    Apr 12, 2021 at 12:43
  • you're right - perhaps it should've been a comment instead. Unfortunately, that requires some reputation which I currently don't have. I will update my answer to reflect the steps I'd taken to try fix the problem - thanks for this.
    – awkward101
    Apr 12, 2021 at 14:21

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