I have a 2011 Macbook Pro and I've suddenly been having this recurring problem of black pixels appearing green and flickering...

Firstly, if I have no software open and "Automatic Graphics Switching" ticked, in the Energy Saver preferences, it stops the flickering and the display is fine. If I untick it, the flickering green appears again.

Unfortunately the moment I open any software, like Photoshop, Buildbox, SketchUp etc, the green flickering starts and displays, even if the "Automatic Graphics Switching" is ticked or not. The moment I close the software, and if the "Automatic Graphics Switching" is still ticked, the display is normal.

What's even WEIRDER, is that if I mirror my screen onto a Monitor, and open Photoshop of example, the Macbook Pro display/black pixels still flicker green but the monitor renders/displays everything perfectly fine. If I close the software, the flickering stops an displays normal.

So... What's going on?

Is it the display or the graphics card? Surely if its the graphics card, the mirrored monitor would display flickering pixels too?

Also, I did a Hardware diagnostics and the only error was the Battery (which I bought off Amazon 6 months ago). My mac is fully up to date with El Capitan.

Help me please Thank you so much.

  • Saw Apple Genius today and ran a VST diagnostics and it passed all hardware test. I was advised to go home and update from El Capitan to Sierra which is a possible fix. If that fails to return and let them have the MacBook for a week and investigate further. I'm now downloading Sierra and have a Genius Bar reservation for tomorrow in case... Dec 1, 2016 at 17:40
  • So upgrading to Sierra made the Green Flickering worse. They are now permanently flickering :( Dec 1, 2016 at 21:39
  • I am not convinced it's the actual GPU. A repair company I talked to said that "if the picture is ok on an external monitor (true in my case) then it's not the GPU". I only see this on the LCD and only when the graphics run in the Discrete graphics (AMD) mode. The gfxCardStatus app proved a blessing as a workaround when running standalone. It helps selecting a specific graphic mode. When I run on Intel graphics (no external monitor possible in that mode) then the LCD displays perfectly fine. My Macbook Pro 17 late 2011 has already been subject to the recall program and the motherboard replacem Apr 23, 2018 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


Sounds like the beginnings of a GPU failure - there is an active repair program that runs through the end of the year for the 2011 MBP, so get your machine to the Apple Genius Bar and ask for a VST test. Good luck!



All the 2011 MacBook pro 15" models suffer from AMD GPU issues. Apple has a free repair program in place till December 31, 2016. They will replace the faulty logic board for free. I had replaced mine last year in April and no issues till now. You can download an app called "gfxcardstatus" which monitors the GPU used. When you uncheck the "Automatic Graphics Switching" in the System Preferences, the OS uses the AMD GPU and you see the glitches.


  • gfxCardStatus proved a 'lifesaver' for my Macbook Pro 17 late 2011 with AMD GPU. It has a defect which is likely a graphic MUX chip solder issue (green artifacts on LCD in dark areas when Discrete graphics mode is active, but perfectly OK on an external monitor). This utility allows conveniently selecting an "Integrated only" mode which enables Intel graphics on the LCD (perfectly ok LCD display in that mode in my case) at the expense of not being able to use an external monitor. But the tool helps me to run the laptop standalone avoiding the defect. Apr 24, 2018 at 9:25

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