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I have a early 2015 macbook pro with a Retina display. I'm at about 950 charge cycles, and have had the "service battery" indicatory since last summer.

I noticed that occasionally my screen does this flickering thing. It happens maybe a few times a day. Each time it "flickers" is usually just a single off/on cycle. Could this be associated with the battery? Or could be having some other hardware component issues?

I've reset my SMC a few times since last summer, but it didn't solve the flickering.

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  • Is this the backlight or the image as well?
    – mspasov
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:47
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You have two distinct problems:

  • Battery Issue.

    You've already diagnosed it - 950 cycles and the service battery indicator pretty much says it all. From 2013 on, you'll have to replace the top case because Apple glues them in, but the battery can be replaced quite inexpensively.

  • Display Issue.

    The flickering can be caused by a number of things like a logic board issue, a faulty connector, a bad LCD, etc. I would try running Apple Diagnostics by holding D while booting from a powered off state to see if you can get a diagnostic code however, chances are you're going to have to take/send it in for service.

A battery, generally, will not cause issues like this because it doesn't dump "raw" power directly from the battery to the logic board. It actually goes through some circuitry to "level" everything off and split it out into the correct voltages the system needs (12V, 5V, 3V, etc). If the battery was causing the problem, you'd see it everywhere on your Mac, not in just one place.

That said, to diagnose properly, you would disconnect the battery completely from the logic board and see if the problem exists on power only. If it shows up, you've got your answer.

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  • Ah I see. I've been debating whether to purchase a new macbook ($2000+ probably) or replace the battery in my current one (about $200 I think?). My current macbook is sufficient for my needs, but if there's additional issues besides the battery, then I may just purchase a new macbook instead of fixing any part of my current one. (the issues you mentioned that may cause the flickering sound like expensive fixes)
    – anonuser01
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:39
  • If it requires a logic board rework, yes. If it's a bad cable, not really. It all depends on the fix.
    – Allan
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:42
  • Is it free for Apple to determine what issue it is? Also, I just ran the diagnostic and the only issue that showed up is the battery issue.
    – anonuser01
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:43
  • It's free, but I wouldn't say comprehensive. The odds are, they'll tell you that you need a new logic board and a new display because it cover all possibilities of the cause of the problem.
    – Allan
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:48

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