A clip of what exactly is happening: https://drive.google.com/open?id=19FSU3wFnCi9QjXQRO4UrTT-KxuooOYLu

I've tried all the tips here: https://ugetfix.com/ask/how-to-fix-mac-booting-to-black-screen-error/ including SMC reset, PRAM reset, etc.

An important note is that the computer itself is on - i.e. I can type the password and go on terminal, play music successfully, etc. but the display stays off (not completely off, it's slightly lighter than when the computer is completely off).

Edit: Huh. After a few days, the problem completely disappeared randomly. I ran the Apple Hardware Test and no problems showed now. Very weird, but at least I'm glad the problem is resolved. Thank you for your help.

  • That's not booting to black screen! You obviously booted to a login in screen. However, it's impossible to tell what you're doing with the power button - how long are you pressing it for? You keep your finger over it for a period of time.. are you pressing it? It might help if you said what you're doing on the video. Also, there's "artifacts" at the bottom of the screen indicating that there may be a HW issue at play here. Try booting in Safe Mode (Hold Shift while booting)
    – Allan
    Apr 15, 2020 at 22:23
  • This could potentially be the backlight. What model year MBP do you have? Does it have the opaque logo on the lid? If so, get a flashlight and shine it through the logo. Can you see the screen better?
    – Allan
    Apr 15, 2020 at 22:27
  • It is 2017 I think. I've tried to shine a flashlight through the logo; don't see anything though. The good thing actually is that each time I open up, it takes a longer and longer period of time before it goes to black screen. Apr 17, 2020 at 15:13
  • The 2017's don't have the backlit logo and the 2016 models suffer from flexgate, so we need to be sure. Next time you get into your Mac, click the Apple logo, and select About this Mac. make note of the model and version of OS
    – Allan
    Apr 17, 2020 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


The video is not very clear to understanding the issue. It seemed like you clicked on the “Ansel Admin” username and it blanked out. Then you clicked the power button and it came back to login screen. Also, it will help if you describe what you are doing and the problem (in the video as a voiceover :).

Here’s what you can try.

  • If you have a monitor available, check if you can see the display after logging in.

There are two ways I found to increase screen brightness (as you mentioned that it was not fully blacked out). (Links to original articles below).

Method 1: Using osascript, key code 144 (brighter), 145 (dimmer)

$ osascript -e 'tell application "System Events"' -e 'key code 144' -e ' end tell'
$ osascript -e 'tell application "System Events"' -e 'key code 145' -e ' end tell'

Method 2: Using Homebrew - https://brew.sh

If you have homebrew installed, you can install brightness to control.

$ brew install brightness
$ brightness 1
$ brightness 0.5

I have tested the osascript commands on Catalina 10.15.4. You will need to give the terminal accessibility permissions.

If these don’t work, try booting in Safe Mode. If it resolves the issue, it may be some startup item that could be causing this. Hold down the Shift key when powering up and you hear the startup chime to enter Safe Mode.


How can I dim the screen from Terminal?

How to Adjust Screen Brightness from Terminal in macOS https://www.maketecheasier.com/adjust-screen-brightness-from-terminal-macos/

  • Why would the OP need to do this? Are the screen dimming buttons not functional?
    – Allan
    Apr 15, 2020 at 22:24
  • @Harsha Ramakrishna Thanks for the help! I will try this tomorrow morning, but would like to clarify something I may have mis-stated. It's not the screen brightness that is the problem, but rather the screen essentially shuts off after a few seconds. Apr 16, 2020 at 4:34
  • @Allan, you are right. Didn't think of that, actually. Apr 17, 2020 at 5:37
  • @Ansel, does the screen stay on if you did not do anything - no login, no mouse/keyboard usage? Apr 17, 2020 at 5:39
  • No, as far as I can tell, the screen shutting off does not relate to keyboard or mouse input. Apr 18, 2020 at 3:10

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