I have a MacBook Pro with a screen that is not functioning (always black). I have tried the following:

Turn on normally: Touch Bar above keyboard shows escape key, brightness buttons, volume control, and nothing else.

Shift-Control-Option-Power: turns computer off; no change in status when it turns back on.

Reset PRAM using Command-Option-P-R: Also no effect. I'm not even sure I'm doing this correctly, because it says you're supposed to do it when there is a startup sound, and I am not hearing any startup sounds.

Try to startup in safe mode by holding shift: Touch Bar above keyboard shows only escape key.

Turn on normally and enter password: Touch Bar shows what it normally shows after logging in.

Plug smartphone into USB port on computer: Smartphone charges normally when computer is on.

Because of the last two items, I suspect that the rest of the computer is working correctly and it is only the screen that has failed. Ideally I would like to get the computer working again but even if that is not possible, there is data on there that I would like to get off. What should I do now? I'm wondering if connecting an external monitor might help. Or if there's some way to see what's happening on the computer, of access the hard drive, through an external device?

(As far as I know, nothing happened to the computer, such as a drop or spill, immediately between the last time it successfully turned on and when it started failing. But prior to the failures, I did notice a series of brighter-than-normal and darker-than-normal patches across the bottom of the display, creating a visual effect similar to a theater curtain.)

  • 1
    Have you tried an external monitor? Nov 13, 2020 at 15:53
  • How about connect another Mac, and boot the one with the bad screen into Target Disk Mode? Nov 14, 2020 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


You could either get the screen repaired or connect it to an external monitor.

Repairing it could cost a lot, but that would be the best solution as your Mac would be fully functional again. Take it to an apple store or call apple and they will know what to do.

If you are simply looking to get your data off of it or need a temporary solution, I would highly recommend connecting it to an external monitor. That would be the easiest way to see if the computer is fried, or if it's just the screen. Based on what you told me, it seems like your computer is fine just the screen is broken.

  • How about connect another Mac, and boot the one with the bad screen into Target Disk Mode? Nov 14, 2020 at 1:28
  • I was thinking of doing that, but since the computer seems like it is already functioning an external monitor seemed like a better idea. But that is totally something you can do. If you have another Mac this is a great idea!
    – Salocor
    Nov 14, 2020 at 4:21
  • I connected an external monitor and the monitor does display something, but it still seems frozen. I'll ask a new question if I'm still not able to figure out what is going on
    – Alex319
    Nov 17, 2020 at 1:06
  • What does it display?
    – Salocor
    Nov 17, 2020 at 1:12

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