The display on my 2012 Macbook Pro Retina (10,1 with 2.6 GHz i7) suddenly stopped working. It still turns on (startup sound, keyboard backlight) and I was able to enable remote access for diagnostics and double-checking that all files are recovered. I'm fully prepared for the machine to be toast, but if I could continue to use it in some capacity that would be nice. Perhaps the integrated graphics are still working and need to be switched on somehow. I have tried a full set of resets, including bringing it into an Apple store. (They could only do resets at the Apple store, as they wouldn't open it due to its age. It takes a while to turn on, so it wasn't clearly on for their diagnostics.)

It looks like the discrete GPU (GT 650M) is the problem, because it is no longer even showing up the output of system_profiler:


    Intel HD Graphics 4000:

      Chipset Model: Intel HD Graphics 4000
      Type: GPU
      Bus: Built-In
      VRAM (Dynamic, Max): 1536 MB
      Vendor: Intel
      Device ID: 0x0166
      Revision ID: 0x0009
      Automatic Graphics Switching: Supported
      gMux Version: 3.2.19 [3.2.8]
      Metal: Supported, feature set macOS GPUFamily1 v4


It looks like there are some similar issues (How to disable discrete graphics card and use only integrated graphics MacBook Pro Early 2011?, MacBook Pro: How to disable discrete GPU permanently from EFI?), but none of those mention the display itself not working. In an attempt to switch (at least temporarily) to the integrated GPU, I tried:

sudo pmset -a gpuswitch 0

based on 2015 MBP - how to force integrated graphics?, but that did not work. Generally, I'm looking for advice or next steps. Specifically:

  1. How can I determine what has happened to the dGPU, and whether there are any other problems? I cannot see the screen (obviously), but I can SSH in and see the output of system_profiler.

  2. If the dGPU is toast, why aren't the integrated graphics working? I tried plugging an external display into the HDMI port to no avail, would a thunderbolt display be tied to the integraded graphics?

  3. Are there any logs I can look at to see on (say) startup what's going on? If there are any onscreen error messages, I can't see them.

I'm happy to perform whatever diagnostics I can and report on them here.

  • 1
    You say you took it to an Apple Store? What did they say? I'm surprised they dealt with a 10-year-old Mac. Realistically, this is a hardware problem that needs physical inspection and testing of the Mac.
    – benwiggy
    Mar 6 at 9:31
  • @benwiggy I should have clarified - they only did some resets, the same ones I performed ahead of time. They wouldn't take it apart given it's age (which is understandable) and it wasn't clearly on and they couldn't do other diagnostics. You say it needs physical inspection?
    – Ross
    Mar 6 at 15:39
  • I'm saying there's a limit to what software can tell you about hardware failures, and that hardware problems usually need hands-on inspection. The 'takes a while to turn on' doesn't sound promising.
    – benwiggy
    Mar 6 at 15:58
  • @benwiggy it’s old and had been restarted by holding down the power button, so I think it was taking extra time to load, maybe 3-4 minutes to login screen.
    – Ross
    Mar 6 at 16:12
  • If you can access the Mac remotely but the screen never comes on, have you tried an external monitor? It could be just the display that has gone bad. Mar 6 at 20:54


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