My graphics card has malfunctioned and is preventing my MacBook Pro (2011) from booting.

Based on my research I will have to otherwise have the logic board replaced.

The defective ATI graphics card is preventing my MacBook Pro from booting because it gets stuck on a gray screen sometimes even when using the recovery CD.

  • Hi, did you find any solution to disable the GC via comand line? (exept using gfx because I can't boot...) Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 10:06
  • @Samoth try Ivan's Solution below, but the real fix is to either replace the logic board or to do a solder reflow (which may void your warranty and they may even refuse to fix it even after the warranty has ended). If you do, ensure you use arctic silver heat compound.
    – frazras
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 17:06
  • Related: GPU problem - Boot Hangs on Grey Screen Commented May 4, 2019 at 17:40

13 Answers 13


You may already know this, but there is an apple repair extension for these kind of issues now. They'll fix it for free.



I have had this same problem with this same card. I know that it won't boot when I see horizontal blue bars through the Apple logo at the login screen, it goes to white-screen after that and the fans rev up.

I've found the most reliable way to boot up is to let it advance to the white/grey screen after the Apple logo, then I close the lid and wrap it in a blanket or put it in my laptop sleeve. It will overheat and automatically shut down. Almost every time it will start up in that state.

It used to be tense but after 9 months of this it's pretty standard.

  • So after over heating, it starts back up? Does it skip the white screen?
    – frazras
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 17:48
  • @frazras, after overheating it starts. I turn it on and get grey screen and fans' noize. Put it on the sofa to overheat, after 2 - 10 restarts it loads OS. I can switch to integrated GPU with gfxCardStatus. After that it can work for several days without putting to sleep and restarting.
    – Dmitriy
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 19:29
  • Based on Darth's answer it seems the trick here is to shutdown in an unpowered state so the intel card becomes default.
    – frazras
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 15:06
  • @ivan-c-brugere This worked for me on my MacBook Pro 17" (early 2011), thank you!
    – David Holm
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 18:29

If anyone is still looking for ways to do this, please check out this MacRumors forum post.

I followed the steps and my 15" MacBook Pro 2011 (with a failed discrete AMD graphic card) is working perfectly using only its Integrated Graphic.




The line between repairing a circuit with a bad card that is drawing down voltage, or killing a communications bus or overheating and just surgically disabling the component that is soldered to the whole is non-existant.

You'll need to swap the board or start destroying things and hope that you guess well and don't do more damage than good when you are disconnecting traces on the logic board.

If you had specific diagnostic information as to the precise failure, then perhaps there would be something to do, but as written, there's no cause for hope that you can extend the life of this computer.


It seems that I have found more reliable or permanent software solution allowing to permanently disable discrete GPU and use mbp (mine is Mbp 8.3 17i early 2011) with broken discrete GPU (failing to boot) than gfxCardStatus 1.8-2.2.1, namely https://github.com/0xbb/gpu-switch . Please note that only source code is there so Xcode is requred to compile the binary. The application runs from terminal, reportedly uses the same code as gfxCardStatus but writes the setting into NVRAM(PRAM) so machine remains switched to internal GPU on next boot(s)/wake(s). This saved me from frequent overheat shutdowns under blanket just to load the os (after overheat shutdown the system forcibly uses igpu but this state changes back after couple of boots so it becomes necessary to overheat again). After about a week of gpu-switch testing, however, I have to conclude that this solution has its drawbacks too: it works fine after shutdown (including abnormal or forced one), sleep, hibernation, but it does not prevent mbp from switching to dgpu on running graphic demanding apps such as googlemaps in browser. gfxCardStatus (integrated only mode) is better in this respect so I use both and now I can say that the machine is very stable and reliable after all. Hope this helps) Andrei


My early 2011 17" starting exhibiting grapics errors yesterday. Today it would not boot. Boot fails when the screen exhibits vertical bars instead of gray background when the apple logo first appears. The apple logo disappears and only gray remains. Then the fans crank up.

I can get back to a successful boot with the integrated graphics. Here is how:

  1. Let system complete its failed bootup complete with whirring fans.
  2. Go through boot login procedure blind
  3. Wait appropriate time for login to complete.
  4. Remove power adapter (this steps seems to force computer to default to integrated graphics)
  5. Hold down power button for five seconds to force power off.
  6. Press power button and reboot normally on integrated graphics.

Once running, I use gfxCardStatus to set Integrated Only graphics. Of course, my external monitor can not be used.

  • What if you have autologin(no password)? Should you skip steps 2&3.
    – frazras
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 15:06

I am putting this out there, since it worked for me. Apple refuses to warranty this machine, since I changed the battery/hard drive on the machine as a user replaceable part.

So If you have a video card issue, no need to put it in foil/oven/hot air gun or blankets to heat it up. I have a simpler solution!

Open up back cover and disconnect the 2 fans. Put the lid back, then turn it on and let it get to the bad video screen. Leave it on for a good 7-10 min and let it get hot. This will automatically solder reflow the chip without pulling it all apart and doing oven techniques.

I did a hair dryer reflow once and it worked, so I wondered why not let it heat up on its own without fans, the heat stays in and it has the same affect. This procedure makes it work for about 1 month. Then you need to do this again. Disconnecting fans is easy and can be done repeatedly. I don't even screw in my back cover anymore!


I faced the same problem with my late 2011 MacBook Pro 15". After checking several possibilities (bad RAM, firmware, corrupt OS, etc) I ended up concluding that I have a malfunctioning discrete video card (AMD Radeon HD 6750M). The integrated card (Intel HD Graphics 3000) seems to be okay. After the boot process is concluded, it is possible to force the use of the integrated card using the software gfxCardStatus (http://gfx.io/). However, I could not find a way to force the use of the integrated video card during the boot process. I managed to find that the boot process can be finished after leaving the blank screen on for about 15 or even 30 minutes, powering the computer off, and turning it on again. I am still learning about the problem... Anyway, it seems to be possible to replace the discrete video card without replacing the logic board. Good luck, Hani

  • 2
    Is it possible to remove the discrete video card at all? I want it to work using integrated only.
    – Dmitriy
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 7:19

Its been about seven months since my card went bad. Since then I have done 3 solder reflows using a hot air gun. Those fixes last for about a month. What I really end up doing is pray it actually progresses past the bootscreen, which it sometimes does after 30 restarts. I then run gfxCardStatus (http://gfx.io/) then ensure not to restart. I had 45days uptime recently until a usb short forced me to reboot. It failed, I turned it off for about six hours, tried again and it booted. I have been up 13days since running on the internal intel card.


Do not do a solder reflow if you plan to get the logic board replaced at an apple store. They wont want to accept a modified system, and TEKSERVE in New York was charging me over $1000 for the logic board which is more expensive than a second hand MBP on Ebay.

  • 7 reflows latr and still going :-) :-(
    – frazras
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 17:49
  • so how is your macbook going? Do you remove logic board to do solder reflow with heat gun? And how do you do it?
    – Dmitriy
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 19:30
  • 1
    I am on the fifth month of my last solder reflow, I used Artic Silver heat compound this time and it did wonders, it even stood up to mining crypto currencies :-) I have to completely remove my logic board and wrap it in aluminum foil (except for the graphics chip). I then apply heat from a hot air gun (bought on amazon) for about 5 mins or more. Use the arctic silver to reconnect the heat sinks then you are good to go
    – frazras
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 15:01
  • So you must have also bought a set of screwdrivers for macbook pro? I've looked at tutorials about removing the logic board, it's looks pretty complex and time consuming. What temperature is your heat gun outputting?
    – Dmitriy
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 19:05
  • Yes I bought the t5, t6 and mini phillips screwdrivers, after 6 months I had to reflow again(6th time) and this time it took 1 hour and 15 minutes from shutdown to restart. The actual reflow process took 5 minutes. cleaning off the old heat compound took the longest :-P My heatgun (which I bought so I wouldn't spend $1000 on a logic board) goes from 100 to 380ºC I do : 1 minute 100C, 1 minute 200C, 30s 300C, 30s 380C, then cool @ 30s 300C, 30s 200C and 1minute back at 100ºC I made it up but I read somewhere that that kinda how its done at the factory, progressive heating and cooling, GOODLUCK!
    – frazras
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 18:04

I had similar non bootable problem with a MBP 17 inch (early 2011). Saw all the online action, the lawsuits etc… Hopefully apple will do a recall as it was bought by me for graphic intense tasks like video editing.

I followed these steps and got a workable fix:

  1. If you boot and get vertical stripes > apple logo > white grey screen, let it run hot as the fans kick in block the keyboard from venting airflow or wrap the mbp closed in a blanket.

  2. It gets pretty hot. I left it for about half an hour then switched it off by holding down the power button.

  3. I then I let it cool down completely, (in fact I put it outside on the balcony.)

  4. It then booted and seems fine so far. I even plugged it into a cinema display and played HD on youtube. It got heated up a bit but no GPU issue so far.

  5. Previously I had tried GFXbench to test it, and it went straight back to no vertical lines at boot.

  6. If your MBP doesn't get to white screen before shutting down while attempting to boot, hold down the option key and boot into recovery disk. That got me the white screen and high fan noise.

Hope this helps, Matt

  • Wow it seems we got all got bad apples... appleinsider.com/articles/14/10/28/… The method you suggested only worked temporarily for me. I had to do the hardcore solder reflow to get long term results. However after 2 years of self fixing, I bought a new one, the old one is still working from its last solder reflow (#9 or #10) but will shutdown if I don't have a fan constantly on it. The battery also failed and I had to buy a 3rd party one so that was too much stress to deal with.
    – frazras
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 18:52

I found out, and this is completely unlogical of course, that if I get the blank screen at restart, after I insert an install CD or another bootable volume, and hold down option, my Mac will start normally afterwards. Of course, this won't help in the long run, but this almost always fix the issue for a little while.


old thread but i had the same problem.

macbook pro late 2011 - amd gpu working fine, but the intel igpu is not working.

booting to rescue mode and delete the intel gpu / switching kext worked for me . the amd gpu consumes much more power and the cooler is running because of the higher temperatures.

p.s. in mavericks i had no luck to delete the intel kext's, yosemite worked fine after the 1. try .

maybe it will help someone :)

  • Sounds interesting, i no longer have the 2011 macbook, but even getting into rescue mode was an issue for me since this would happen at boot time.
    – frazras
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 17:34

For thoses who can't access their MBP software (either OSX or Recovery Mode), a simple solution can be made by flipping over the macbook pro while the MBP is turned on (do it like screen is upside down and keyboard is facing a hard surface or your desk). This heats up the defective gpu and it gets reflowed all by itself. Let it cool down first before use the laptop. Several hours will do the job. In my case I found my MPB shut down and cool.

Then you can install a program called GFXCardStatus 2.1 (only v.2.1 works for this case) and disable the defective GPU. For a guide about the program read this link

For me this worked and if any problem appears in the future, I will update the answer accordingly.

I personally thank the user mightymacman, the user from the forums I link to who pointed this out.

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