fixed : MacBook’s external monitor screen stays black

Question :

In my office, I am using an external monitor as my main screen for my MacBook Pro. Today, the screen didn’t respond when I connected my MacBook however : the screen stays black and nothing appears on-screen. So I opened up my MacBook and used the built-in screen to figure out what’s wrong, but so far I haven’t found any indication in the Displays Preference Panel that my MacBook even detects the second screen…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

In such situations you should always do this first :

Remedy #1 :

  • make sure your monitor is switched ON
  • then hit the SPACE-bar on your external keyboard several times (maybe once, usually about 5 to 10 times…)
  • the monitor should now appear and show the inlog panel to unlock your screensaver
  • then login

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #2

NOTE : if you have a Benq monitor (especially the BL2420TP), try this first :

fixed : Benq monitor stays black when MacBook is switched on

Remedy #2 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect all cables and double-check if they’re properly connected on both the Mac and the monitor
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #3

Remedy #3 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is no “Gather Windows” button, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears ; click on it when it appears

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #4

Remedy #4 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • select the Display Preference window that has 3 tabs on it marked “Display”, “Arrangement” and “Color” (not the window that has “Display” and “Color” only)
  • first, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears where the “Gather Windows”-button used to be ; click on it when it appears
  • if your monitor switches on, you’re good, if not…
  • click on the “Arrangement”-tab and in the next window put a checkmark at “Mirror Display”
  • if your monitor switches on now, uncheck the “Mirror Display” option again and close your MacBook… you should be good now…

if this didn’t work, try Remedy #5

Remedy #5 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect your Mac to your monitor using a different type of cable then you normally would choose (e.g. if you normally use a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt-cable, use an HDMI or DVI cable now)
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor
  • if your monitor wakes from sleep now, open Apple –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • now, remove the monitor-cable that you have just used to connect your MacBook to your monitor
  • then, reconnect your MacBook to your monitor using all cables you normally use to connect the two
  • if your monitor now wakes from sleep, you’re good
  • if it doesn’t, restart your monitor
  • it that doesn’t help, restart your Mac

normally your issue should be resolved by now…

if still the monitor stays showing a back screen, I’m sorry to inform you that your screen probably has a hardware problem… if so, get an authorized Mac-repair-centre to fix it, get the Apple Store support-crew to fix this…

that’s it !

enjoy 😉

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7 thoughts on “fixed : MacBook’s external monitor screen stays black

  1. Pingback: fixed : Benq monitor stays black when MacBook is switched on | MacManus.nl

    • @Michelle :

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Sorry to hear this hasn’t worked for you.
      As mentioned in the original post : if all this won’t help, you probably have a hardware problem, that you have to take to an Apple repair service to get it fixed…
      sorry…

      Good Luck 😉

  2. Have to agree with Michelle, just unplugging and restarting things isn’t great advice. I have the same issue and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the monitor. I can hook up other computers to it, so that’s not the issue. There are enough reports out there that there is clearly a bug in the thunderbolt 2 to digital display output that can creep up on people. I’ve tried different adapters and monitors, nothing works. The thunderbolt ports work enough that I ethernet and vga work…super frustrating

    • @Brandon :

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Sorry to hear this doesn’t work for you.
      Which MacBook do you have ?
      Could it be you have a MacBook that has gotten rather hot when this problem occurs ? Maybe you even have a rather old MacBook that has a swollen battery that is pressing onto internal components (like the touchpad) so severely that they start malfunctioning ?
      You might be right it’s a software problem, but I think it’s an indication of a hardware failure somewhere inside either your MacBook, your monitor or your cable…

      Good Luck 😉

  3. I have the same issue and I know the screen is not at fault. Mac details:

    MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
    3.1 GHz Intel Core i7
    16 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
    Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB

    The comp is not starting up in Safe Mode which may be related. I would appreciate any help.

    • @W :

      Thanks for your feedback !
      Sorry to hear you still have additional problems.

      If your Mac refuses to restart in Safe Mode, try resetting the SMC first.
      If that doesn’t work, try resetting the PRAM/NVRAM.
      I’ve outlined how to do both in these post (scroll down to the bottom of the post) :
      spinning beachball problem
      trackpad problem

      If that still doesn’t work, you probably have a hardware problem.
      In that case, start out by cleaning the connectors and ports (with a hair-pin, and maybe a tiny bit of alcohol-based detergent).
      If that doesn’t work, try replacing the connector-cable with a new or a spare one.
      And if that still doesn’t work… take your Mac to an Apple-certified repair centre (or an Apple Store)…

      Hope this helps.

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