Does your MacBook Pro have a black screen when you try and start it up, or while you are trying to use the device?

The black screen of death when you turn your Mac on can be caused by a loss of power if your charging cable has been damaged, or it is not supplying enough energy to power up your laptop.

Your MacBook’s disk permissions could be misconfigured, or faulty. A quick repair using ‘CleanMyMac’ will help your PC bring the disk permissions back to their original settings.

We have generated this simple directory that will help you understand why you might be witnessing a blank screen on your MacBook Pro, and provide you with 6 easy fixes so you can get back to listening to iTunes, and browsing YouTube on your HD display.

What is the cause of the black screen of death?

Macbook pro black screen

Why is my MacBook Pro black screen?

You will experience a black screen on your MacBook Pro because your MacBook’s ‘SMC’ Settings (Systems Management Controller) has malfunctioned, it will interfere with the computer’s display, fans, and temperature. This setting involves other processes on your MacBook Pro that will play a part in the blank screen appearing. Here are a few other reasons why you might be seeing the Black screen of death;

Reason 1. Software issue

Your MacBook Pro could be experiencing software issues that are causing your Mac to either have a black screen on startup or during the time that it is powered on.

Sometimes, if a Mac completes a firmware update, the upgrade of macOS software can include incompatibility issues with your laptop.

If the new firmware takes up more disk space than usual, this could also interfere with the screen displaying an image.

Reason 2. Power problem

You may experience the blank screen on your MacBook at the startup process if there is a power problem with your laptop.

This could be an issue with your charging cable, or your Mac is not receiving a full charge due to not enough power being transmitted.

If your adapters are damaged, this will interfere with how well your Mac charges and will result in no or little power.

Reason 3. Hardware issue

Have you recently dropped or knocked on your MacBook Pro?

There could be hardware damage to your PC which is why your screen is not working.

Reason 4. Contact error

Your Mac needs its firmware and hardware to work simultaneously together to operate optimally. If one or the other have been damaged, this will create issues with how well your Mac will operate.

If the contact between the two has become loose, or there is dirt between the two, this can also incur issues with the screen working.

Reason 5. SMC Settings

The SMC settings on your MacBook Pro is what controls certain settings. If this has been misconfigured, or there has been a system error, the black screen of death can occur with incorrect formatting on your laptop.

These settings include;

  • Temperature
  • Keyboard
  • Lights
  • Display
  • Fans

Reason 6. Disk permissions

Disk permissions are what allows folders, files and applications to have access to different settings on your MacBook Pro.

If these permissions are not enabled, or there are corrupted files in certain folders, issues with your screen can occur.

You may have overlooked your display’s brightness settings on your Mac. If this is set too low, your screen will appear to be black.

How do I fix black screen of death Mac?

macbook pro black screen

How do I troubleshoot the black screen of death?

One of the simplest ways to fix the MacBook Pro black screen issue is by completing a force restart. This can be done by simply holding down the power button for around ten seconds until it shutdowns completely, followed by switching it back on after waiting a moment.

Fix 1. Reset SMC Settings

Resetting the SMC settings is easy to do.

Before you proceed, if your MacBook Pro is currently plugged into power, shut your Mac down and unplug it for fifteen seconds.

Step 1. Plug your Mac in

Step 2. With your MacBook’s power in but still off, press ‘Shift’, ‘Option’, ‘Control’ and ‘Power’ button all at the same time

Step 3. As soon as your PC begins to turn on, let go of the buttons

Fix 2. Fix disk permissions

If your Mac’s permission files have been corrupted, or they are misconfigured, you will need to repair them so it does not interfere with your PC’s files, folders and apps.

First, download CleanMyMac onto your PC.

Step 1. Open ‘CleanMyMac’

Step 2. You should have the option to click on ‘Maintenance’

Step 3. Click on ‘Repair Disk Permissions’

Step 4. Select ‘Run’ that will appear at the bottom

Your disk permissions will now be reset, and any issues will be erased.

Fix 3. Force restart

Step 1. Press down on the ‘Power’ button for 10 seconds

Step 2. Once your MacBook is off, wait around 10 seconds

Step 3. Turn it back on

Wait for it to power back on check if the MacBook Pro black screen persists.

Fix 4. Reboot in safe mode

Step 1. Switch your MacBook off

Step 2. Leave your computer off for around 20 seconds

Step 3. Turn your PC back on and as it is switching on, hold down on the ‘Shift’ button

Step 4. Once the ‘Login’ page appears, let go of the button

Note, you may be required to log in a second time, which is normal. There should be ‘Safe Mode’ in the top right of your screen.

Fix 5. Unplug extras

If you have too many external devices plugged in, this can end up causing difficulty with your MacBook running smoothly.

Unplug all unnecessary devices out of your Mac and see if the grey screen still persists.

Fix 6. Reinstall macOS

Reinstalling your macOS does not remove data off of your PC if you complete it via macOS recovery on your PC.

We do advise that you still back up all your data before moving ahead. (Backup Pro is a decent app for this.)

Step 1. Access macOS recovery 

Step 2. Click on ‘Reinstall macOS’

Step 3. Select ‘Continue’

You will now be prompted to follow the on screen instructions to complete the reinstall.

There are a few tips when completing the reinstall on your MacBook Pro;

  • Your password you use to log into your Mac will be used if you get asked ‘unlock your disk’
  • If you get the option to install ‘Macintosh HD’ or ‘Macintosh HD – Data’ choose ‘Macintosh HD’
  • Don’t let your Mac go into sleep mode or close it during the reinstall phase
  • You might have to erase your disk if the installer advises it cannot see it


With this guide, we hope our 6 simple fixes were easy to follow, and that you were able to eradicate the MacBook Pro black screen issue.

If you still happen to experience a black screen of death on your Mac, there may be a more serious issue with your Mac, and you may need to send it in for diagnostics and a repair.

You can use this link to either start a chat with one of their support team members, schedule a call, or arrange to bring your Mac in for repairs to fix the blank dark screen.