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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Apr 08, 2010
    My MacBook Display Died
    My display backlight has been on its way out for a while now. It turns off when the display is opened at a certain angle (but rarely is it ever the same angle) yet turns back on with some fiddling. It does this for a couple months, returns to normal operation for a bit, then relapses into its finicky nature.

    Today my display was, for the most part, being good. I put my MacBook to sleep, closed the display, and carried it in its case a good 200 yards before I reached the next building I needed to be in. When I popped open the failed to turn on.

    No amount of fiddling will help it. It makes the right sounds, the fans are working, the drive makes a noise on startup, and I can see the display. I managed to move the files I was working on to a flash drive by tilting the display so I could barely see what I was doing, but nothing I can do will relight my display.

    I've had the thing since July 2007 and I love it dearly. I'm thinking this can't be a complicated fix and feel confident taking apart the computer if it's a simple fix.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

    (And to rule out the possibility that I'm a hopeless external displays are plugged in, the brightness setting is as high as it can go, and I've tried the Apple Support recommendation to remove AC power and battery, press the power button for 5 seconds, restore battery and AC power, then power the MacBook back up.)

  2. #2

    Avenger2SER's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 25, 2005
    Macbook Air 11" (2012), Macbook Pro 15" (Early 2008), Mac Mini i5 (2012)
    Sounds like a loose video connection on the logic board. If you dare take it apart this what I would check. Go to for step by step instructions or take it into an Apple tech.
    Macbook Air 11" 4gb, 128gb SSD (2012)
    Mac Mini i5 16gb, 128gb SSD, 1tb internal, 2x 1tb external (2012)
    MacBook Pro,4gb,128gb SSD (early 2008)
    iMac G3 600, iPad Mini Retina 64gb, iPhone 5, and more.

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Apr 08, 2010
    Nearest Apple Store is quite a drive away and I hear they charge a large fee for ANYTHING related to the display, regardless of the actual problem. Be that true or not, I'd prefer not to take it in unless it's serious.

    Now, what the heck is a spudger and do I really need one to tear the MacBook apart?

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Sep 09, 2009
    Down Under :D
    Back to my old 2.2GHz C2D MB after selling my MBP and wondering what my next Mac will be :)
    It is pretty much just a thin plastic tool for poking and moving things.
    I'm sure you can improvise!

    The one they would be referring to is that turquoise plastic tool on the right of the following diagram.

    Here's the wikipedia description for you Spudger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    You can pick up the set of tools (which you should have) at OWC or any electronics store for around $5 or just the spudgers for $1-$5 depending on the one you get.

  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 7+, Numerous iPods, High Sierra
    I don't believe it has anything to do with the video otherwise you would not have been able to see the very dim display at all. I believe you're correct about the backlight. It may be the backlight itself or the inverter which supplies power for the backlight. The inverter is much easier to replace but in my experience, is less likely to fail than the backlight.

    Replacing the backlight is a tedious and intricate job. It is much easier to replace the entire display rather than fool with the backlight. You can go to the ifixit web site and price out a new display plus get step by step instructions for replacing it yourself. While you're at it, you might take a look at how to replace the inverter.

    iFixit: Apple Mac, MacBook, iPod, and iPhone Repair Parts


  6. #6

    Member Since
    Apr 08, 2010
    So I've taken it apart and all connections to the logic board appear to be fine, including the video connection.

    Only problem is, I can't even get to the inverter because the screws on the hinges are WAY over tightened. I'm afraid of stripping the screws and so have stopped fiddling with them for now.

    Does anyone have suggestions for loosening them? I've tried wedging a razor blade under the head, and using a small dab of hydrogen peroxide to loosen it up but that was unsuccessful.

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Apr 08, 2010
    Okay. Problem.

    My screen used to have a faint image, and just the backlight wasn't working. Before replacing the inverter the screen went dead entirely, leading me to believe that it was, indeed, the inverter and not something else.

    I have just reassembled my MacBook and the screen now shows a faint image...but no backlight still!

    I took it apart one more time just to make sure everything had been put back correctly, and everything seems in order.

    Does this mean my backlight is what's dead?

    The thought of taking it all apart again to replace the display (like **** am I going to replace the backlight) makes me want to cry.

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