A.J. Walker


The Black Screen of Partial Death

My MacBook Pro—a 13" 2020 M1—passed away a couple of weeks ago. That’s not to say it has completely passed away as a computer, but as a laptop it has. I noticed as I walked past the spare room where the laptop was that the screen was flickering away with all too dodgy lines and blocks of mess. Before too long with some movement of the laptop the screen was suffering from the all too common symptom: The Black Screen of Death. After too many attempts of ‘Zapping the PRAM’ and all the other associated potential treatments of the Black Screen (i.e in case it was a software issue) it became apparent that the issue was a hardware one. Looking at the .net it is really crazy—and wrong—that this is not an uncommon problem and the issue should have been addressed by design over previous iterations of the MacBook.

Anyway the computer itself is still working when plugged into an external display so I guess I may have simply lost a laptop but been left with a desktop. Glad I bought the external screen a while back or else I would not have even known the computer was still working. To replace the screen on the laptop as far as I can see is around 360 quid—and that would still have the same physical issue as the original one so could fail just as easily over the next year or two anyway. I’m not spending that kind of money with that fear—or likelihood—waiting in the wings.

As far as I can see the issue is a hardware issue purely affecting the screen and there is no reason to deal with it; if I’m happy to use it purely as a desktop. Hope I’ve surmised the correctly. At the end of the day, when I’m out and about, I tend to use an iPad with a portable keyboard rather than take the laptop out anyway. And I use Dropbox to sync with my computer when I’m back home, so I guess I can continue doing that and just use the Pro in my spare room/office if I need to print stuff out and get stuff up on the website etc. I dare say I could print from the iPad if I set that up correctly too, but I wouldn’t be able to update the website (and use various other Apps that only work on the MacBook).

I’m leaving the laptop in clamshell form so I don’t have to face the miserable screen at all, but from time to time I will have to open it up—if I need to use the camera for iMovie and YouTube etc or maybe to use the thumbprint ID. I think I can use the iPad as a second screen if it comes to it, but in the main I guess it’ll just be used in a straightforward desktop configuration.

In short, I am gutted about the Black Screen of Death and my love of Apple leaves me thoroughly disappointed with them (in them knowing about the problem but doing FA about sorting it), but at least it is only a Partial Death and not a Death Death.
blog comments powered by Disqus