The Apple 24 inch LED Cinema display and the Apple thunderbolt display have been a source of frustration for many people. They flickers, go black, the screens gets garbage on them, the fans turn on and off. After reading lots of forums and trying various things I have practically completely eliminated all the flickering on my 24 inch LED Cinema display, here is how.
I am running a Mac Mini and one of these Apple LED cinema displays:
It’s had a problem with flickering ever since I first got it back in 2009. It started off that once a day or so it just went black for five seconds. At other times the screen is completely filled with gobbledygook until I sleep the display and restart it. At other times the screen just flickers black for a fraction of a second, but all the fans in the screen power down and then power up again. Apple have released various ‘fixes’ to the problem over the years which have never fully resolved the problem. Phone calls to Apple support were of no use after the first year because they just claimed it was a hardware problem and ‘out of warranty.’ The flickering got extremely bad recently with ‘El Capitan’ and the flickering also got worse when I connected a Pegasus Thunderbolt hard drive.
Other People’s Stories
It’s not just the Apple LED Cinema display that has been affected. Even Apple’s latest ‘stunning’ Thunderbolt Displays have problems too. The Apple help forums are riddled with complaints…
Apple have released various ‘fixes’ over the years which don’t seem to work:
What to do?
Firstly, don’t buy any kind of Apple thunderbolt display!
But if you already have one, here are a few things that might help.
- Run the display directly from your Mac Mini, do not daisy chain it with a hard drive such as the Pegasus Promise. Daisy chaining definitely caused more problems.
- Do not plug any USB devices into the USB ports on the LED display.
- Run your screen on full brightness, some people have reported that the problem is worse when the brightness is lower.
- Wrap your thunderbolt cable in aluminium foil to shield it. (I kid you not -this worked for me – see the pictures below).
- Try unplugging and plugging the thunderbolt connector or Apple display port connector, sometimes the problem can be worse if the connect is not in tightly.
- Reset your SMC (System Management Controller). ( Turn off your computer, un-plug the power cord, wait 15 seconds, plug it back in, wait five seconds, turn it on.)
- Reset the NVRAM. (Shutdown your mac, restart, hold down Apple-Option-P-R while it starts. release after the second chime)
- I have a 2009 LED Cinema Display, but if you have a newer thunderbolt display, try replacing the all in one cable with a thunderbolt cable. A lot of people have found out the problem was with the cable. You’re probably better off trying to borrow a thunderbolt cable or seeing if your local Apple store will lend you one because they are in excess of $50 each.
- Try using the shorter 0.5m thunderbolt cable. ( You can’t do this on the LED Cinema display because the cable is built in to the display).
- If you are having really bad problems, make a corner of your screen a hot corner to put your display to sleep. sometimes my computer is blinking so badly the screen goes crazy and I can’t see anything, I can’t even see the menus to ‘ restart’ the computer. But if I move my mouse to the ‘hot corner’ to sleep the display, and then wake the display up again sometimes the problem goes away.
Crazy as it sounds, wrapping my thunderbolt cable in aluminium foil was the biggest help of anything. I looped up the excess thunderbolt cable into a circle and put aluminium foil around it to shield it.
Here I have activated the bottom left hot corner so that it puts the display to sleep. When things get really bad I can put the display to sleep with my mouse without having to see what’s happening on the screen. Then I can wake it up again with my spacebar and more often than not the problem has fixed itself temporarily.
All the best and let me know if anything works!