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Built-in screen not visible!

Hi all,

My Macbook air's screen remains black (so does the backlight and rear Apple logo) and remains not visible in the Displays System Preference.

An external screen works perfectly with the Mac, but it remains the only device visible.

I've reseted the NVRAM, SMC, reinstalled the system, nothing changes, the main screen remains desperately black.

An Apple Hardware testing (with my external display) indicates that nothing is wrong.

That surprises me as it should at least report that the internal display is not available...

I think that I've investigated all the software potential issues and now believe that I should open it to see if something is unplugged inside?

Any other suggestion from you experts?


Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Hi Dan, all,

Again thanks for you help.

I easily opened the macbook air, and followed the procedure. Nothing looks wrong, the cable looks normal, I don't see any particular trace of oxydation, everything was apparently properly plugged. I don't think the picture attached can help... nevertheless, just in case...

Shaking the cables and plugs did not help so far... does it mean that the dramatic scenario is the likely to have happened (display failure?). Any other suggestion?



by the way, where is plugged the power supply for the display ? might be the cause?

I don't think it is on the small connector close to the top left corner (step 19)



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You'll need a flashlight to shine though the back side of the lid (Apple Logo) are you able to see the faint images of your icon's on your desktop? If you do then only the backlight is gone which also explains why the diagnostics didn't see it as a fault.

You'll need to test the logic board, do you have the needed tools and skill's?

Update (05/01/2017)

@pierrickp - OK, no need to go further.

You've isolated the fault down to the displays ribbon cable and/or the logic board connector as the most likely fault.

Follow this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Air 11" Mid 2012 Display Assembly Replacement. Start off doing the first three steps (1 - 3), then jump down to Step19. Inspect the internal displays connection do you see any corrosion or is the connection not fully secured? Disconnect and carefully lift the cable does the cable look damaged in any way?

If you see something take a picture so we can see and post it in a fresh answer.

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Thanks Dan for your reply.

As I wrote, the display is not selectable in the System Preferences: I only see the output screen as available for display. Thus I think is not driven by the graphics card.

The flashlight through the back side does not show anything (apart the mirrored logo ;o) )

I should be able to do some electronic testing with appropriate guidance...

Thanks again


thanks I will manage to start with the beginning of the replacement procedure, and let you know what I found out.

Though one thing that surprises with is the the AHT doesn't tell anything on this hardware matter....


Diagnostic software can only go so far...

It will see major failings but when you start looking into input & output devices it gets tricky! No all of them have a means to diagnostically communicate.

Think of it this way how would you test a light switch running software or physically taking a Volt/Ohm meter to test the circuit?

I like the terms inner-world and outer-world when talking about digital devices. Software diagnostics can only test inner-world functions, it can't test outer-world interfaces. Or, output only devices like displays.


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Pierrick will be eternally grateful.
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