Mid 2010 Model A1278 / 2.4 or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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dark screen, can see apple logo but nothing else happens


I now dealing with an issue with my MBP mid 2010.

Press start button and computer starts up (including boot chime), but screen stays gray. If i shine flashlight on screen i can see apple logo, spinning cursor and loading bar. The bar does not load but remains on screen for 3-5 minutes then vanishes but spinning cursor and logo remains indefinitely and no sign in screen

I have tried all different key press combinations to reset SMC, PRAM, NVRAM, Safe Mode, Single Mode but nothing changes the above sequence.

I thought maybe keyboard was bad, but the led on caps lock does glow when pressed so i assume keyboard is working.

Disconnected HD cable and computer booted up to flashing folder/question mark

Disconnected keyboard cable and computer would not boot.

Is this a hardware/software issue? or is there anything else i can try to get not only the screen to light up but also boot into the sign in screen.

Thank you.

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@walkeryoung - Sounds like you have a bad drive and/or SATA cable here.

Do you have access to a second Mac which you can connect your system to using Target Disk Mode. Here's a bit more on how to set it up: macOS Sierra: Transfer files between two computers using target disk mode. In this case we want to use the other Mac's copy of Disk Utility to check your system. If you can get your system in to Target Mode. If you can see the Icon floating on your screen we know the system is OK and only the drive or SATA cable needs repairs. If you can see and access the system using Disk Utility thats also a good sign.

Here is the guide you'll need to follow to replace the cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Hard Drive Cable Replacement and here is the part you want to use: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable this is the newer version of the cable which will also work in your system. After you replace it you will likely need to reformat your drive and its possible the drive may not be recoverable. At which point you'll need to get a new drive.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


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@dan i have a MacAir 2013 with a thunderbolt port but no Firewire. My Pro has Firewire but no thunderbolt so an adapter is required unless this is possible with USB.

As stated prior, the screen remains gray (not black).. i can read text but only with flashlight. Also keyboard backlight is off.

Since the drive cables are cheap, i will replace that first and report back. Meanwhile if there is anything else to try please chime in.

Thank you in advance.


Grey is good! That means the backlight is lit. Still a grey screen is not good either ;-{ If you review the IFIXIT Q's you'll see a lot of 13" non-retina systems with bad drive cables and in some the drives have been damaged as well. Which is why we need to start there.

If you are able to get your system into Target Disk Mode and get a clean image of the FireWire or Thunderbolt symbol (in the case of your Air to compare it to) then that supports the issue is within the drive subsystem.

As to connecting your two systems: Yes! It can be done with a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter & FireWire cable. Remember when you put the system into Target Mode your other system see's it as a plain Jane external HD.

- {https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD464...|Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter]

Sorry, reversing the setup won't allow you to see the Air's drive. New system can see old, Old system can't see new via the interconnection.



I'm not sure if you read my prior post, but the Pro does go into target mode (Command T) at startup with the thunderbolt symbol moving around the screen. The only way to see it however if with flashlight. BTW, MBP in Target Disk Mode displays a thunderbolt image but does not have a thunderbolt port.

I'm a bit confused about this part of your post:

"Sorry, reversing the setup won't allow you to see the Air's drive. New system can see old, Old system can't see new via the interconnection"


mmm... So you needed to use a flashlight to see Target Mode yet the display is grey, thats not good ;-{

What happened with this system did you get it wet? Liquid damage or give the system a bang or sit something heavy on the lid? It's starting to sound like you have a logic board failure here.

To answer your other Q's:

Depending on the your systems Firmware level you could see the FireWire symbol.

Using the Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter has a limitation here

- A Thunderbolt based system can see a FireWire drive or a Mac in Target Mode connected via Firewire - New can see old

- A FireWire based system can't see a Thunderbolt drive or a Thunderbolt based Mac in Target Mode - Old can't see new



you are spot on. A few weeks ago my daughter spilled water on keyboard and did not tell us until a week later. I found triggered Keyboard sensors and replaced the keyboard assembly (handrest). The screen never lights up, i hear chime and see apple logo, spinning wheel and loading bar (never loads). and will stay this way no matter how long i leave it on. Moisture sensors on logic board are not triggered, but i went ahead and cleaned both sides with alcohol but still no love.

Do you check/repair these?


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If you can see the apple logo that means that your back light is bad so if you replace your back light your MacBook will be back to new.

If you have any questions or concerns please comment below!

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Thanks for the suggestion. I do however have a follow up. Would a bad back light prevent the computer from booting up to the sign in screen? This computer will not boot beyond the Apple logo/ spinning wheel.



I have had MacBooks that will not boot from it so they typically won't if the back light is bad. But if not your back light is bad for sure.


The backlight and the boot issue are most likely unrelated. Also, replacing the LCD panel will not necessarily solve the issue if the backlight problem is in the logic board, which is likely. Have you tried starting the laptop up from an external USB drive?


Is the source for the LCD back light the same as that of the keyboard? The reason for asking is because the keyboard does not light up either which could mean the issue is on the logic board. At this point i don't know what to do (replace LCD or motherboard).

Feel free to share your thoughts


If it was me I would replace the lcd and just hope it is throwing a error code that is just a simple fix.


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