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Late 2011 model, A1278 / 2.4 GHz i5 or 2.8 GHz i7 processor.

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MacBook doesn’t boot! I hear the chime but nothing on the screen!

When I switch my Mac on, I hear the chime and then there’s a dim background light on the screen and it stays that way, so basically the screen stays black! Nothing happens and it doesn’t show anything at ALL!! The only thing I can do is to press and hold the power button for a few sec to switch my Mac off! (*This whole issue happened quite suddenly after a restart!)

Things that I’ve already tried:

  1. Using all boot key-combinations —> Only SMC reset works which hasn’t resolved the issue! Literally nothing happens with the rest of the combinations!
  2. Unpluggin and replugging the display cable! —> Didn’t help!
  3. Using another display with the main display cable unplugged —-> Same dim background light on the secondary display!! Just like its own display! So —> The problem is definitely NOT the MBP’s display!
  4. Using a bootable storage instead of the hard drive! —-> didn’t work!


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When you did the SMC reset combo did anything appear?


No, nothing appeared! I just saw a chamge in color of the light on the charging port! Thats how I figured, based on the instructions, that the reset was done successfully!


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2 Answers

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Are you able to get into Target Disk Mode after doing a SMC reset?


If your system is able to get into Target Disk Mode with the FireWire and Thunderbolt icons on the screen your GPU has failed. At least you can get to your system via a second Mac to get your files,

Update (07/25/2019)

Well its time to throw in the towel! You need a new logic board. Here’s the iFixit guide MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Late 2011 Logic Board Replacement presently iFixit is out of stock so you’ll need to do a bit of hunting to get a replacement board. Here’s a listing of boards from TheBookYard in the UK that will work in your system

The 2012 boards have a slightly narrower LVDS connector, a little filing of the cable connectors tang is all that’s needed to make it work. Make sure you file equally on each side and it is ever so slight needed.

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It doesn’t show anything on the screen, even after SMC reset !!


OK lets give it the full monty! Disconnect the MagSafe charger and pull the battery connection internally, then press and hold the power button for a good minute this will fully reset SMC. Now plug back in the battery and the MagSafe charger. Now give the power button a try and hold the T key as well to get into Target Disk Mode.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Late 2011 Battery Replacement follow the guide to Step 4.


Held T after all that and nope! Nothing!! There’s absolutely nothing shown on the screen!


Did you ever see any screen anomalies? Any artifacts, and lines across the Apple logo on boot up?


I don’t even see the Apple logo. It’s just the chime and a black screen with a dim backlight and nothing else! Nothing appears on the screen and no anomalies, no lines, nothing!


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If it happened to be a mid 2012 a1398 MacBook Pro then it’s likely an issue with the u8900 chip that distributes power to the gpu and screen. It’s an issue I had “fixed” by apple with my laptop. The apple fix however did not hold as it was literally putting a little rubber square on top of the chip to hold it down against the board.


The problem is heat from the gpu delaminating (not sure if that is The word) but as a result of heat and low melt temp (non leaded) solder the pins come free of the pad, power does not get through and thus blank screen.


If you get the u8900 chip resoldered preferably with higher melt point solder it should work again. It is apparently quite common on the mid 2012 a1398 MacBook pros. See this link for more details

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