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MacBook Pro Flickering screen
#58576 04/28/21 03:22 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
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The screen on my 15" Retina mid-2015 MBP started flickering a couple of months ago. At the time I thought it might be related to a battery problem that I was having. Today, I got the battery replaced, but the screen flicker continues to be a problem. Checking the Apple discussion forum, I see that I'm not the only one with this problem. The usual answers are to reset the PRAM and the SMC. Other users have reported that this sometimes fixes the problem but it will return in a few days. I've done these resets, and the problem didn't go away at all. Another suggested fix is to uncheck the "Automatic graphics switching" option in the Energy Saver settings. However, this option doesn't appear in my OS version (Sierra 10.12). Has anyone else had this problem? And, did you find a fix?


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #58580 04/28/21 02:46 PM
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You are right, there is a lot about this on line. I did find two suggestions you did not mention: one suggestion was to uninstall Firefox and see if that fixed the problem. Another suggestion was to upgrade to a newer System. You are still at Sierra. Consider High Sierra or even Mojave. I have found the latter to be trouble-free on my even-older-than-yours MacBook Air.


On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.15.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Ira L #58583 04/28/21 07:17 PM
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Thanks. I guess I could try uninstalling Firefox, but I have a hard time understanding how it would cause the computer to flicker even when Firefox is not running. On the other hand, I note that some of the people who had this problem have said that it started to happen after they'd been viewing YouTube videos in full screen mode. That's exactly what I'd been doing. For several days in a row, I'd watch an old movie on YouTube, full screen. Prior to that, I hardly ever used full screen mode. I actually thought that the video circuitry was failing, but after reading all of the reports, it seems to be a problem with the OS randomly changing video modes.

I would like to upgrade to High Sierra or later, but unfortunately I'm running at least one application that can't run on anything newer than Sierra.

I think maybe I'll try setting up a bootable external drive with High Sierra on it, and see if that fixes the problem. If it does, then I guess I'll go ahead and upgrade the internal drive, then set up an external drive with Sierra and my old apps.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #58592 04/29/21 05:21 PM
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That all sounds like a good plan.

I'm curious about the one critical app you are running that can not move past Sierra. Care to share what it is?


On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.15.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Ira L #58593 04/29/21 08:41 PM
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It's iWeb web publishing software.

I saw on a compatibility list that iWeb won't work on anything newer than Sierra. I haven't tested this yet, but I will. My website is built with iWeb, and until I get around to converting the site to something else, I'll still need to run iWeb. Since it's not something that I use very frequently, it's no problem running it from an external drive.

I tried to find that compatibility site again just now, but I couldn't find it. It's been a couple of years since I saw it. It listed all of the most popular Mac software and all of the versions of MacOS that they were compatible with.

BTW, the flickering problem didn't go away. One of the suggestions had been to uncheck the "Automatic graphics switching" option in the Energy Saver settings. Unfortunately, this option doesn't show up in my Energy Saver settings. The High Sierra version is the same as Sierra. So, they must have added that option in a later OS version. The flickering isn't excessive so far. I guess I'll have to live with it. And it seems to be okay with an external monitor. So I may use it that way until the computer dies completely. It's nearly six years old now. I don't think I can expect much more from it, considering how they build them these days. I guess it's time to start looking for a replacement.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #58594 04/29/21 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob_00001
I saw on a compatibility list that iWeb won't work on anything newer than Sierra. I haven't tested this yet, but I will. My website is built with iWeb, and until I get around to converting the site to something else, I'll still need to run iWeb. Since it's not something that I use very frequently, it's no problem running it from an external drive.
iWeb was dropped ten years ago and hasn't worked on any version of MacOS for a long Tim now. FWIW I switched to Sparkle as the closest thing I could find to iWeb and it has only gotten better over the years since. At the time Wordpress was also widely recommended as an option to iWeb.

Originally Posted by Bob_00001
BTW, the flickering problem didn't go away. One of the suggestions had been to uncheck the "Automatic graphics switching" option in the Energy Saver settings. Unfortunately, this option doesn't show up in my Energy Saver settings. The High Sierra version is the same as Sierra. So, they must have added that option in a later OS version. The flickering isn't excessive so far. I guess I'll have to live with it. And it seems to be okay with an external monitor. So I may use it that way until the computer dies completely. It's nearly six years old now. I don't think I can expect much more from it, considering how they build them these days. I guess it's time to start looking for a replacement.
If it is not showing up in the Energy Saver preference pane it could be because it is not supported by your specific hardware configuration. I have no idea when the "Automatic Graphics Switching" was added to MacOS, but if you search help on your Mac for Automatic graphics switching it should show up in the help description if it is supported in your current version of Mac OS.

Your 15" Retina mid-2015 MBP has not yet reached Vintage status, much less Obsolete so it might be worth a trip to the Genius Desk at the nearest Apple Store to get them to run their diagnostic tests (they are not available to the public). If, as I suspect, the flicker is an indication of a failing graphics chip, display, or display connection that is the quickest and best way to identify the real problem, and will tell you if you need to start shopping seriously for a new MBP. Remember you will not be able to run the older versions of MacOS on any new Mac with Apple silicon inside so in any case you probably need to get serious about replacing iWeb in your workflow.




______________

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger"

- Mark Twain
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
joemikeb #58595 04/30/21 12:13 AM
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I've owned 3 Powerbooks and 2 MacBook Pros since 1991 (when the Powerbook 100 came out). The first three still work. I loved my Titanium Powerbook G4, and used it for nearly 10 years. With the original battery it would still run for nearly 3 hours. Number 4 (Intel MBP) had a logic board failure, and Apple service wouldn't fix it. They claimed that no parts were available. It was just barely over six years old, and past Apple's official six year parts availability cutoff. The product life is trending ever shorter. For any new Mac that I may decide to buy, I'll be using a maximum 5 year lifespan when I evaluate whether or not it's worth the money.

I'm no longer doing any business travel, so I don't need a powerful notebook computer. I have a very nice older HP/Compaq notebook running Ubuntu, that I can use for travel. I may look at getting a desktop computer in a few months. I'll wait and see what kind of feedback the Mac M1 Mini gets after it's been around for a while. At least with a Mini, I can supply my own keyboard and monitor, and the only Apple hardware that I'll have to deal with is the CPU.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
joemikeb #58605 04/30/21 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by joemikeb
Originally Posted by Bob_00001
I saw on a compatibility list that iWeb won't work on anything newer than Sierra. I haven't tested this yet, but I will. My website is built with iWeb, and until I get around to converting the site to something else, I'll still need to run iWeb. Since it's not something that I use very frequently, it's no problem running it from an external drive.
iWeb was dropped ten years ago and hasn't worked on any version of MacOS for a long Tim now. FWIW I switched to Sparkle as the closest thing I could find to iWeb and it has only gotten better over the years since. At the time Wordpress was also widely recommended as an option to iWeb.

I second the recommendation on Sparkle. I too used to use iWeb and Sparkle has the ability to import sites created with iWeb. It is not 100% perfect, but close enough that the differences are not too cumbersome to correct. In addition, Sparkle offers numerous YouTube instructional videos.

I don't know what type of web site(s) you may be creating, but in my case, with software changes and imperfect imports of old materials, I found it easiest to use the new software to continue with wherever I left off on the web site and include links to the home page of the sites created with other old software software. I look at like (pardon the analogy smirk ) initially having created my site on parchment, then on paper, then on electronic medium; and the latter includes links to allow viewing the parchment and paper versions of the site. Of course if your site is more business oriented with product updates, etc. this may not work for you. But for a family site or solo business site, it could work.


On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.15.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #58608 04/30/21 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob_00001
I'm no longer doing any business travel, so I don't need a powerful notebook computer. I have a very nice older HP/Compaq notebook running Ubuntu, that I can use for travel. I may look at getting a desktop computer in a few months. I'll wait and see what kind of feedback the Mac M1 Mini gets after it's been around for a while. At least with a Mini, I can supply my own keyboard and monitor, and the only Apple hardware that I'll have to deal with is the CPU.
I can offer some feedback on the M1 Mac mini. It is GREAT! Very fast and capable of handling an amazing number and variety of external devices with complete aplomb. I have yet to be able to stress the system enough to even ge the fans turning fast enough to hear. There have been initial glitches with a very few applications but those have mostly been corrected by fixes to Big Sur. My only disappointment has been the Apple ASR utility's inability to create a complete bootable clone. The clones are bootable, but do not include installed third party kernel extensions from the source and I have yet to succeed in installing the missing kernel extensions on those clones. 🤷‍♂️ Other than that they work perfectly well.

I have been using an 11" iPad Pro as a laptop alternative and in some ways it has more utility than a full blown laptop. Taking advantage of some of the iPad only features and running the iPad in Sidecar mode makes it a highly functional adjunct to the Mac mini and my workflow can move seamlessly back and forth between the two devices. As a standalone portable device it is lighter, has longer battery life, and its cellular ability gives it connectivity in more places than any laptop. The touchscreen interface makes it arguably preferable for many (most?) graphics applications. I like iPad Pro well enough that I got up early this morning to be first in line to order the new 11" iPad Pro with the identical Apple M1 fabric, memory, and storage to my M1 Mac mini. I won't get it for three weeks and I read this afternoon the 12.5" M1 iPad Pro delivery dates have already slipped into July!




______________

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger"

- Mark Twain
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #58610 05/01/21 12:51 AM
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I have no interest in running anything that uses iOS. I hate iOS.

Unfortunately Apple's vision of computing and my vision have diverged a lot over the past few years. I've stuck with Apple because the only alternative had been Windows, but not anymore. When my MacBook started to act up back in December, and businesses were locked down due to the pandemic, I dragged out my ancient HP laptop, and acting on the advice of some people whose opinions I respect, I installed Ubuntu. It was the easiest OS installation I've ever done. I had been expecting a half baked OS suitable only for computer geeks, and expected that I'd probably end up tossing it out in a week. But I decided to give it a fair shot. As it turned out, I've found it to be probably the most logically designed OS that I've ever used. Within a couple of weeks I was as comfortable using it as I am with a Mac (and I have 37 years of Mac experience). By contrast, if I'd been forced to use Windows for two weeks, I'd probably end up putting my fist through the screen.

One of the things that made the transition easy is that over the past few years I've been abandoning Apple's apps and going with third party apps that are available for multiple hardware platforms. When I installed Ubuntu, it came with LibreOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird preloaded. So I was immediately up and running with familiar software. These apps account for about 90% of what I do on a computer, and for the other 10%, there are apps that are nearly equivalent to what I used on Mac. (One exception is Vectorworks which doesn't have a Linux version yet.) The reason why I've been abandoning Apple's apps is that Apple has become notorious for abandoning their own apps. Example: iWeb. Other Apple software such as iWork and Safari can't be updated unless you also update your MacOS version. I switched from Safari to Firefox, after the major Firefox upgrade a few years ago, and I've never looked back. I liked iWork's Pages, but Apple had a habit of removing features from it rather than adding features with the new releases. So, I switched to LibreOffice. I'd already been using LibreOffice Calc as my preferred spreadsheet, because iWork Numbers is basically a toy (although it makes pretty looking tables).

I'm not at the point of abandoning Apple yet, and I'm interested in the M1 Mini. Mostly, I'm curious how long they'll last, considering that they can't be upgraded and they're pretty much unrepairable, should anything go wrong. If I have to toss it out in five years or less, then I want it to be priced accordingly.

Regardless of what happens, I now find myself in the nice position of not being married to Apple or any single hardware brand.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: MacBook Pro Flickering screen
Bob_00001 #59149 07/14/21 07:53 AM
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Update:
The flicker has disappeared. I packed up the MBP last week and went on a vacation. After several days, I happened to notice that it wasn't flickering anymore. I guess that the bouncing around in the car during the road trip must have re-seated the video connector, or something like that, and the video was perfect. So, when I came back home I was hoping that the return trip wouldn't undo the fix. Fortunately, it's still working fine, and I can put off the purchase of a new Mac for a little while longer.

BTW, regarding a replacement for iWeb, I frequent the XOJO software forum, and one of the members there told me that they have a web publishing product that's compatible with iWeb.
https://www.everwebapp.com/
I haven't tried it yet, and can't comment on how well it works, or how compatible it is with sites previously created with iWeb. But it's something that people may want to check out, if they're looking for an iWeb replacement.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6

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