Mac Book Pro : the white screen of death ..

Today was my first bad day with a Mac. I did the usual « update software » … and rebooted the mac.

And bang .. white screen of death … blank screen nothing else, no mouse, no keyboard, nothing …

After searching on the net on the mediacenter … it seems to be a « smart sleep » bug in osx.

Here is what I used to get things up and running again ..

1. Remove the power supply and the battery
2. Hold the power button for 10 secs
3. Put the battery back in, and the power supply as well
4. Power on while holding : Apple+Function+P+L keys all together …

Never thought it would work but all got back to normal.

The strange thing is that on a PC I would have considered all this « normal behaviour » ..

But I must say, I was 10 minutes away of selling my Apple stock ..

Pierre

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43 commentaires sur “Mac Book Pro : the white screen of death ..

  1. I just tried this. didnt seem to work for me. but i think its the same problem. i have had white screen for like 30 mins now and still nothing. can you give me more clarity on exactly how to fix this.
    Thanks

  2. Have been having white screen of death problems for a while. Seemed to be better at first when I just hold down power button until it starts to beep on me. That stopped working and holding down shift or other keys to reset pram etc wasn’t helping. I managed to get some things running by using the mac osx leopard update disk as the boot and kept holding down the eject key (top right hand side on the macbook pro). Disk utility checks indicated many times over that my disk is ok. This seems to have worked a couple times now and I’ll check some more but I don’t know what this key combination is supposed to mean. I didn’t do any of the batter reset stuff (I’d tried that previously and ability to restart/start mac has been getting progressively worse). Just step 4 used and it started ok. Usually had startup sound, tick, tick, tick then white screen, no apple symbol etc.

  3. Thank you thank you thank you Pierrre – you just saved my day. Macbook Pro working fine last night. White screen this morning.

    Thankfully I have access to the internet via another Mac to read this forum.

    If you are ever in Sydney, Australia – I’ll buy you a drink ; )

  4. Up and running again, thanks to you.

    I am searching the net for more information on the ‘smart sleep’ bug in OSX – is there anyway or anything I should do to fix this issue.

    I just ran Disk Utility and all seems fine there.

    • Nothing is working for us with this problem too, Cock, but in 29 years of using Macs this is the only breakdown we haven’t been able to solve. And the Mac concerned was built in 2006 so we can hardly complain. Other breakdowns were one hard drive and a graphics card, both easy things for a user to deal with.

  5. Does anyone know what the word they are asking you to type in on reboot? My screen is cracked and of course that is t only word I can’t see. I have been getting the white screen since last night. Mac OS X Leopard 10.4

  6. My one was not working…
    I just turned off my macbook by holding the power button because it wasn’t responding, and then when I tried to turn it on, there was only white screen appear and the sound.
    I tried to run disk utility, but I couldn’t see my hard drive there. What’s going on? Please help me…

  7. Thanks Plosson!

    I just came home tonight and turned on my Macbook Pro to find the dreaded ‘white screen of death’ happening to me. I would get the ‘BONG’ sound but nothing more than a white screen – a simple power off and back on didn’t fix the issue.

    Your instructions worked perfectly, I was back into OS X within minutes. Thank you, you’ve saved me having to go through a lot of headaches and hassle!

  8. this worked for me. i could never say a bad word about macs, so i’m just really happy not to have lost anything!

  9. I got the white screen and tried the batter and plug thenthe fn, aple, p, l and still nothing. re-started with holding shift down.

    Nothing!! Help..

  10. I have the same problem. I started dreamweaver and it would not start, so had to go to Force Quit. Then Mac would not respond to anything. So I ended up powering it down and then the white screem. I have tried all key combos on bootup – nothing worked so far. Last resports 1) Try my Tiger CD 2) Get disk into another machine via USB and see it it reads from there.

    SO far not impressed with Mac and Support. My Aperture Lib vanish after 6mnths of creating keywords and sorting the photos and no help from Apple. Battery died and they wanted to charge me £97. They told me it depends on how you use the laptop. Well Apple, how do people use laptops ? I have an IBM and a Sony – no issues there. Will I buy an Apple again, hell no! I was actually a fortnight away from choosing between MAcBook Pro and the desktop beast but now, I will not touch a Mac. They are money hungry and support/customer service comes last!

  11. hey guys I am actualy about to head off to college and I amon vacation with my fam….. My mac just had the white screen of death so i freaked and turned off the computer to restart it… now I get sound but now not even a white screen…. I would love any advice I can get… (I am also semui tech savy so you can just explain it no need to dumb it up)

    also just as some irony I am on my Dad’s PC trying to fix my mac (which I swore to him was a thousand times better then PC) now thats irony.

  12. white screen of death on my iMac- thank god I have a pro to read this site–trying everything–now trying the instructions above–no battery in iMacs–oh well…wait…by gosh…I think…YES!! YES!!! YES!! I LOVE YOU! Pierre–you have saved me! It worked!

  13. I have a imac that i have been using for 1.5years. I got the white screen of death. I have been reading articles, some say install the disc and some say press a few buttons and restart the computer.
    i dont know what the exactly what i should do to restart it correctly? Could someone give me simple instructions, PLEASE.

  14. Hi
    I have just had the ame problem with the white screen, and I have tried absolutely everything. And then I read the advice to reboot holding down the Function, Apple and P, L keys on hearing the start up jingle and it worked, I couldn’t beleive it. It took me a while to find the function key, just in case anyone out there is as stupid as me, well it is near the numbers.
    Hope this helps, just keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again.
    Cheers
    Jackie

  15. I had the same problem with my Macbook. It turned out that the LCD Cable was loose and not providing a signal to the motherboard.

  16. Since updating to 10.6.2 (might be coincidence) have had 3 instances of white screen on power up on my MacBook Pro 17 2008. Each time a restart has taken care of the problem. Is very disconcerting and am concerned might not work next time so have printed Pierre’s fix. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Bill

  17. FANTASTIC!!!
    my daughter’s MacBook Pro suffered a white screen of death in the middle of finals. NOTHING worked, including a trip to the apple store. Luckily I googled « macbook white screen ». Problem is solved!
    I owe you a whole case of beer, or the bottle of your choice if you get to the Chicago area.

  18. Can’t seem to find the Apple+Function+P+L keys , well can find the P and L key and I think the FN key is the function key but don’t know what the apple key looks like can someone please advise. Bought this mac book pro in feb of 2009 if that make a difference. thanks
    Bill

  19. I update the software of my macbook white after downloading the software the macbook restarted and began to install everything then I intentionally turn off by pressing the power button while installing. Now the macbook still showing the logo but only black screen appears then error says restart your macbook by pressing the power button but still the same problem. I’m on a ship now and I badly needed my mac pls email me if u have any idea to fix it. Rodan.robles@gmail.com

  20. WOW! I got the white screen of death on my iMac this morning. Was on the phone with tech support for 30 minutes, he tried walking me through all kinds of stuff and nothing worked. Told me I’d have to take it to the Apple Store and get it fixed (which I’m sure would have been $$). Thankfully, just before I left I got out my daughter’s macbook and googled « white screen of death macs » and this was the first result.
    DUDE! It totally worked (of course skipping the battery part for my iMac). You saved me who knows how much time and money! I can’t believe how simple that was, and why doesn’t Apple tech support seem to know about it?
    Pierre, if you’re ever in Vegas, drinks are on me! I owe you BIG TIME. THANK YOU.

  21. Pierre, I will buy you as many free drinks as you want. I have a 24″ aluminum imac with the same symptoms….what exactly does the apple fn p and l do?? Does it reset something?

  22. I have the same problem on my 2008 Macbook running OS 10.4.11 but unfortunately Pierre’s fix didn’t work. The guy at MacCentric tried it three times but no luck. Then this morning I managed to boot up normally and get some tunes playing on iTunes before it turned to the White Sceern of Death again. Strangely I could still use my remote to control iTunes even with the white screen!
    I will have to get my computer fixed tomorrow, hope it is just a loose cable!

  23. I have the white screen including the tick, tick sound and a file with the ? symbol on it.
    Why do some of us get this ticking sound with it as well? Could that have anything to do with the harddrive? Sometimes after jiggling my computer things will work again after rebooting. I know, I should not spank my computer for misbehaving, but I wonder if there could be just a loose connection of some sort causing this?
    Mad Medic Repair would charge me $240 to open my Mac. This is quite steep for an issue that seems to be not that uncommon.
    Do I need to worry this issues is getting worse over time and eventually wiping out all what is on my Mac to a degree of no return?? Why are there so many people out there who have this white screen issue etc? Is this a known problem with Mac OS X 10.5? I am not a computer savvy person at all.
    Thanks for any answers — Simone,Ca

  24. You saved my butt AGAIN Pierre!! Got the white screen again last night on my iMac, tried EVERYTHINg, including your solution, but nothing worked. Apple told me I needed to take it in.
    So this morning, I tried to remember exactly what I did when your trick worked last time. I unplugged and let it sit for an hour. Held down power for 10 seconds, plugged back in. THIS TIME, though I waited until AFTER hearing the startup sound before pressing command+control+P+L. I remembered being a little delayed in pushing the buttons last time, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
    Guess what? It worked! Every thing’s back to normal, and I didn’t have to waste time and money at the Apple Store.
    So maybe that’s a suggestion for people to try if this doesn’t work the first time.
    YAY!! Thanks again, Pierre, I owe you many drinks now!

  25. Simone: same happened to me, question mark and ticking noise- your hard drive is probably dying. mine would not start at all like yours but i would get it replaced. find an independent person to do it not apple- parts and services ended up costing me about 120 dollars.

    ps I’m here bc 3 of my keys stopped working… will i have to buy a new keyboard for my macbook?? is there any way to restore keyboard somethings… anyone?

  26. i’ve got a macbook pro 13 inch. there doesnt seem to be any way to pull out the battery as its encased in the aluminium casing.

    i got the white screen of death after i got the spinning ball of death in OS X snow leopard – i hit the power off button thinking that would shutdown the machine properly.

    i only got the macbook about a week ago.

  27. my mac book pro battery is bad and im currently using a direct power just recently after restarting all i hear is a bung sound and a white screen and nothing more it is very frustrating and i need a help for i need some files agent

  28. Hello everyone,

    I was trying to install boot camp onto my iMac and it needed to restart. Now a bar at the bottom pops up and keeps on loading for around five mins before turning itself off – it won’t load the login either… What can I do? Please respond ASAP. Is this the white screen of death.

    James :/

  29. Every once in a while, about once a day on a 6 hour use, my desktop turns pale gray or pale pink and has sort of thin white vertical lines all over. Sometimes it solves by itself in a few minutes but lately I have to restart to get this solved. Do you have any idea what could the problem be

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