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Troubleshooting Horizontal and Vertical Lines on MacBook Display

Has your once pristine MacBook screen become marred by unsightly horizontal or vertical lines? Don't panic! This is a common issue with various causes, but the good news is there are often solutions you can try before resorting to a complete repair.

This guide will equip you with the knowledge to troubleshoot lines on your MacBook display, helping you enjoy a clear viewing experience again.

Troubleshooting Horizontal And Vertical Lines On Macbook Display

Key Takeaways

  • Learn the difference between software and hardware issues causing display lines.
  • Check cables and connect an external monitor for clearer diagnostics.
  • Prevent overheating by ensuring proper ventilation and resetting SMC and NVRAM.
  • Identify and address potential problems with your MacBook's graphics card.
  • Reinstall macOS to resolve software-related issues.
  • If troubleshooting fails, reach out to Apple support or repair centers like iFixScreens.

Understanding the Cause: Software vs. Hardware

Understanding The Cause: Software Vs. Hardware

Lines on your MacBook screen can be caused by software glitches or hardware problems. Software issues are usually easier to fix, while hardware problems might require visiting the Apple Store or an authorized service center.

When horizontal, vertical, colored, or other lines manifest on your MacBook screen, it's crucial to investigate the following potential causes:

Hardware-related issues contributing to line appearance on the Mac screen:

  • Physical damage to the display due to drops, impacts, or overheating.

  • Damage to the cable connecting the graphics chipset to the display.

  • Screen burn-in, resulting from prolonged display of the same image on an LCD screen. While this damage might resemble lines, it usually differs and requires attention from an Apple specialist.

Software-related problems leading to similar effects:

  • Power management irregularities could be responsible for display issues.

  • Outdated graphics drivers may hinder correct image processing.

  • Software conflicts can introduce bugs that manifest as display abnormalities.

Troubleshooting the Horizontal and Vertical Lines on MacBook

Troubleshooting The Horizontal And Vertical Lines On Macbook

Verify Your Display Connectivity

Prioritize checking the connection to your display as one of your initial troubleshooting steps. If you're utilizing a desktop Mac connected to a monitor, inspect both the back of your system and the monitor to confirm that the connecting cable is securely inserted. If this step doesn't resolve the issue of MacBook screen flickering or persistent static lines, proceed to the following recommendation.

Utilize an External Display

Lines appearing on your MacBook screen may indicate issues with the graphics card or display itself. If feasible, connect an external monitor for clearer diagnostics to determine if this is the case.

Here's the procedure for connecting an external monitor to your Mac:

  • Attach your MacBook to an external display using either an HDMI or USB-C cable, depending on the monitor's compatibility.

  • Verify if the external monitor is functioning correctly and free from any lines or abnormalities. If it operates without issue, it suggests a potential hardware problem with your MacBook.

  • Seek assistance from an Apple service center for further diagnosis and resolution of display line issues.

Cool Down Your Mac

Excessive heat can cause display problems. Ensure your MacBook's vents are clear, and avoid using it on surfaces that trap heat.

Typically, prolonged usage leading to overheating might cause the issue. If the lines on your MacBook screen stem from overheating, the recommended course is to enhance cooling measures before attempting a system reboot. However, it's important to note that heat-related problems may not always manifest as vertical colored lines on the MacBook screen.

Here are a few strategies you can consider:

  • Initially, if the lines are due to temporary overheating, it's advisable to power off your device and allow sufficient time to cool down.

  • Additionally, environmental factors such as room temperature and excessive heat in the surroundings could contribute to the issue and should be considered rather than being solely a machine-specific problem. Ensure you're operating in a well-ventilated area and, if feasible, open windows for improved airflow.

Reset SMC and NVRAM

Performing a System Management Controller (SMC) reset can address various power-related issues on your Mac, including persistent problems like lines appearing on the MacBook screen.

To reset the SMC and potentially resolve the lines on your MacBook screen, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Apple logo in your Mac Menu Bar and select "Shut Down."

  • Press and hold the Shift + Option + Control keys simultaneously, and while holding these keys, press and hold the power button as well.

  • Release them all after holding these keys and the power button for about 10 seconds.

  • Reconnect the power cable to your Mac and turn it back on.

NVRAM, short for non-volatile RAM, is a memory segment within macOS designed to retain data even when the computer is powered down. It stores various user preferences, including display resolution, brightness settings, startup disk selection, and more. Resetting the NVRAM might offer a potential solution if the lines appearing on your MacBook screen are due to settings-related issues.

To address lines on your MacBook display through an NVRAM reset, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Apple logo in your Mac's menu bar and select the "Shut Down" option.

  • Turn your Mac back on, and during the reboot process, press and hold the Option + Command + P + R keys simultaneously.

  • Release the keys when you hear the second startup sound.

Graphics Card Issues

A malfunctioning graphics card can also cause lines on the MacBook screen. Depending on the severity, repairs or a replacement card might be needed.

Not all graphics card updates may be accessible directly through the System Information window. Depending on your macOS version and the graphics card type, updates might be obtainable via the App Store or the manufacturer's website.

Here are the general steps to check for graphics card updates:

  • Click on the Apple logo in your screen's top-left corner to reveal the dropdown menu, then select "About This Mac."

  • A window presenting system information about your Mac will appear. Click on the "More Info…" button.

  • This action will open the About section in System Preferences. Scroll down and click on "System Report…"

  • The System Information window will open. Navigate to the left-hand panel and locate "Graphics/Drivers," then click to expand it. This section will provide detailed information about your Mac's graphics cards.

  • If updates are available, you should see a link to download them. Click on the link to access additional details or initiate the update process.

Perform a macOS Reinstallation

If you haven't succeeded with previous troubleshooting steps, you should reinstall macOS before seeking assistance from an Apple specialist. This process provides a fresh start while retaining your data and resolving potential issues with corrupt software. Remember to back up your files before proceeding with the reinstallation.

Here's the procedure for reinstalling macOS:

  • Access macOS Recovery Mode.

  • Once in recovery mode, select the "Reinstall" option for your macOS version, then click "Continue."

  •  If prompted to unlock the disk, enter your username and password. During the installation process, if prompted to choose between "Macintosh HD" and "Macintosh HD—Data," select "Macintosh HD."

  • Be patient as the installation progresses. It's normal for your Mac screen to go blank, restart, and display progress multiple times.

  • After the installation, your Mac may restart to a setup assistant.

Seeking Professional Help:

Seeking Professional Help

If none of the troubleshooting steps work, it's time to seek professional help. Apple offers support through its website, phone lines, or Apple Stores. You can also visit repair stores like iFixScreens. 

Repairing an Apple MacBook demands considerable skill and precision. At iFixScreens, our skilled technicians ensure you receive affordable, top-notch Macbook repairs. Plus, with our efficient same-day device service, your MacBook will be fixed before you finish a cup of coffee.

Prevention is Key:

Prevention Is Key
  • Handle Your MacBook with Care: Accidental drops or bumps can damage the display.

  • Maintain a Cool Environment: Overheating can lead to display issues.

  • Keep Your Software Updated: Outdated software can cause various problems, including display issues.

Final Thoughts

Lines on your MacBook screen can be frustrating, but don't despair! By following these troubleshooting steps, you might be able to resolve the issue yourself. If not, Apple and authorized service centers are available to help. Remember, taking good care of your MacBook can help prevent display problems in the first place.


Q. How can I fix horizontal or vertical lines on my Mac's screen?

A. If you see vertical lines or horizontal lines on your Macbook screen, you may need to take some steps to fix the issue. Start by checking the cable connections and ensuring they are secure. Some of the times, a simple software update can resolve the problem. If the issue persists, it could indicate a hardware problem with the graphics card or monitor.

Q. What are the simple solutions to fix lines on my Mac's display?

A. If you're facing lines on your Mac's screen, try resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) to see if that resolves the problem. Connecting an external display can help determine if the issue is with the monitor or the Macbook itself.

Q. Why do vertical or horizontal lines appear on the screen of my Macbook?

A. Mac's display issues, such as lines appearing on the screen, can be caused by various factors, including software issues, damage, temperature, or connection problems. It's essential to troubleshoot the cause to find an appropriate solution.

Q. How can I get rid of lines on my Macbook screen?

A. To get rid of vertical lines on the screen or horizontal lines on your Macbook, try checking the temperature of your device, as overheating can sometimes cause display issues. You can also check for software updates that might address the problem.

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MacBook Display Issue, Vertical Lines on MacBook Display, Horizontal Lines on MacBook Display

Ravi Shah

About the author

Ravi Shah

Ravi is the head of Content Strategy at iFixScreens Corporate. With over a decade of experience writing technical content for his readers, Ravi has helped thousands of readers with helpful content, tips, and tricks. He mainly writes content related to gadget repairs, such as iPhones, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Question? Send me an email info@ifixscreens.com