Display failure with MacBook Pro

I try to start to life again a MacBook Pro from around 2012 (model A1286).

What I observe:

  • It won’t reach login page (even with combination like Option/Cmd/R or Option/Cmd/Shift at boot time).
  • Display is blurred with thin vertical lines then freezes on a light grey empty screen.
  • Alternatively, I can start with the “mappemond logo”/Network selection but not further than this screen.
  • If I start from a bootable USB disk, I get a blurred screen and it freezes just the same.

I’d like to find a way to make a correct diagnostic of the situation: screen problem? video card problem? Something else? But I don’t know how to start this kind of checkup.

Any help would be highly appreciated.



Can you get the same results on an external monitor???

That would help narrow down between GPU or display. My “gut feeling” is GPU from what you have already tried.

Please let us know what happens…

Your 15" MacBook Pro is a late 2011 model that were known for having the NVIDIA GPU failure. Since Apple placed this model on their Vintage list, repair would have to be done by yourself or a 3rd party source. Expect to spend up to $600US.

Thanks for this first hint (even if it’s a very expensive one lol).

Here are two capture made with my phone just to give an idea.

[edit]I put the second capture in a following message because I don’t have the right to put more than one in a message yet.

And the second one:

What I see from your photos is what happens when the GPU is failing. You may also see Pink and Blue vertical bands on the screen. Eventually your computer will not boot.

Time for a new (or newer to you) computer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


Thks Dave. I already have a new one, by the way. But I had plans for that one too :slight_smile:

So what are the options to repair that one? Does it really need to cost up to $600?


When Apple was able to repair that model… the logic board ran $450 + labor and tax. Now that the logic board is no longer available from Apple, 3rd party resellers are charging up to $700 for it. I heard rumors of a company claiming they can repair the logic board for half that. Skeptical is my opinion. I do not know the name of same company. Perhaps someone else here is familiar with them.

I just recycled my 2008 17" MBP for a bad logic board as it didn’t makes sense to keep it going. Both financially and software related any longer.

There are logic boards for this machine on ebay starting at $50. Of course, as with all things ebay, there are no guarantees.

Is it a complicating task, involving soldering and so on? Maybe there are secondhand boards that can be found…

Also, how can I identify the correct specifications for that component?

I don’t want to give up too quick :slight_smile:


You anticipated my question, thanks :slight_smile:

While I have replaced mbp logic boards, I have no experience with this particular machine. Of the ones I have replaced, there was no soldering involved but there are a lot of connectors to remove and keep track of. If you break one of these connectors you have probably doubled the required effort.

This might b worth checking into:


Is it something well documented online (with some tutorials or videos) to your knowledge? Havn’t checked yet until I identify the correct specs.

I found step-by-step instructions online. Sorry, I don’t recall where. Maybe iFixIt?

Looks interesting indeed. But I’m in Europe and should find the same kind of company around to check their prices.

I found several videos explaining the replacement and, since I found no repair shop I contacted who offer that kind of servicing, I’ll look to a board on eBay and take the plunge myself.

But there are many different MacBook Pro 15" with an A1286 (from 2008 to at least 2012). Any idea how I can find the specific version I use? Is it on the logic board itself? Or is there a database somewhere with a key to identify the version? I found this one but I’m still puzzled.

I can’t help you much here. Apple’s model numbering “system” is a maze; I suppose it makes sense to them somehow.

Since you have to tear the thing apart anyway, my advice is to look for an identifier on the logic board.

Have you tried this?


Yes, that’s the link I gave in the former message. But I should have used the same clearer way than yours to avoid confusion, I admit :slight_smile: