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MBA 13 Mid 2013 crash Black screen

45535 Views 314 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2014 1:45 PM by Ricklsanders RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • chrisk52 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 7:02 AM (in response to fergalfromcork)

    This issue is 100% repeatable, and as far as I know affects all mid-2013 MBAs.  When I picked up my MBA from the Apple Store, the tech again said that all diagnostics passed, so, again, there is nothing wrong with my MBA.  I proceeded to crash my MBA again in front of him.  Then I proceeded to crash his MBA.


    In front of the tech, I summarized the simple steps that crash the MBAs in an e-mail, and he agreed that he would pursue the issue with Apple, and keep me informed of the progress.  That was about a week ago, and I have not heard back since.  I'll follow up later this week.


    Apple appears to be in denial on this issue.  It may be that they just don't want to admit that the issue exists, as that can impact sales.  It just doesn't look good ... "Here is your new MBA, and, by the way, disable sleep if you don't want it to crash."


    For a company that claims market superiority based on above-average system stability, failing to even acknowledge that the issue exists is rather disappointing.  Bugs, crashes, etc. have to be expected on any computing device ... that's life, and I don't really fault Apple for that.  Frequently, the issue is hard to reproduce, and then it is really hard for the company to address it - but they still have to try.  In this case, it is completely reproducable, so there is completely no excuse to acknowledge it, and lay out a plan for fixing it.  I've debugged many intermittent problems myself, and you really count your blessings when you, or someone else, finds a way to reliably reproduce an issue ... at that point you can assign the fix to a clever intern, and a few days later the problem is behind you.  If a company is not interested in addressing reproducable issues, then it is hard to have faith in that company's ability to put effort into the hard-to-reproduce issues - and there are plenty of those.


    So, Apple, acknowledge the issue, propose a plan for fixing it, and let all of us move on with our lives.

  • yoganinja Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 7:36 AM (in response to fergalfromcork)

    Thanks for the link to BugReport! I did not know about that before since I am still new to Apple after developing on Windows for the past 17 years. I just submitted this there with issue #15550585 and linked it back to this thread. Here is the text of my report:


    15550585 - Black screen if attempting to prevent sleep



    On any mid-2013 MBA (11" or 13"), when system is idle long enough to dim the display/go to sleep, the screen fades to black. If the user tries to prevent sleep by tapping a key or trackpad, the system hangs with a black screen. The CAPS LOCK key toggles on/off when pressed, but no other user input seems to do anything. Closing the screen and reopening has no effect. Only a hard boot will bring system back. The happens whether on battery or plugged in. Any unsaved documents/code files are lost.


    Steps to Reproduce:

    1. Let system idle and wait for display to dim (based on power settings).

    2. Wait a couple more seconds for screen to go black.

    3. Wait a split second more for keyboard backlight to begin to fade.

    4. Before keyboard backlight is completely off, press a key or swipe the trackpad (as if trying to prevent the system from sleeping, thus requiring re-entry of password)


    Expected Results:

    I would expect the system to wake up and let me continue with what I was doing.


    Actual Results:

    When touching the input as the keyboard backlight is fading, the backlight illuminates brightly, but the screen stays black. The CAPS LOCK key will toggles its light on/off. No other action will wake up the system. Only a hard boot will bring system back on.



    My personal machine is a mid-2013 MBA, 11", 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, i7 chip, currently running Mavericks, but issue first noticed out-of-box running Mountain Lion.



    I brought my MBA to an Apple Store on 11/2/2013 and demonstrated the behavior to a "genius" with my configuration running Mavericks and when booting to Apple's "known good" environment running Mountain Lion. My case number is 524999600. I first announced my findings on the following discussion thread with the username "Yoganinja": Many others have been able to reproduce.



    Any mid-2013 MacBook Air. Off-the-shelf models, brand new or refurbished. Custom models, brand new or refurbished. 11" or 13". Mountain Lion or Mavericks. Out of the box, or with additional software installed.

  • eli77057 Calculating status...
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    Nov 26, 2013 4:53 PM (in response to chrisk52)

    What did you do to repeat the Great MBA Blackout?

    I left my MBA at the Apple store and they did something to PRAM(?) and to SMC(?). I could only get a quick look at the diagnostics and as you can see I'm not an Apple Genius. Three days of visibility so far.

  • chrisk52 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 8:23 PM (in response to eli77057)

    eli77057, I've reliably reproduced the MBA black screen crash with the steps below.  My sequence is slightly different from yoganinja, but I expect both work.  Note that I have tried this only while running on the battery, but it may well not matter.


    Steps to Reproduce:

    1. Let system idle and wait for display to dim (based on power settings).  You can shorten this wait period to 1 minute by changing System Preferences > Energy Saver > Turn Display Off After

    2. Wait a couple more seconds for screen to go black, but get ready to press a some key on the keyboard.

    3. As soon as the screen goes completely black, press a key (or 2 or 3 keys) on the keyboard.


    The window of vulnerability (immediately after the screen goes black) is relatively short (perhaps on the order of 1 or 2 seconds), but is actually relatively easy to hit accidentally.  The way it works with me is that I'm working on something, then I get distracted, then, in my peripheral vision I see the screen dimming and I react by reaching for the keyboard to keep the MBA from sleeping.  This way, I've unintentionally crashed my MBA about once per week for the month I've had the MBA.


    The Apple techs also cleared some non-volatile memory on my MBA while doing the diagnostics.  That did not help.  As far as I know, any recent MBA can be crashed this way.

  • eli77057 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 8:31 PM (in response to chrisk52)

    Thank you.

    We shall see.

    If and when I get the MBA Blackout I'll let it go to black and see how long it's out.

  • yoganinja Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 8:32 PM (in response to chrisk52)

    Exactly, though the window is much shorter than 2-3 seconds. I've been unable to get it to hang if I touch the input too soon after the screen goes black or after the keyboard fades completely. We're talking less than a second, I think, but it is perfectly timed to catch us when we see it go black in periferal vision. Tricky little *******. ;-) Also, I've tested my wife's mid-2011 MBA, and it will not hang.

  • bhanafee Calculating status...
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    Nov 26, 2013 10:11 PM (in response to eli77057)

    I tried an SMC reset after they returned my MBA with a new logic board. Useless. It still hangs.

  • MDN64 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2013 1:45 AM (in response to Sarguin)



    I just called Apple and have my machine booked in for investigation at a local independent Apple retailer.


    I did point out this issue had been reported months ago on CNET as I was hoping he'd be able to say Apple had a solution by now. The guy I spoke to is of the opinion it's either a faulty hard drive or power control module.


    When I asked about the forum, he became dismissive, "We sell millions of computers. There's only a few people with a problem posting many times and threads. We don't worry about the forums," in other words, what we're doing on here Apple don't care about.


    This forum exists so we can all moan at each other whilst Apple laugh down their sleeve all the way to the bank. It gives the illusion of caring, the illusion of support. Does Apple give a monkey's if a few people are having problems? Clearly not. They're a colossus, a marketing lead money making machine and we are of no consequence.


    I'm hoping the independence of the retailer means they'll be more open about what they're seeing and fixing, so I'll let you all know what they say.


    Meanwhile, what we need is Facebook and Twitter, a public forum to tell the world what Apple are up to.


    Remember, this is the company that used slave labour in China to make it's computers and did nothing about it until people started killing themselves and it arrived in a public forum. They're just another faceless corporation, no better than Microsoft et al.

  • MDN64 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2013 2:15 AM (in response to yoganinja)

    Hi yoganinja


    Thanks for the run down.


    I've been able to repeat this effortlessly on my laptop so I'm very much looking forward to visiting the selected repair centre so they can observe a crash and then crash their own computer, hopefully right in front of someone thinking of buying one. Luckily there's a PC World right opposite so I can point out where the reliable computers are sold.


    Apple simply don't care and won't care unless it affects their wallet, so the run up to Christmas is a great time to make a noise.

  • MDN64 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2013 2:44 AM (in response to Sarguin)

    Hi Folks


    Time to name and shame.


    Here's a facebook group I started so we can take this public,


    It's simply titled, "MacBook Air screen goes black," as I know it affects the 2012 model as well.


    Apple will pay far more attention to a public debate than a private whinge.


    Have fun cutting and pasting all this over.

  • jamesfromnashville Calculating status...
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    Nov 29, 2013 7:59 PM (in response to chrisk52)

    You can also crash it by simply going to the Apple button on the top left, clicking Sleep, then touching the trackpad.

  • yoganinja Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2013 8:07 PM (in response to jamesfromnashville)

    Whoa! Good thinking! I had trouble doing that with the trackpad, but did it first try with the spacebar. I'll add that to my bug report and when I call my case manager. Thanks!

  • MDN64 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2013 2:27 PM (in response to yoganinja)

    There's a video showing that here:

  • casamino Calculating status...
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    Dec 3, 2013 11:12 AM (in response to yoganinja)

    I can't seem to replicate this issue on demand.  I had the same situation to which I ordered mine in mid Oct and as soon as I opened it out of the box it had the backlight but with a black screen.  I upgraded to Mavericks and still the same issue.  I reset SMC and still remains.  The only way mine gives me the issue is by waiting a bit when it goes to sleep.  Any ideas?  I also called Apple Care and they were no help.  I asked if he had heard of this issue and he said he had not and disregarded the fact that I had seen numerous people with the same problem on Apple support communities.

  • eli77057 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2013 11:44 AM (in response to casamino)

    My Apple store also did something with PRAN(?) and SMC(?) and it has now been about 10 days and no blackout. (As you can see I'm not a Genius.)

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