Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: May 18, 2015 5:20 AM by Iain Dall
CBoland93 Level 1 (0 points)

It will be working fine one week, then the next week it suddenly won't turn on even after unplugging and replugging it into my Early 2011 MBP, unplugging from power, PRAM resets etc. I know that there is power to it as the MagSafe on the octopus cable charges my laptop fine. I need my display to be reliable as I am a graphic designer and 27" is much better than 15"!


Any ideas? Cheers.

Thunderbolt Display (27-inch), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • bigzig Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm also having this problem and tried the same measures you did with no luck.


    Even the Facetime camera works, but the display stays black.

  • Puma-IT Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi guys,


    You should gather on this thread, as many users have the same kind of issue:



  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    Have you tried resetting the SMC -


    I had a problem similar to what you describe last week. The odd thing was that an SMC reset wouldn't 'take' when I was connected to the power from the 'octopus' cable. I had to use my 'real' MagSafe power adapter that I had in my bedroom to actually reset the SMC. Once reset, everything has been just fine.



  • Puma-IT Level 1 (0 points)


    Have you tried the 10.8.3 update? And check that you have all the firmware updates applied, for your Mac AND for the TB display? I know it sounds silly, but the Firmware update may need to be downloaded from the website

  • CBoland93 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the replies, yeah, I've tried both a SMC and a PRAM reset with no avail. Also have updated to 10.8.3 and have the newest firmware for TB display. I'm at a loss with this one because it works sometimes, then another day I'll sit down at my computer, plug her in and...nada! Sometimes I'll leave it plugged in and then 20 minutes later the display will pop on, but other times it's just not co-operating at all!


    Also thanks Puma-IT, it's taken me many months to read through that thread!

  • Puma-IT Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi CBoland93,

    I know it is a lonnnnnnngggg thread, but it sems to be a loooonnnnnnggggg standing issue


    Any way, you may have some tips to try to fix your issue. Have you tried Apple Care, over the phone if your are still in your 90 days after purchase (or 1 year with an extended Apple Care Plan) ? Bringing the display and computer to an Apple Store or Apple Servcie Provider may be good: they are supposed to be the experts!


    I did not want first, but then that's how I found out about the Thunderbolt Display firmware update, different from the computer firmware update. So it "costed" me two days without the computer, so if you have a break to plan regards,


    Have a nice day and week!


    Kind regards,

  • jamesstanton Level 1 (0 points)

    Thats a great idea they can also pay for the taxi for me to take it to them.... wait inline for some one todo everything I have done... only to tell me its faulty... but it could solve the issues agreed by me losing $1200 of time... If i did this to my clients my company would be dead.

  • zyiik Level 1 (0 points)

    I've had the same problem.  The TB display worked beautifully for a week, then failed to activate when I connected, as normal, to the MacBook.  Would take disconnecting the power, then reconnecting to boot it into action. This morphed into multiple attempts being required to it going.  Finally, at the end of the second week nothing would goad it into action.  Took it to the Genius Bar.  They checked, determined the TB was faulty and replaced it with a new TB.  The new device went through the same sequence of working well for ~1 week then periodic interrupts and failures, becomming more frequent until it finally stopped completely.  It then came on briefly for one day after I installed Mavericks on the laptop, then failed again.  All software updates are installed.  Reset PRAM - nothing.  Spent a couple hours on the phone with the Apple Support engineers, with them having remote access to my laptop - all looked good from their end on the virtual 2nd display, but still a black screen on the actual TB.  Engineer thought it might be a problem with the laptop.  Took the TB back to the Genius Bar, this time with my laptop also.  Apple Store TBs worked fine with my laptop.  Other Apple Store laptops failed to energize my TB.  Ergo my TB had the problem. Just returned home with another replacement new TB.  Now plan to check the electric supply, surge protector, APC and wall outlet before plugging in the new TB, although 2 of my colleagues have been using their TBs for several months on the same electric supply without incident.  From the posts here this appears to be a larger issue with several users experiencing the identical problem.  Is it one specific batch run of TBs that has a faulty component?  The Genius Bar guy thought it is most likely to a one or more capacitors associated with the TB power supply.  Hoping it's third time lucky, or I'll be back with a new post in a couple of weeks.  Would be nice if Apple would solve this and let us know what's going on.

  • CBoland93 Level 1 (0 points)

    Grr, still having this problem, I have tried everthing I can think of, it's so frustrating because it'll work fine for a few weeks then go back to being tempremental. One thing I have noticed today in my annoyed efforts to fathom this...If I plug my iphone charger into the back of the TBD, the phone will charge, but the secondI plug in the thunderbolt cable to my MBP, it'll stop charging immediately. I'm stumped...And it's not quite as easy taking a thunderbolt display to the Apple Store like it is a phone or laptop...

  • SmogHead Level 1 (0 points)



    I have been reading all the posts regarding these similar issues as I had been encountering. My specific issues have been:

    • Slight flickering and then going blank/black. USB & Thunderbolt devices connected all worked fine after blanking screen
    • Turning on from stand by, blank screen
    • Just going blank when it felt like it

    The use of the screen/thunderbolt was my first thought. Tried many things i.e. not using it but having it on, watching videos, general light use etc - all circumstances resulted in inconsistent results (sometimes would go blank, sometimes not) So, what have I tried to resolve the issue:

    • Different cables, new cables, not using the built in cable - Blank screen in all attempts - Again all random with various time periods before it went blank
    • Different Mac - I mainly use it with a Mid 2011 iMac 27" - Tried my MacBook Pro - happened in just the same way
    • Tried all various of the above Mac/cable, not having devices connected, different power strips (I even stood on one foot for a while but it still went blank)

    I finally bit the bullet, and booked into to the 'Genius' bar. As soon as I did (appointment was set for 4 days time) the screen stopped going blank. It was just worked, day in. It got to the day of the appointment and I thought, sod it, not going. 1 hour past the appointment (which I missed) the bloody screen goes blank.


    The screen had been going blank on and off for 2-3 months (I had a dev release of Yosemite). When it went blank, I could always get it back with unplugging it and leaving it for 5mins. After I missed the appointment with Apple, the screen started taking longer and longer to come back to a working state e.g. 3 or 4 hours.


    Bare with me, you'll love the ending!!


    So, after 8 hours of it not working even after reboots, pram & smc resets etc I resorted to mading another booking with Apple. I carefully packed it up and took it along with my MBP. Low and behold - It was bloody working and didn't go blank at all (Obviously it didn't want to look bad in the store!!). Anyway, they took it in for testing and further investigation.


    2 days later I had a call, saying they had got it to blow, and that they thought it might be the logic board or the LCD panel. They proceeded to replace both these components 2-3 days later after ordering then in. I then had a phone call saying the items that they had put in were not working (Something about the pins not aligned under the microscope). They had to order a new logic board and LCD panel. After a long wait and numerous conversations, they completed the repair.


    I have just picked up the screen for Apple - All working!!


    How old was my display? Oct 2011 - I think, so just under 3 1/2 years old. Now comes the fun part.


    Due to EU consumer law, A product of this nature should last up to 6 years. Therefore I have a nearly new thunderbolt display that, touch wood, will not go blank..... And it cost me nada!


    Contact me if you want anymore info.



  • Smokerz Level 6 (9,485 points)

    power down and connect that Apple TB Display to some other Mac that has TB. It should come back to life. Then reconnect it to the original Mac.

  • Jsonharle Level 1 (0 points)

    it's 2015 and we still have the same problem...


    This solution works for me 80% of the time


    1) Shut down

    2) Turnon and hold "D"

    3) Perform the hardware check

    4) do the NVRAM reset

  • mrTuborg Level 1 (0 points)

    Suddenly solved my Thunderbolt Display problem with waking up. All of these tips in thread does not help me. In my case I just set screen of my laptop as a primary display (where is login window is appearing each time after booting). No problems since last Monday (week). Another proble was with device, that connected to USB port in ThunderBolt Display. Disconnecting of this device solve crashing issues on startup.


    So, my Thunderbolt Display waking up every day and is not crashing on startup ! Yay!

  • Iain Dall Level 1 (25 points)

    Hi. I had ( fingers crossed ) or have had this similar problem, with suddenly my 18 month old Thunderbolt 27" display just not displaying.

    It would still charge my 15" Retina Mac Book Pro, and even the screen camera would be selectable as a camera option between the MBP and the screen.

    I tried restarting many times, using as many keyboard keys and options held during restarts. But I would not give up on on the monitor as a repair or right off.

    I had the odd success on getting it to start up while booting of a USB startup. but nothing I could count on. But I did notice one think I had not tried. I tended to have this set up for home use, taking the MBP with mw to the office. and at home I would connect up the thunderbolt cable for the monitor and a 2nd thunderbolt cable with a set of storage drives before i would hit the startup key and go through all the boot and login procedures. I was also beginning to notice through all these troubleshooting restarts that shutting down and starting up was getting delayed by the spinning grey icon. Unusual for this SSD model.

    So I tried a startup without any thunderbolt cables attached. straight through login and full desktop setup. Then I plugged in the monitor thunderbolt and second TB cable. Hey Presto !  the MBP monitor reset and the Big Display popped straight back to life.. Well its been the 4th consecutive time that this has worked and no failures, or black screens.. well if this is how to get it to works, fine by me. Good luck getting your displays back in production. Regards Iain

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