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Repair guides and disassembly information for the MacBook Pro 16'' released in November of 2019. Model A2141, EMC 3347.

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My secondary display flashes on and off


I have my secondary display connected (Apple Cinema 20 inch) using an active dvi adaptor. The display keeps flashing on and off. One moment I see my home screen and the other the screen is black. The backlight is stil on btw. It is not the display itself, the display is good and so is the power supply.

At first I tried all the basic stuff like rebooting, pulling the power cord out but none of those things worked. I have tried resetting the PRAM, but that did’t work. I also booted into safemode, and there the display worked just fine. I think it is an OS related problem and I don't know how to solve it, as there is almost no information about this problem.

I have also tried the scaling options for the display, and none of them work.

EDIT: I have added a screenshot. The screen is recognized and I can change all the options.

Block Image

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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What have you set in your systems System Preferences > Displays ?? Take a snapshot so we can see Adding images to an existing question


It seems the only other thing you haven't tried is a different adapter. I would start there. Also, if you have another monitor you can try that can help narrow it down.


Thanks! Can the adaptor be faulty? Even if it works in safemode? The adaptor is new and from Club3d (which is a pretty decent brand I believe).


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I think your issue is scaling!

You’ll need to alter the setting for the Cinema Display to ‘Scaled’

Your displays resolutions options:1024 x 640, 1280 x 800, and 1680 x 1050

I would try 1680 x 1050 first then 1280 x 800

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Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately that didn't work. I already tried it (also by clicking option, which shows the hidden options). Do you have other suggestions?


@eli4s - To be clear its the external thats flashing correct?

At this point you could try a second DVI adapter but I don't think that will make a difference.


@danj - The backlight stays on, and the lcd changes to black. It always follows the same rythm. My adaptor is brand new. I could order another one but I don't think it will matter much. I also tried the apple dvi to mini displayport and then an adaptor from mini displayport to usb-c but then the backlight won't even turn on.


@eli4s - Just wanted to be sure I got it right. At this point I think you'll need to visit an Apple Store with the gear in tow so you can one of the geniuses to see it and hopefully escalate the issue to Apple as a bug within the OS.


Thanks. @danj I called Apple support. I had to test using a second user and I reinstalled macOS. Unfortunately that also didn't work. I now have to completely wipe my macbook and reinstall it. I hope that works... It will be put on hold because I first have to back my mac up, but I don't have an external hard drive.


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