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2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3 cache. Released February 13, 2013.

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MacBook boots fine in recovery but not to OS

I have a Early 2012 13’” rMBP that will boot up fine to recovery mode (holding option brings up the boot selector) and will successfully allow me to reinstall the operating system.

I reinstalled the operating system through recovery, but it still boots to a black screen with white rectangles and a mouse cursor.

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I thought this might be a GPU issue, but it does boot up into recovery and that works perfectly fine, and even when it boots into the OS and displays rectangles, it still displays the mouse cursor (and lets me move it around).

It also takes an abnormally long time to boot up, over 10 minutes before it boots to the black screen with rectangles.

While I was writing this, the computer booted up to a different screen, this time a white background and a black box in the top left.

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The mouse cursor disappeared after I clicked on one of the black boxes, but it came back after a few minutes.

After a few minutes the screen returned to the black screen with white rectangles.

Update with image of display working in recovery:

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Update 2: Well, I tried booting in Safe Mode, and Safe Mode works? I'm really not sure why.

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I'll add an image tomorrow, but it works perfectly fine in recovery. It's pretty weird.


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Are you able to plug in an external display to see if the video signal to the internal display is the issue vs the Intel chips internal graphics engine. If the external is acting up then the issue is within the logic board. If the external has a good image then your displays T-CON logic has issues which will require a new display.

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I've added an image of it booting to recovery. The internal display works fine, just not when booting macos for some reason.


@userc2 - Can you try an external as thats the key!


External display is not recognized at all. There is no image, and the computer doesn't show it in settings. Also, my monitor just goes into sleep mode.


Sadly your logic board logic has an issue. likely a CPU issue (as the GPU logic is part of the CPU in this system).

Remember your display offers multiple scan rates so while Safe mode works (a lower scan rate) the full retina level scan is at a higher rate

Safe Mode either 1440 by 900 or 1024 by 640 I don't remember which.

unlike the full Retina scan rate of 2560x1600


@danj Windows bootcamp runs at 2560x1600, except when the drivers for the GPU are installed, where it boots to a black screen with a cursor.


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