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Released in July 2018, the 15" MacBook Pro, model A1990, features a 15.4 inch LED-Backlight display with True Tone technology, TouchID, and up to 6 Core i9 Processor.

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Camera and ambient light sensor not working after repair

Hey everyone!

I have a MacBook Pro 15 2018 (model A1990) that recently had a motherboard failure that was fixed by a third party motherboard technician (apple was charging 1000+ € for the repair) that swapped a capacitor which failed on the motherboard.

Everything is working except the camera and all the features connected to the ambient light sensor such as keyboard backlight, True Tone and display plus Touch Bar automatic brightness. In particular:

  • camera is not detected and Photo Booth says "There is no connected camera"; also, camera appears not to be detected in System Info too, while at the same time its serial on system info is set to "?"
  • True Tone, automatic brightness and keyboard backlight settings/toggles have completely disappeared from system preferences and are not working, moreover in System Info the "Automatically Adjust Brightness" feature is set to "No"

I can still set manually the display brightness though and before going to standby, it still dimmers automatically. However, all these features are not working in any condition, not even before/after login or in recovery/safe mode.

From a behavioral point of view, it seems like the entire camera & ambient light module is disconnected.

Here's the software and hardware procedures and checks that I did that were unuseful:

  • PRAM and SMC reset
  • macOS update
  • macOS clean reinstall
  • reboot in Safe Mode
  • system diagnostic at boot (by pressing key D), which gave no errors found
  • checked display flex cable and connectors, they seem to be fine
  • checked display backlight and camera flex cables and connectors, again they seem to be fine

The only thing that I haven't tested is T2 reset using DFU mode and another Mac, since I don't have one.

Can T2 be involved in the problem? In System Info, the camera appears under Apple T2 bus, so it does the keyboard and Touch Bar.

I can confirm however that, apart from disconnecting the display flex cable for mother board repair, the other two cables were not touched and that the display is the same as before the repair since it had a pressure mark on the panel that it still has.

I'm attaching some pictures for reference.

Do you guys have ever had a similar problem or have any idea of what could be the problem? Thanks in advance to anyone that is willing to help :)

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I ended up replacing the EDP cable with a new one and now everything works! Looks like the cable wasn't that fine.

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The cable highlighted in red in this picture

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Thanks Pierpasquale. I never got into the LCD cables before but I had a couple of these models where everything worked except the cam. After seeing your photo I examined the cable closer. After taking off the brackets I noticed they were actually not snapped in the connector all the way. I reseated them and now it works. In the past I would just replace the screen over any camera issue. I might have tossed some good screens. Oh well. Thanks for the pic and the indicators.

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Hmm. definitely not software related, hopefully, it could be a loose or disconnected cable on the inside. sadly, there's a possibility it's a motherboard issue. and €1000!?!?!?!? that's mad. you should rate the place badly for that. hope this helps :)

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No, you got it wrong, Apple was charging me 1000+ euros, probably to replace the whole board. I ended up paying only 250 for the repair.

Cables seem to be fine, I checked...

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Hello, I have the same problems with my MacBook Pro 13 2018 (A1989). I have also tried everything. And thinking about checking and reflashing the t2 chip. Luckily my girlfriend has a macbook too, so I will try today or tomorrow and share my results.

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I found an other thread talking about the same Issue. He allready did it, but without success. But i will try it as well.

Camera and keyboard backlight not working

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Ah yes, I could try these. Thanks for Info.

Have a nice day

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Normally I would answer this in the comments, but I’m going to put in an additional answer so I can add in pictures because this issue is not terribly uncommon and could be caused by a few things. So if you found it, chances are someone else might too.

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Ah cool, what is the EDP Cable?

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That cable is a possibility but in my experience with these models displays it is very important that the year of the screen be understood. I think the 2016 + 2017 screen fit the 2018,2019 model but replicate your issue. All mac screens have a 4 character identifier on them. I learned about this dealing with the Mac Air and the true tone display. If you use the wrong screen everything works except the webcam and backlight. I actually learned this through some forum long ago because I kept having issues with my Macbook Airs. Once I understood it my problems were solved. If you give me the year and model of your Mac along with the the 4 characters on your screen I can tell you if its the right one.

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The mention of the eDP (Embedded Display Port) cable is a solid idea. But in the case that doesn’t fix it, here’s some additional details about how these components work. The eDP cable rarely goes bad in my experience, but it’s worth a try in this case since the alternatives will be more expensive or more difficult.

The Camera and Ambient Light Sensor utilize the same power rail coming off the Logic Board. It travels through the eDP cable, to the T-Con (Timing Control) board. This then distributes signals is to display parts via 4 flex ribbon cables. One of these is dedicated to your non-functioning components. This leaves a few potential points of failure.

In addition to the already mentioned eDP cable, it could be the ribbon cable coming from the display to the T-Con board (highlighted in green on the attached images). Inspect closely for signs of damage or liquid, it may have small tears or punctures from debris getting into the display hinge. If this cable is damaged, you’ll likely need to replace the whole display assembly. Repairing or replacing the cable alone is tricky since it runs behind the display panel, which is a bear to remove.

It might also be the Logic board itself. It is not uncommon for a fault on the T-Con board to blow out a small logic board component, severing the power line for these two component. No power means they can’t turn on, or be detected by the MacBook.

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Wow, thanks a lot for this detailed answers.

Indeed my macbook had a water accident.

So an issue with the board could be possible too. I bought it second hand very cheap. So I hope I can get most of the components to work.

At the moment the touch bar gets Gost touch Inputs and don't recognize touch Inputs alt all. Still changed it but issue is the same.

But that is not that important for me. Getting keyboard backlight to work so I can use it at night in bed is more Important 😅

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I had the same problem after removing one of the failing capacitors on the mainboard. I disconnected the display cable.

My camera stopped working, and I got exactly the same problem as in the post. The cable looked OK, but I decided to replace it, and that was the issue ! Everything now works. Thanks a lot @pierclgr, for posting the solution

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Pierpasquale Colagrande será eternamente grato(a).
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