Without warning, a pink screen showed on your MacBook Pro, iMac, ARM-based M1 Mac, or other models of Macs suddenly or at startup. You may feel panic as the pink screen is not as common for you as the black screen or white screen on Mac. Like white, black, and blank screen on Mac, the pink screen also indicates that your Mac has some problems. They are just different in the form and color shown on screen.
To avoid your Mac has a more serious problem, the system uses the pink screen as a signal to inform you to fix your Mac as soon as possible. And it also works as a door to prevent you from booting the Mac before the issue being fixed.
So, once your Mac can boot properly again, it means that the pink screen issue is fixed. Firstly, you can try to unplug the recently plugged external devices and reboot your Mac to check if it is just a temporary bug of your Mac or your external devices. If your Mac still can't boot, you have to find out and fix the possible problems that cause the pink screen.
Causes & solutions for the Mac pink screen issue
The power, image processor (GPU), and screen resolution are related to the screen display. Hence, you can check on these related settings and connections, and at the same time, figure out and fix the possible issues that may cause the pink screen.
Check & fix power issues
Firstly, you can shut down your Mac and cut off the power. Then reconnect the power and turn on the Mac again.
If it is in vain, resetting SMC (System Management Controller). SMC controls all power functions for your Mac. If your Mac is experiencing any power issue, resetting the SMC may solve it.
To rest the SMC, you need to press and hold the Control + Option + Shift keys when rebooting your Mac.
Reset NVRAM settings
In macOS, non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) is a small portion of RAM. It stores some peripheral settings, including volume, display resolution and brightness, startup-disk selection, time settings, and so on.
- Shut down your Mac.
- Press and hold Option + Command + P + R keys when your Mac reboot.
- Release the keys when you hear the second startup sound. For a T2-equipped Mac, release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.
Check and reset the GPU
GPU, short for graphics processing unit, also refers to the graphics card. It is a specialized processor designed to accelerate graphics rendering in the original. Usually, there are two types of graphics - dedicated and integrated graphics. If your Mac, usually the MacBook Pro, has both dedicated and integrated graphics, the pink screen may appear during the two graphics switching. So, it is advised to disable the Automatic graphics switching.
For MacBook Pro or MacBook Pro with Retina display:
- Boot into Safe Mode.
- Open the Apple menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver.
- Uncheck the Automatic graphics switching option.
Then, your Mac will only use dedicated graphics. But this will shorten your battery life.
There's also another way to disable the discrete GPU (Suitable for all Mac models):
- Boot into macOS Recovery mode.
- Select Utilities > Terminal.
- Type the following command in the Terminal window.
After you've tried the above ways, the pink screen of death of your Mac still exists. It indicates your Mac with severer problems. The real troublemakers are related to the compatibility, system, and kernel.
Fix the software incompatibility in Safe Mode
Software incompatibility means the particular software doesn't have the ability to run on some operating system. If the software is forced to working on a specific system, problems will appear like the pink screen.
The pink screen is prone to emerge after you've upgraded the system, like upgrading macOS Catalina to macOS Big Sur. That is because the software hasn't been updated to run on a new system.
Moreover, the pink screen issue also frequently occurs on M1 Mac. That is because the CUP architectures of the M1 Mac has changed when compares to Intel-based Macs. And the M1 Mac loads with macOS Big Sur, the newest macOS at present. But much of the software is still Intel-chip-oriented and prior system-oriented. So, software incompatibility is likely in M1 Mac.
To check and fix the software incompatibility problem, you need to boot into Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, macOS will only boot with a minimum of required software and drivers without any third-party software.
Boot into Safe Mode on an Intel-based Mac:
- Shut down your Mac and wait about 10 seconds.
- Press and hold the Shift key when restart your Mac.
- Release the Shift key until you see the login window.
Boot into Safe Mode on a Mac with Apple silicon:
- Shut down your Mac and wait about 10 seconds.
- Press and hold the power button until the startup disks and Options appear on the screen.
- Press and hold the Shift key, then click Continue in Safe Mode.
If your Mac can start up into Safe Mode, it shows that the pink screen may result from the recently installed third-party software. You can uninstall it and then restart your Mac.
Fix kernel panic in macOS Recovery mode
The kernel is a computer program at the core of an operating system. It has complete control over everything in the system. So, when kernel panic happens, the system also corrupts, and it will show up in certain forms on your Mac, such as the pink screen. The kernel panic may be triggered by a hardware failure, a software bug, software incompatibility, malware, or other errors. So, how to fix kernel panic?
In the first place, you need to boot into macOS Recovery mode.
For an Intel-based Mac:
- Press and hold the Command + Option + R + Shift keys when reboot your Mac.
- Release the keys until you see the spinning globe.
Note that your Mac should connect to the internet.
For a Mac with Apple silicon:
- Turn on your M1 Mac and hold the power button.
- Release the power button until you see the startup options window.
- Select Options, then click Continue.
In macOS Recovery mode, you can use the First Aid feature in Disk Utility to repair some of the errors on the startup disk (where the system locates).
Resolve the hardware incompatibility
Hardware incompatibility usually means computer hardware components like input and output devices that can't work well with a particular motherboard, CPU architecture, bus, or system. Thus, the pink screen issue may happen after you've updated the hardware.
To check the external hardware incompatibility issue, you can:
- Unplug all the connected peripheral devices.
- Reconnect one device and reboot your Mac each time (To find out the definite hardware failure).
For the hardware inside your Mac, you can try to run the Apple Diagnostics, known as Apple Hardware Test, to check your Mac for hardware problems.
Reinstall macOS to fix pink screen issue
If the Mac still shows pink screen and won't boot after you have tried the mentioned ways, you can try to reinstall macOS. However, reinstall macOS will lead to data loss. If you don't have a Time Machine backup, you'd better to recover the data on your Mac with some data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac before reinstalling macOS.
If still not working, your Mac may have hardware issues. You need to send it to the Apple repair center.
The pink screen issue is rare but not never. No matter it caused by software or hardware incompatibility, kernel panic, display error, or any other issues, there always have ways to fix it. This article not only supplies a series of solutions for Mac pink screen issue, but also help you analyze almost all the possible causes. Hope you can get help from it.