Why is My Screensaver Black on Mac: Troubleshooting Tips and Fixes

If you have noticed that your screensaver on your Mac is black and not displaying any images or animations, you may be wondering what the cause of this issue is and how to fix it. In this article, we will explore various troubleshooting tips and fixes to help you resolve why your screensaver is black on Mac and get it working properly again.

Common Reasons For A Black Screensaver On Mac

The black screensaver issue on Mac can be frustrating, but understanding the common reasons behind it can help you troubleshoot and fix the problem. One possible cause is a setting in your display preferences. Check if the “Start after” option is set to a reasonable time interval; otherwise, your screensaver may not activate. Another reason could be your energy saver preferences. Make sure that the “Turn display off after” setting is not set too low, as this can prevent the screensaver from appearing. Software conflicts can also cause a black screensaver. Check for recently installed apps or updates that may have caused this issue. Updating your macOS and firmware can often resolve screensaver problems, as Apple frequently releases fixes and improvements. A malfunctioning hardware component, such as a faulty graphics card or cable, can also affect the screensaver’s functionality. If you’re using third-party screensaver applications, ensure that they are compatible with your current macOS version. If all else fails, you can try resetting the NVRAM and SMC, which can resolve various issues on Mac. For persistent and complex problems, seeking assistance from a professional can help you pinpoint and address the underlying cause of the black screensaver issue.

Checking Display Settings And Energy Saver Preferences

If you are experiencing a black screensaver on your Mac, one of the first things you should check is your display settings and energy saver preferences. These settings can sometimes interfere with the normal functioning of your screensaver.

Start by going to the Apple menu and selecting “System Preferences.” From there, click on the “Desktop & Screen Saver” option. In the “Screen Saver” tab, make sure you have selected a screensaver and set the time duration for it to activate.

Additionally, check your energy saver preferences by clicking on the “Energy Saver” option in the System Preferences menu. Make sure that the “Turn display off after” option is not set to a time interval that is shorter than the screensaver activation time.

If these settings are correctly configured and you are still facing a black screensaver, try disabling any third-party display enhancement or management software that may be conflicting with the screensaver. Restart your Mac after making any changes to see if the issue is resolved.

By checking and adjusting your display settings and energy saver preferences, you can eliminate common causes of a black screensaver on your Mac.

Identifying And Resolving Software Conflicts Causing Black Screensaver

Software conflicts are a common cause of a black screensaver on Mac. These conflicts can arise due to incompatible software installations, conflicting background apps, or outdated system files. To troubleshoot and fix these conflicts, you can follow these steps:

1. Identify recently installed or updated software: Check if you installed any new software or updated existing applications before the screensaver issue started. Uninstall or revert the changes to see if it resolves the problem.

2. Quit conflicting background apps: Some background apps can interfere with the screensaver. Open the Activity Monitor (found in the Utilities folder) and quit any unnecessary or resource-intensive processes.

3. Disable startup items: Certain applications may have startup items that launch automatically when you boot your Mac. Disable them to see if they are causing the conflict. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items to manage these items.

4. Update software and system files: Ensure that your macOS, applications, and plugins are up to date. Software updates often include bug fixes that can address screensaver issues.

5. Reset preferences of problematic apps: If you suspect a specific app is causing the conflict, try resetting its preferences. This can usually be done within the app’s settings or by deleting its preference files located in the ~/Library/Preferences folder.

By following these steps, you can identify and resolve software conflicts that may be causing the black screensaver on your Mac.

Updating macOS and firmware to fix screensaver issues

Updating the macOS and firmware can often resolve screensaver issues on a Mac. Outdated software can sometimes cause conflicts or glitches that prevent the screensaver from functioning properly.

To update the macOS, click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, select “System Preferences,” and then choose “Software Update.” If any updates are available, click “Update Now” to install them.

Updating the firmware can be a bit more complicated. Start by checking if there are any firmware updates available for your specific Mac model on Apple’s support website. Follow the provided instructions to download and install the firmware update.

Before updating the firmware or macOS, it is essential to back up your data to prevent any potential data loss during the update process. Once the updates are installed, restart your Mac and check if the screensaver black issue has been resolved.

If the screensaver problem persists even after updating the software, continue troubleshooting with the remaining steps outlined in this article.

Dealing With Hardware-related Problems Affecting Screensaver Functionality

If you’re experiencing a black screensaver on your Mac, it could be due to hardware-related problems. Here are some troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the issue:

1. Check the connection: Ensure that all cables connecting your Mac to the display are securely plugged in. Loose connections can lead to display issues, including a black screensaver.

2. Test with another display: Connect your Mac to another display, such as a TV or external monitor, to see if the issue persists. If the screensaver works fine on the alternate display, it could indicate a problem with your original display.

3. Adjust display settings: Go to “System Preferences” > “Displays” and check if the resolution and refresh rate settings are appropriate for your display. Incorrect settings might cause compatibility issues with the screensaver.

4. Update graphics drivers: Visit the manufacturer’s website or use software update utilities to ensure you have the latest graphics drivers installed. Outdated or incompatible drivers can cause screensaver problems.

5. Disconnect peripherals: Disconnect any external devices, such as printers, scanners, or even USB hubs, and check if the screensaver works properly. Faulty or incompatible peripherals can interfere with the display’s functionality.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can identify and resolve any hardware-related problems that may be causing a black screensaver on your Mac. If the issue persists, consider seeking professional assistance for further diagnosis and repair.

Working With Third-party Screensaver Applications On Mac

Third-party screensaver applications can sometimes conflict with the built-in screensaver options on your Mac, resulting in a black screensaver. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help resolve this issue:

1. Disable or uninstall third-party screensavers: Start by disabling or uninstalling any third-party screensavers that you may have installed on your Mac. This can be done by going to “System Preferences” > “Desktop & Screen Saver” and selecting the screensaver tab. Uncheck or select a different screensaver from the drop-down menu to disable it.

2. Update third-party screensaver apps: If you want to continue using a third-party screensaver, ensure that you have the latest version installed. Visit the developer’s website or the App Store and check for any available updates. Updating the app might resolve any compatibility issues with your Mac.

3. Contact the app developer: If the third-party screensaver continues to cause a black screensaver, reach out to the app developer for support. They may be able to provide you with specific troubleshooting steps or updates to resolve the issue.

Remember to always download screensavers from trusted sources and read user reviews to ensure compatibility and reliability.

Resetting NVRAM And SMC To Resolve Black Screensaver Problems

Resetting the NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) and SMC (System Management Controller) on your Mac can help resolve issues related to the screensaver turning black. Both NVRAM and SMC store important system settings that can sometimes cause conflicts with the screensaver function.

To reset the NVRAM, shut down your Mac and then turn it back on while holding down the Option, Command, P, and R keys simultaneously. Keep holding the keys until you hear the startup sound for a second time, and then release them.

To reset the SMC, shut down your Mac and disconnect the power cord. Wait for about 15 seconds, then reconnect the power cord and wait for another 5 seconds. Finally, turn on your Mac.

Resetting the NVRAM and SMC can help clear any corrupted settings that might be causing the black screensaver problem. After resetting, check if the screensaver is functioning properly.

If the issue persists even after resetting NVRAM and SMC, it might be best to seek advanced troubleshooting and professional assistance to further diagnose and resolve the persistent black screensaver problem on your Mac.

Seeking Advanced Troubleshooting And Professional Assistance For Persistent Black Screensaver Issues

If you have followed all the troubleshooting tips and fixes mentioned earlier, but your screensaver is still black on your Mac, it may be time to seek advanced troubleshooting and consider professional assistance.

At this point, the issue could be more complex and require in-depth knowledge and expertise to identify and resolve. Professional technicians and Apple support can assist you in diagnosing the exact cause of the problem and providing tailored solutions based on your specific situation.

When contacting professional assistance, be prepared to provide detailed information about your Mac’s model, operating system version, and any steps you have taken so far to troubleshoot the black screensaver issue. This will help the technicians to understand your problem better and provide accurate assistance.

Keep in mind that advanced troubleshooting may involve more technical procedures or even hardware repairs, which should only be performed by certified professionals. Although seeking professional help might cost you some money, it ensures a higher chance of resolving the persistent black screensaver issue and restoring normal functionality to your Mac.


1. Why is my screensaver black on my Mac?

There can be various reasons for a black screensaver on your Mac. One common cause is a system glitch or a software issue that prevents the screensaver from functioning properly. Another possibility is that your Mac’s settings may be configured to display a black screensaver. Additionally, it could be due to a compatibility issue between your screensaver and the macOS version you are using.

2. How can I troubleshoot the black screensaver issue on my Mac?

To troubleshoot the black screensaver problem on your Mac, start by checking your system preferences. Go to “System Preferences” and navigate to “Desktop & Screen Saver” to ensure that you have selected a screensaver and it is not set to display a black screen. Additionally, try restarting your Mac as it can help resolve temporary glitches. If the issue persists, updating your macOS or resetting the screensaver preferences may also help.

3. What are some fixes for the black screensaver problem on a Mac?

If you are facing a black screensaver on your Mac, you can try several fixes. Firstly, disable any third-party applications or utilities that may be interfering with the screensaver function. You can also try resetting the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) or PRAM (parameter random-access memory) on your Mac, as it can sometimes resolve display-related issues. Another option is to reinstall the screensaver app or choose a different screensaver altogether from the available options on your Mac.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a black screensaver on a Mac can be caused by various factors, including system settings, software glitches, or hardware issues. However, by following the troubleshooting tips and fixes discussed in this article, users can easily resolve this issue. Whether it’s adjusting display settings, updating software, or resetting the Mac’s SMC, there are several steps users can take to fix a black screensaver problem on their Mac and enjoy a visually appealing screensaver once again.

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