Various online forums are abuzz with MacBook Airs of 2012 and 2013 flavours suffering the “Black Screen of Death” – apparently the machine, mid-use, decides to either shutdown completely, or just shut its display off. It’s the latter case I’m most interested in here, since a colleague just presented me her Mid-2012 128GB 1.8GHz 4GB-RAM model. It’s still exactly as it was when it came out of the box.
The machine shutdown mid-use, and subsequently would only boot as far as turning on the display backlight.
The (apparent) solution
The PRAM (Parameter RAM) reset – hold down ALT, CMD, P and R keys together immediately after pressing the power button. While the keys are held down, the machine will reboot with a “Clang”. I usually hold the key-combo down until the clang has happened three times, releasing the keys on the third. This may be a superstition as one cycle might be enough, but from my bad old days doing the same trick on older G4-based iMacs this is a habit that still hasn’t been shifted.
The MacBook Air immediately booted as normal, and within a few seconds I was greeted with the usual File Vault 2 login screen, and the machine has behaved impeccably since then.
Further preventative maintenance
Apparently the machine had missed a few software update cycles, so I installed everything available, including a Thunderbolt firmware update and the recently-released 10.8.5 update.