Owners of Apple's 2016 12-inch MacBook report USB-C to HDMI adapter flickering

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
The 2016 edition of the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display has an apparent screen flickering issue when used with Apple's official USB-C to HDMI adapter, numerous users have reported.









In a growing thread at Apple's official support website, users continue to report problems with the 2016 MacBook when used with an external HDMI display. Specifically, the screen displays noticeable flickering when connected to the thin-and-light notebook via Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.



Notably, the issue does not appear to affect the previous-generation 2015 MacBook, just the latest model. Users posting on the thread said the problem affects MacBooks running both macOS and Windows, including the latest Mac operating system, Sierra.



Some users said they were able to fix the problem by blowing into and clearing out the USB-C port. Others, however, had no luck with that method.



Some said the problems appear to be worse when the MacBook returns from sleep mode.



Still others said the problems persist --?and in some cases are even worse --?when using alternative third-party adapters for external displays, further suggesting the problems could be related to the MacBook itself, and not the adapter.









Since the 12-inch MacBook features just one USB-C port for power and data, Apple's $79 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter takes the single plug and offers three outputs: HDMI, legacy USB-A, and USB-C for power or other accessories.



USB-C is the successor to the long-established traditional USB port, boasting a new reversible design and the ability to serve as a power port for notebooks.



Next week, Apple is expected to unveil new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros, which are also rumored to switch entirely to USB-C ports. It's believed that Apple will ditch not only legacy USB-A ports, but also the built-in HDMI port and SD Card reader, requiring users to rely on adapters.



Apple's new MacBook Pros, and a new 13-inch MacBook Air, are reportedly on tap for the company's media presentation next Thursday, Oct. 27. It will be held at Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and AppleInsider will be there live with full coverage.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    I have this very problem: 2016 MacBook M5 512GB (2 months old) running macOS 10.12 connected via HDMI to basic Lenovo monitor (no issues with monitor using other devices).
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Thanks for the write up AppleInsider! It'd be great to have some advocacy on this with some further press. There are 3-4 threads for the same problem -- no one from Apple stores to phone support to corporate have acknowledged this problem. No one I've talked to from Apple had ever heard of it. Here's the thread I'm in: https://discussions.apple.com/message/30829132?ac_cid=tw123456#30829132 After over a month of troubleshooting, consensus is it's probably going to require a software or firmware related fix. I've had varying success with Sierra Public Beta releases. Problem increases when resource heavy tasks happen like loading video, plugging USB devices into the adapter, etc. For most people the type of adapter, monitor, and/or cable (above HDMI 1.4b) used, does not fix the problem -- though some setups have a more tolerable user experience. This past week, my local Apple store had to replace my machine after they replaced my I/O cable trying to fix the problem (didn't fix it). A technician (or the original power management problem with the USB C / HDMI functionality) fried my power hardware in the first machine. PS I have the exact same machine as tskwara, but we figured out in our support thread that it's not tied to a particular processor, RAM, assembly line, etc. as the problem is also in the 2015 12" MacBooks
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Hmm, I just bought one second hand on EBay. Will be checking right away when it comes in. Luckily is is still under warranty. 
  • Reply 4 of 40
    I really hope Apple keeps the HDMI port for the 15" Macbook Pro.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,771member
    seankill said:
    I really hope Apple keeps the HDMI port for the 15" Macbook Pro.
    Unlikely. HDMI is now native over USB-C, so no adapter is even necessary anymore. I'd be surprised if new TVs and monitors don't start coming with USB-C ports for native HDMI instead.
    longpath
  • Reply 6 of 40
    GonçaloGonçalo Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Hi have this problem from day 1 on my 2016 Macbook! Finally this situation is gaining visibility!!! The 2016 macbook is seriously crippled without this problem solved. I wish i could return it to apple. If you need or want to use an external monitor with the 2016 macbook JUST DON'T BUY IT... it won't work without random flickering...
    KWCH
  • Reply 7 of 40
    The three Macbook's at work (both 2015 and 2016) all have had screen flicker (black out) issues driving external 4K monitors @ 30 Hz. Occasionally the screen blacks out. One of the Apple HDMI adapter has failed completely, so we're going to see about replacing it. Wouldn't be surprised to see a Late 2016 model with Kaby Lake and a GPU capable of 4K @ 60 Hz. Hopefully they can fix the flickering issue for all models.
    edited October 2016 redgeminipa
  • Reply 8 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    Hi appleinsider,

    Big thanks for posting this news! Finally someone is exposing it!!

    I'm the person who started that thread on apple community, let me tell you the fact - IT'S A FLAW, AND THE RATE OF HAPPENING IS 100%.

    Apple took videos of the problems using their own test equipments, but promise me absolutely nothing about a fix!

    I think we all entitled a full refund if they can't fix it. :(
    ben20
  • Reply 9 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    Here is the discussion thread:
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7615336?start=0&tstart=0

    and this video demonstrates the problem clearly:


    edited October 2016 alexmac
  • Reply 10 of 40
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,239member
    mac_128 said:
    seankill said:
    I really hope Apple keeps the HDMI port for the 15" Macbook Pro.
    Unlikely. HDMI is now native over USB-C, so no adapter is even necessary anymore. I'd be surprised if new TVs and monitors don't start coming with USB-C ports for native HDMI instead.
    While I agree that it's unlikely they keep the HDMI port, this issue does demonstrate one more reason why having to rely on dongles and adaptors can be problematic. Apple's FW Thunderbolt adaptor also has issues. Not that it wasn't time to retire FW, but again, adaptors aren't as simple as some make them out to me when arguing that the next MBP should have Type-C only ports.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 11 of 40
    I'm having the same problem connecting a Mac mini to a 60”plasma via hdmi... No picture or sound. I think it's OSX Sierra, everything was fine on El Capitan. Let's hope 10.12.1 fixes this obvious bug. 
  • Reply 12 of 40
    KWCH said:
    Hi appleinsider,

    Big thanks for posting this news! Finally someone is exposing it!!

    I'm the person who started that thread on apple community, let me tell you the fact - IT'S A FLAW, AND THE RATE OF HAPPENING IS 100%.

    Apple took videos of the problems using their own test equipments, but promise me absolutely nothing about a fix!

    I think we all entitled a full refund if they can't fix it. :(
    The rate of occurrence is NOT 100%, as all three machines I looked at yesterday courtesy a local testing lab did not manifest the problem. 

    Is it a flaw, that will likely get addressed? Yes.
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 40
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,771member
    wiggin said:
    mac_128 said:
    seankill said:
    I really hope Apple keeps the HDMI port for the 15" Macbook Pro.
    Unlikely. HDMI is now native over USB-C, so no adapter is even necessary anymore. I'd be surprised if new TVs and monitors don't start coming with USB-C ports for native HDMI instead.
    While I agree that it's unlikely they keep the HDMI port, this issue does demonstrate one more reason why having to rely on dongles and adaptors can be problematic. Apple's FW Thunderbolt adaptor also has issues. Not that it wasn't time to retire FW, but again, adaptors aren't as simple as some make them out to me when arguing that the next MBP should have Type-C only ports.
    Unless you're making the argument that people should upgrade their gear to native USB-C. There are many benefits to doing so.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    atodatod Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I had a Macbook 12" purchased Fall 2015 with USB-C HDMI adapter and it worked fine.  I purchased a new Macbook 12" Fall 2016 and the problem persists with same USB-C adapter and monitor that worked fine before.  This was occurring with same OS revision and therefore software issue likelihood is reduced.  I'm beginning to believe there is some sort of hardware issue involved here and am considering returning the product.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    KWCH said:
    Hi appleinsider,

    Big thanks for posting this news! Finally someone is exposing it!!

    I'm the person who started that thread on apple community, let me tell you the fact - IT'S A FLAW, AND THE RATE OF HAPPENING IS 100%.

    Apple took videos of the problems using their own test equipments, but promise me absolutely nothing about a fix!

    I think we all entitled a full refund if they can't fix it.
    The rate of occurrence is NOT 100%, as all three machines I looked at yesterday courtesy a local testing lab did not manifest the problem. 

    Is it a flaw, that will likely get addressed? Yes.
    I found the method to 100% copy the issue and demonstrated to Apple staff, FYI.

    And what makes you think that they will address this issue while it has been there for almost a year and yet they keep telling users that ”we have never seen it”? - it's a lie.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 16 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    atod said:
    I had a Macbook 12" purchased Fall 2015 with USB-C HDMI adapter and it worked fine.  I purchased a new Macbook 12" Fall 2016 and the problem persists with same USB-C adapter and monitor that worked fine before.  This was occurring with same OS revision and therefore software issue likelihood is reduced.  I'm beginning to believe there is some sort of hardware issue involved here and am considering returning the product.
    Same here! Ok on 2015 model, broken on 2016 model!
  • Reply 17 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    KWCH said:
    Hi appleinsider,

    Big thanks for posting this news! Finally someone is exposing it!!

    I'm the person who started that thread on apple community, let me tell you the fact - IT'S A FLAW, AND THE RATE OF HAPPENING IS 100%.

    Apple took videos of the problems using their own test equipments, but promise me absolutely nothing about a fix!

    I think we all entitled a full refund if they can't fix it. :(
    The rate of occurrence is NOT 100%, as all three machines I looked at yesterday courtesy a local testing lab did not manifest the problem. 

    Is it a flaw, that will likely get addressed? Yes.
    1. Install bootcamp windows
    2. Update all drivers to the latest
    3. Output to external screen
    4. Put it to sleep, then wake it up
    5. 100% you will get the flickering
    6. Same procedures Ok on macbook 2015
  • Reply 18 of 40
    KWCH said:
    atod said:
    I had a Macbook 12" purchased Fall 2015 with USB-C HDMI adapter and it worked fine.  I purchased a new Macbook 12" Fall 2016 and the problem persists with same USB-C adapter and monitor that worked fine before.  This was occurring with same OS revision and therefore software issue likelihood is reduced.  I'm beginning to believe there is some sort of hardware issue involved here and am considering returning the product.
    Same here! Ok on 2015 model, broken on 2016 model!
    My brother has a 2015 model and has the flickering issue across OS X/ MacOS releases. I'm wondering if the issue is just more common in the 2016 models. As I've burned through beta releases of MacOS Sierra, I have had success and improvements in my external monitor performance. I'd be interested if one of you tried the latest Public Beta release on one of the machines for testing to see what results you get. After lots of testing and troubleshooting, it seems it's a hardware and software combo. Maybe there's a part used in some assemblies that the software/firmware isn't controlling properly -- perhaps that same part is provided by a different manufacturer in other assemblies, and that one is controlled properly.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    KWCHKWCH Posts: 14member
    I received emails and phone calls from Apple since this news was published...
    Shall provide them as much info as I could to get this problem fixed, hopefully.
    edited October 2016 gloom
  • Reply 20 of 40
    I am very pleased to find this discussion thread.  I have a 2016 12" MacBook and have been having problems with the HDMI connection, however, this has mainly been with VGA projectors (I'm a College lecturer) using an HDMI to VGA adaptor.  I would like to know if anyone has had the flicker problem when using a UBC-C adaptor with a straight VGA output. 
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