Mac mini 'pink squares' graphical glitch fix on the way

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited February 21
Apple is aware of a display glitch where pink squares appear on a display attached to an M1 Mac mini, a problem that it is working on to fix.




A number of users of the Apple Silicon Mac mini are encountering problems with their compact computing setup, in that sometimes rows of pink squares appear on the display. Many users have complained on Reddit and Apple's support forums about the problem, and it seems Apple has taken notice.

The problem seems to affect only HDMI-connected displays, not USB-C nor Thunderbolt, and is temporary in nature. In one AppleInsider writer's case, the pink squares disappear once they switch audio sources for the affected monitor away from the Mac and then back, or simply to turn the monitor on and off.

An internal memo from Apple to service providers seen by MacRumors confirms Apple knows about the problem and it is investigating the issue. A timeframe for the fix was not provided in the update.

Most likely fixable in software, it is likely Apple will either release a minor update to macOS fixing it, or will wait to incorporate it as part of a larger release, such as in macOS Big Sur 11.3.

Apple also offered troubleshooting steps that included putting the Mac mini to sleep and waking it after two minutes. Apple then suggests unplugging the display temporarily then changing the display resolution in System Preferences.

This is not the first instance of a graphical problem with its M1 Mac lineup. Users have encountered a lack of resolution options when using an M1 Mac with an ultrawide or super-ultrawide display.

There are also limitations for external monitor support, with the Mac mini able to handle two external displays, while the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro only allow one external display alongside the built-in screen.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Alex1NMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    jdb8167 said:
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Apple can't give any valid excuses for weirdness here, as they own the entire stack of hardware and software in this case.  Before, with Intel-based Macs, they could possibly state there is some issue related to the hardware and its weirdnesses that they had no input into, and they have to code around that: but, now that Apple has designed and implemented the entire stack, if the M1 Macs have weird things happening that didn't happen on Intel Macs, it's clearly Apple's fault, no ifs, ands or buts.

    By the same measure, where the M1 Macs are superior in performance in any measure, Apple also gets full credit, for the same reason.

    Unless there is proven some flaw in hardware manufacture compared to what Apple specified, Apple is entirely to blame for the whole thing.

    I've definitely seen some weird quirks with my 4K Samsung TV used as a monitor via HDMI with my M1 Mac Mini I've not seen on any other machine.  There are definitely issues Apple needs to resolve.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,244member
    jdb8167 said:
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Apple can't give any valid excuses for weirdness here, as they own the entire stack of hardware and software in this case.
    They don't own the monitor.  But regardless, my guess is that since Apple's custom silicon has only been used in iPhones and iPads until now, which don't support external displays (aside from using AirPlay, which is their own protocol), there are some teething pains to go through supporting the multitude of wired external display configurations possible on Mac.
    edited February 21 JWSCFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    auxio said:
    jdb8167 said:
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Apple can't give any valid excuses for weirdness here, as they own the entire stack of hardware and software in this case.
    They don't own the monitor.  But regardless, my guess is that since Apple's custom silicon has only been used in iPhones and iPads until now, which don't support external displays (aside from using AirPlay, which is their own protocol), there are some teething pains to go through supporting the multitude of wired external display configurations possible on Mac.
    You are wrong about AirPlay being the only way iPhones and iPads support AirPlay: my iPad Air 4 drives my 4K Sony TV just fine via the USB-C connector.

    I was curious if it would work, tested it, it did it without anything resembling a complaint.

    Yes, it did require an HDMI-Thunderbolt/USB-C adapter, but what’s important to remember is the adapter can’t possibly help the OS and the rest of the built-in hardware do something it wasn’t designed to do. I don’t have any other iDevices with USB-C to test with, I don’t know if they’ll also work.
    edited February 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    I am seeing a few quirks with my M1 Mac Mini (16GB | 1TB) - two definitely point to 3rd Party software issues ... the first, which I suspect is Apple related = video issues when waking up from sleep - it happens about 20-30% of the time where I will get a screen of white noise that goes in-and-out, or I will get random patterns that go in-and-out as the computer seems to have issues syncing up with the 1080p monitor ... after multiple attempts to get the machine to wake up with a viewable display, it will finally work ... the two software issues I am running into are Microsoft To Do will unexpectedly quit at least 1-2x per day, and Firefox has an issue that seems to be cropping up 1+ times per day where I cannot get the 7-8 tabs I have open to update (or accept input), but I can successfully quit the program Command-Q and then relaunch and Restore Previous Session (until it happens again) ... I have a 2012 Mac Mini (Quad Core i7 w/16GB) and none of these issues happen on that machine (running Mojave) ... overall, still very happy with the M1 Mac Mini ... these annoyances will go away in due time ...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Now you know why Apple released devices that were limited to 16 GB of RAM and 2 displays (whether 2 monitors for the Mac Mini or laptop display + 1 monitor for the MBA/MBP). Meaning: "pro" users - whether you are in engineering, design, programming, IT, animation etc. - were going to have no use for them. Not saying they are beta devices but still ... first gen means exactly that. Second gen fixes all the issues. So third gen is when something is truly refined (and the price drops). 
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Amazing. It even appears on my iPhone. I think T-Mobile’s behind it. Get that bug Apple!

    MplsPrundhvidFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    dkddkd said:
    I am seeing a few quirks with my M1 Mac Mini (16GB | 1TB) - two definitely point to 3rd Party software issues ... the first, which I suspect is Apple related = video issues when waking up from sleep - it happens about 20-30% of the time where I will get a screen of white noise that goes in-and-out, or I will get random patterns that go in-and-out as the computer seems to have issues syncing up with the 1080p monitor ... after multiple attempts to get the machine to wake up with a viewable display, it will finally work ... the two software issues I am running into are Microsoft To Do will unexpectedly quit at least 1-2x per day, and Firefox has an issue that seems to be cropping up 1+ times per day where I cannot get the 7-8 tabs I have open to update (or accept input), but I can successfully quit the program Command-Q and then relaunch and Restore Previous Session (until it happens again) ... I have a 2012 Mac Mini (Quad Core i7 w/16GB) and none of these issues happen on that machine (running Mojave) ... overall, still very happy with the M1 Mac Mini ... these annoyances will go away in due time ...
    Your issue of white noice that goes in-and-out is a HDMI/HDCP sync issue.  Ive seen it on my 2012 & 2018 Intel Mac minis when connected to a 4K TV as a monitor.  Try replacing the HDMI cable.  Or it simply could be that display & that Mac mini have trouble negotiating a good/secure connection until after many attempts.

    Microsoft To Do is a crappy Electron (google it) app.  Depending on how recently it was updated, I'm surprised it was updated at all.  Electron based apps (like To Do & Discord, as examples) will not run on the M1, until Electron is updated & the apps re-built. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,244member
    auxio said:
    jdb8167 said:
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Apple can't give any valid excuses for weirdness here, as they own the entire stack of hardware and software in this case.
    They don't own the monitor.  But regardless, my guess is that since Apple's custom silicon has only been used in iPhones and iPads until now, which don't support external displays (aside from using AirPlay, which is their own protocol), there are some teething pains to go through supporting the multitude of wired external display configurations possible on Mac.
    You are wrong about AirPlay being the only way iPhones and iPads support AirPlay: my iPad Air 4 drives my 4K Sony TV just fine via the USB-C connector.

    I was curious if it would work, tested it, it did it without anything resembling a complaint.

    Yes, it did require an HDMI-Thunderbolt/USB-C adapter, but what’s important to remember is the adapter can’t possibly help the OS and the rest of the built-in hardware do something it wasn’t designed to do. I don’t have any other iDevices with USB-C to test with, I don’t know if they’ll also work.
    Yeah, I forgot that the USB-C iPads support external displays via adapters.  But it's not nearly as flexible as what macOS supports (e.g. extended desktop mode).  Also, a brand new Sony 4K TV likely supports the latest version of HDMI and all the latest device control protocols.  Who knows what older, knockoff brand monitors support.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    I own a 16 GB BTO Mac Mini with Apple Silicon and there are some recurrent bugs I have not seen in my MacBook Air (Apple Silicon with the same specs) or my Intel Mac Mini running the same (current) version of the OS.

    The boot cycle on the Apple Silicon mini is kind of slow, maybe that is due to the peripherals, IDK.

     I also see the spinning beachball of death during extended web sessions with many windows having been opened that only gets right by force quitting Safari and reloading the collection of windows after reopening. My guess is that Safari is not clearing the cache out properly and running out of memory.

    Finally, the most recent build is seeing strangeness with the Apple Magic Trackpad when connected by Bluetooth. Plug it in with a USB-Lightning connector and all returns to normal. Reboot and all returns to normal. Somehow I think that is not the trackpad but is a SW issue with the ARM build of Mac OS/Safari.

    I have not seen any issues with the MBA running the same SOC and 16 GB.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    nicholfd said:
    dkddkd said:
    I am seeing a few quirks with my M1 Mac Mini (16GB | 1TB) - two definitely point to 3rd Party software issues ... the first, which I suspect is Apple related = video issues when waking up from sleep - it happens about 20-30% of the time where I will get a screen of white noise that goes in-and-out, or I will get random patterns that go in-and-out as the computer seems to have issues syncing up with the 1080p monitor ... after multiple attempts to get the machine to wake up with a viewable display, it will finally work ... the two software issues I am running into are Microsoft To Do will unexpectedly quit at least 1-2x per day, and Firefox has an issue that seems to be cropping up 1+ times per day where I cannot get the 7-8 tabs I have open to update (or accept input), but I can successfully quit the program Command-Q and then relaunch and Restore Previous Session (until it happens again) ... I have a 2012 Mac Mini (Quad Core i7 w/16GB) and none of these issues happen on that machine (running Mojave) ... overall, still very happy with the M1 Mac Mini ... these annoyances will go away in due time ...
    Your issue of white noice that goes in-and-out is a HDMI/HDCP sync issue.  Ive seen it on my 2012 & 2018 Intel Mac minis when connected to a 4K TV as a monitor.  Try replacing the HDMI cable.  Or it simply could be that display & that Mac mini have trouble negotiating a good/secure connection until after many attempts.
    ...
    HDMI/HDCP is often pointed at as the cause of a lot of display problems. I think something about the nature of the handshake between "source" and "sink" (usually a display) is perhaps not as robust as it should be. There is a constant polling to check for HDCP keys (I'm not sure what the interval is), but a glitchy connection can make things go wonky. Cables are always the first thing to check, along with dongles/adapters.

    The fault tolerance of the displays themselves can also be an issue. If the source is less than perfect (as I have seen from some Intel Mac minis), the displays can sometimes give up altogether and go to a completely blank screen.
     
    The fact that Macs always have HDCP on by default -- even if non-DRM content is being displayed -- doesn't help. (Commercial AV systems are often hindered by this). Oddly (but fortunately) it is possible to connect a non-HDCP display to a Mac. You won't be able to play DRM content, but at least you'll get your desktop, spreadsheets and the like. In the past, putting an EDID emulator that makes the Mac think it's connected to a non-HDCP monitor has helped, but I haven't had to do this for a while.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,944member
    I wonder how much of this is an Apple M1 issue vs a Big Sur issue. Since ‘upgrading’ my 2017 MBP to Big Sur, I’ve had recurrent issues with prolonged wakeups from sleep, difficulty recognizing the external monitor, etc. it seems the graphics routines in Big Sur are only half-bakes. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 14
    auxio said:
    auxio said:
    jdb8167 said:
    So many weird problems with the M1 Macs related to external monitors. I have a different problem on my M1 MacBook Air that doesn't seem to even be related to a driver issue. Like a lot of people with the new Macs, I'm having trouble waking my external monitor from sleep. I usually run in clamshell mode when I'm connected to the external monitor because it takes up less desk space. Sometimes the monitor will simply not wake up. There are several work arounds including opening the display lid, disconnecting and reconnecting the cable etc but they are all pretty inconvenient.

    I was assuming that this was another graphics driver problem but it appears to be just a problem with Big Sur and waking from sleep. I know this because I can always wake the monitor by connecting to the M1 MBA with screen sharing. It works every time unlike anything else I've tried. I'm at a loss for why Apple hasn't tracked this down and fixed it. If it is a driver issue with new hardware, they have some excuse but if it is just normal waking from sleep, why are the M1 Macs doing anything different than in the past?
    Apple can't give any valid excuses for weirdness here, as they own the entire stack of hardware and software in this case.
    They don't own the monitor.  But regardless, my guess is that since Apple's custom silicon has only been used in iPhones and iPads until now, which don't support external displays (aside from using AirPlay, which is their own protocol), there are some teething pains to go through supporting the multitude of wired external display configurations possible on Mac.
    You are wrong about AirPlay being the only way iPhones and iPads support AirPlay: my iPad Air 4 drives my 4K Sony TV just fine via the USB-C connector.

    I was curious if it would work, tested it, it did it without anything resembling a complaint.

    Yes, it did require an HDMI-Thunderbolt/USB-C adapter, but what’s important to remember is the adapter can’t possibly help the OS and the rest of the built-in hardware do something it wasn’t designed to do. I don’t have any other iDevices with USB-C to test with, I don’t know if they’ll also work.
    Yeah, I forgot that the USB-C iPads support external displays via adapters.  But it's not nearly as flexible as what macOS supports (e.g. extended desktop mode).  Also, a brand new Sony 4K TV likely supports the latest version of HDMI and all the latest device control protocols.  Who knows what older, knockoff brand monitors support.
    You’ve made the dangerous assumption I bought a brand new 4k Sony TV.  Nope! Bought a 1 year-old display model almost 3 years ago when I moved into this apartment. Not sure if there will be a problem with the link, but this is what I have: https://www.pcrichard.com/Sony/Sony-OLED-65inch-Class-Ultra-Slim-4K-Ultra-HD-Smart-TV/XBR65A1E.pcrp?irclickid=xqHy9jynBxyLUla0UfQwQyYMUkETOp3BRxVEzA0&irgwc=1&utm_source=PriceSpider&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=Online%20Tracking%20Link
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Sadly there is ZERO fix on the way for the for the pink squares appearing on screen!!

    again there will be NO FIX this is a hardware issue not a software issue!!
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