I was charging my iPhone last night through my laptop (in a foreign country), and I closed the lid on my 15" Macbook Pro... When I unplugged my iPhone from the USB Port this morning, I heard the hard drive turn on, or maybe it was just the fan, but I just put my laptop in my backpack and didn't bother to check if it was on or off.

4 or 5 hours later, I go to wake it up from sleep mode. It had a hard-rubber case on it, which had a lot of holes for air, but could it be a possible overheating problem? My computer is 2 years old + (silver keys, with a mousepad/mouse-button), and here are some things I've already tried:

  1. Rebooting while holding down the shift button, nothing happened.
  2. Rebooting while holding down Command + Option + R + P... heard the chiming noise about 5 times, nothing happened.
  3. Unplugging the power adapter, taking out the battery, and holding down the power button for 10-15 seconds.

I'm so scared that I'm out of options and this happened so randomly. I'm in a foreign country as I stated before and don't have my startup DVD with me or anything. I use my laptop for work as well as finding directions while I'm on my trip, and it is very important that I find a solution fast, so thanks in advance! I don't think the country I'm in has an Apple Store, but there are repair shops that claim they do Apple jobs (who knows if they're certified, but I still have a warranty, and I don't want to pay).

If you want me to clarify, the screen is verrrrrry dark. If I squint very hard it looks like somebody is holding a faint candle up to the screen. It seems like the computer is still in "clamshell mode" and still thinks the lid is closed, but the computer is on.

I will try to plug it into an external monitor for now, but do you guys have any experience with this? Your help is appreciated!


If you can see a faint image on the screen, then the backlight is not working. You should be able to use a bright flashlight to see a little bit of the screen (from the front, or from behind the Apple logo) to make sure that the computer is otherwise starting up OK. Two ideas:

  • Try adjusting the backlight using the brightness keys on the keyboard. Turn it up all the way.
  • Try resetting the SMC (it sounds like you may have already done something like this, but try again with the order and timing described in the article).

When a USB device is (dis)connected, the computer should wake up and go back to sleep after a few seconds. Was it hot when you took it out of the backpack?

| improve this answer | |

Resetting the PRAM was a good move. Next, you need to try to reset the PMU, the directions for which are here http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1431

Do write back and let us know how it worked.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    These instructions are for older laptops, newer ones have an SMC. – s4y Mar 11 '11 at 16:44
  • You're right; I only discovered the SMC once I started to have power problems. – msanford Mar 16 '11 at 15:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.