MacFixIt’s Topher Kessler reports that indications suggest a sensor or other hardware-based fault could be the root of intermittent loss of video with Apple’s mid-2013 MacBook Air systems, which seem to be plagued with a greater than average incidence of new model “teething problems.”
Kessler notes that while Apple’s latest MacBook Air systems offer attractive improvements over prior models some units — mostly but not exclusively 13-inch models — appear to be suffering from a bug that results in intermittent loss of video output during which the screen may randomly blink to black for a brief second, or go to sleep and require a button be pressed for the system to wake again, with a number of affected users having noted the problem in a lengthy and growing Apple support discussion thread.
Kessler says that the random nature of the problem suggests it is likely not software-based, so it may revolve around a physical sensor such as a magnetic switch in the lid or chassis, that could be contributing to the problem, and that we may see a firmware or software update to address the problem in the near future, but in the meantime he suggests several workarounds.
He also notes that a similar, though unrelated, bug was experrienced with the Mid-2010 MacBook Pro, in which a faulty series of graphics cards plagued those systems with regular crashes and black screens. In that case, Apple addressed the issue with a software update, though subsequent OS updates and upgrades have brought the issue back or exacerbated it for some systems. While the relationship between the two issues is at most analogical, it does give one a bit of pause about the otherwise quite delectible mid-2013 MacBook Air.
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