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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 15, 2019
Running Monterey 12.6.1, I have had the 14" MBP for a couple of months now and I am just running into this issue for the first time. Hooked up via HDMI to external display (Dell S2721QS), certain content will seemingly "trigger" a flickering issue. I had the same problem on my M1 mini, and was hoping against hope that it had been resolved quietly by hardware or software. It was a nightmare and the reason that I ditched the mini in the first place.

Basically, what happens is that I'll be going about my business as normal and all of a sudden something - a webpage in Chrome, album in Spotify, channel in Discord - will trigger the external display to begin flickering (then opening the lid of the laptop, it appears to be only the external display flickering and not the built-in one.) When this happens, I can switch to a different Chrome tab or go away from the artist page in Spotify or whatever, and the flickering disappears! Until I go back to that content and it comes back. But over the next 5-10 mins, the flickering will either disappear entirely or start to get worse and be flickery no matter what I'm looking at - different tabs than the original ones, etc - the desktop, the finder, you name it. A restart has *never* solved this issue in my experience, the only way to get past it is to wait it out and try to use the Mac again in a couple of hours.

As you may imagine, this is quite frustrating and makes the machine virtually unusable for no good reason, sometimes when I'm working on a deadline. When this issue occurs, the Mac is never under heavy load or being run hot or anything like that. When it happened on the mac mini and I had no "internal" display to test (which revealed to me on the 14" Pro that the issue appears to be exclusive to HDMI external displays), I *replaced* the entire display, the HDMI cable, and then even the mac mini itself and nothing solved it. Still had the issue within a few weeks, even on a replacement computer.

Does anyone else have this happen? Have you figured out any workarounds? I'm okay with bugs here and there but if anything has threatened to take me out of the Mac ecosystem entirely over the past couple of years, it's this issue.


macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2012
I have the same exact monitor (Dell S2721Q) on a Mac Studio and I get eye straining flickering when I visit certain web pages on chrome. There is a very long thread regarding the flickering issue with M1 macs / non apple monitors and possibly a fix, see:

I personally am not going to hack around my mac trying to find a fix, Apple should recognize the issue and resolve it. Never had this issue with same monitors on Windows 10. Since it only happens say once every few weeks for 10-15 minutes, I use it as an excuse to go do something else.


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Could be the particular HDMI cable you're using.
Could be something to do with the HDMI-to-display connection in general.
Could be some setting in the display.
Could be "something else".

I'd say that xraydoc has the concise answer in reply 2 above...
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