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27" display with 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution Thunderbolt & MagSafe cable attachments

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Cable replaced. Everything ok, but no screen. What could be the cause?

The cable that comes out of the back of my Apple Thunderbolt Display was fraying. I decided that rather than risk a short at some point, I'd preemptively replace the cable. Upon iFixit teardown photos, I decided to replace the cable that comes out of the back of the screen myself instead of paying nearly $200 to get an Apple Service Provider to do it here in Bangkok. Bought the cable on AliExpress for $12. Replaced it. And ... no dice. Screen did not come on.

My setup

[MacBook Air] ---- [Thunderbolt Display] --- [Thunderbolt drive] --- [Cinema Display]

with a USB drive and Ethernet plugged into the back of the Thunderbolt Display

Already tried

  • Initial thoughts were that the cable was faulty. But then I noticed Ethernet came on, the USB drive was mounted, Thunderbolt drive was mounted and after a reboot the Cinema Display also come on. Obviously, the cable was working just fine.
  • Second thought was that I had neglected to reconnect some cables that connect the LCD panel to the main logic board. I checked. Seemed just fine.
  • Third was that perhaps the cable serial number was somehow tied to the main logic board. So I put the old cable back. Still no screen.
  • Tried to connect the screen using an external Thunderbolt cable, everything worked equally well but still no image on the screen.
  • Tried 30+ seconds and 3+ hours unplugged as a 'reset' of the screen. No change.
  • Rebooted my laptop. No change.
  • Plugged the Thunderbolt Display into the drive and then into the MacBook, so change the sequence of devices. No change.
  • System Information reports under "Thunderbolt" the whole chain of devices, but under "Graphics/Displays" shows only the internal screen and Cinema Display.
  • Using the newly-purchased cable as an external Thunderbolt cable works just fine too.


Does anybody have any suggestions on what to try next?

Does the logic board go into some kind of lockdown mode when replacing the cable?

Are there more than 3 connecting flat cables + ground connection between the panel and the main logic board?

Although there is no reason to assume it has been, how do I test the LCD panel to still function given all these flat cable connectors?

Note: There are no Apple Stores here. Apple Authorised Service providers are no help. They suggested replacing the cable and the panel at a cost that is nearly the same as buying a new screen.

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Some of the cables that connect the LCD panel to the main logic board, are very short. Be careful when lifting the LCD panel up, as you will pull cables away with force once you lift it more than a 2-3 inches on the camera module side.

The shortest cable of all is the LVDS cable. A short cable with a gold-plated connector. Although I had reconnected this cable on the logic board side, I had incorrectly assumed the other end of the cable had remained connected due to all the tape used on. Somebody with experience fixing these things said its common for this cable to come undone by force, and to be sure to check both ends of the cable. When I peeled back the tape, I found it had indeed been disconnected. Plugging it back in, fiddling with the tiny working space to get the logic board side of that cable properly secured again, and we were back in business.

Apple Authorised Service Providers here in Bangkok quoted me $200 to replace the cable. I ordered the replacement Thunderbolt Display cable off AliExpress for $12.50. It was really straight forward to replace the cable, just keep an eye out for that darn LVDS cable when opening up the screen!

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Do all the cables need to be plugged in in order to get any kind of response from the screen? Or Can I just plug in a power cable and have some kind of picture displayed? After opening and closing, I have reseated the LVDS cable from both ends, no picture but when plugged into a macbook pro the power adapter cable LED lights up showing it is plugged in.


@robdejonge you are a LIFESAVER. I just replaced the cable on my TB display, and to my horror, everything but the screen was working – power to my MacBook, USB ports on the back of the display, speakers on the display, all fine, but no picture.

I double and triple checked all the motherboard connectors were secure. I even undid everything and went back to using the old cable – and still no picture. And then I thought "Somebody must have encountered this problem before on the iFixit forums", and lo and behold, you point out the now blindingly obvious. There’s a connector behind that tape! THANK YOU!

I peeled back the tape where that ridiculously short LVDS cable meets the display, made sure the connector was properly seated, taped it back up again, and BOOM. Pictures on the screen. Why they couldn’t have given a bit more slack on that cable, or more sturdy connectors, I’ll never know. But at least I can be thankful that I found this post before throwing the display out of the window.


@zarino Oh wow! I had exactly the same problem; even bought a new power and TB y-cable but nothing: everything worked except the screen itself (also didn't appear in Monitors). Reseating the lvds flat cable and lo and behold: it works. Perfectly. Bedankt, @robdejonge !


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