Swapping to DVI May Solve MacBook Air Video Problems



People have had complaints about video problems on the MacBook Air since they were first released. I encountered some video problems initially, but after the plethora of updates that Apple has released the video problems haven’t returned.

These updates and suggested fixes worked for some, but unfortunately they didn’t work for everyone. People are still complaining on Apple Discussion Forums about problems they are encountering when connecting their MacBook Airs to external displays.

People were hoping that the next Mac OS X release would solve these problems. That update, Mac OS X 10.6.7, was released yesterday.

It didn’t solve the problem for some people, but we’ve gotten some clues on how to  resolve the problem for others.

Swap From VGA To DVI

The problem with external displays connecting via Mini DisplayPort to VGA persist according to forum discussions even after the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update. The problem is still somewhat hit or miss – some people claim they have no problems like me, while others claim they do.

However, it seems to me that some users on Apple’s Discussion Forums are blaming the problem on the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter, because people who switch to the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter report good results after switching to DVI.

So one fix may be simply swapping the adapter used from VGA to DVI.

Lower The Screen Resolution On VGA

The second solution offered by some users on the Apple Discussion Forums is to lower the screen resolution below 1920×1080 at 60Hz for the external display when using the VGA adapter. The flickering or other video problems disappear after changing the resolution.


Unfortunately, I’m not able to confirm whether these solutions work or not because currently I cannot recreate the problem on my MacBook Air and external Dell monitor.

If any of these solutions work for you please leave a comment about your experience. This has been a very puzzling problem to resolve for many users. Hopefully Apple will come up with a more permanent solution at some point.

[Via Apple Discussion Forums: MacBook Air 11″ Screen “Flicker” and Freeze, External SVGA screen has strange flicker/interference on top resolution, and VGA adapter can’t handle 1920×1080@60Hz ?]


  • itm9

    I have the MacBook Air 13″ and it’s screen seems to freeze just about every hour which sucked the first time because I had unsaved documents open. I wonder if I’m not the only one with this problem.

  • itm9

    By the way I have the latest update 10.6.7


    Are people still using VGA? :E I gave up that horror around 10 years ago.

  • Barbara

    I have to use VGA during classes at the university where I work. The classroom technology includes older projectors and I don’t get paid enough to buy my own and haul it around campus. I hope Apple gets the problem resolved soon, or I’ll have to start carrying around the netbook my department thinks is sufficient for my use.

  • Not Here

    Has anybody tried the Adaptor from Monoprice.com? I am not affiliated, just a very happy customer with all y purchases from there. I have bought other adaptors from them that seemed to be higher quality than the much more expensive Apple ones.

  • sea2dca

    A little late here, but I just recently found this post after experiencing the flicker issue on an external display from a 13″ MBA. Switching to DVI did the trick.