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Flickering desktop when working on OSX with MMA 11.0.0

Posted 3 years ago
21 Replies
7 Total Likes

Hi everyone,

I just wonder whether anyone else experiences some artefacts such as a flickering desktop when using MMA 11.0.0. It is not very easy to see on this gif

enter image description here

but one I rotate for example a 3D anatomical structure

AnatomyPlot3D[Entity["AnatomicalStructure", "Head"]]

or use certain documentation pages such as Spectrogram on my MacBook

enter image description here

I get weird horizontal lines flickering all over the screen. Also part of the main menu on top of the desktop (not captured in the animation above) goes black. On MacPros (non-retina) I do not observe this issue. I can check some retina MacPros tomorrow and other hardware.

enter image description here

Can anyone reproduce this?

Cheers, Marco

21 Replies

Ok, I do not see that on my other MacBook Pros with retina display. I even do not see this on an early 2015 MacBook.



Apart from rotating excruciatingly slow, i see no flickering (MacOS el capitan, V11, retina mbp)

Dear @Sander Huisman ,

thanks a lot for that. I only get this on the 2016 version of the MacBook. The flickering goes on even if Mathematica is closed. It does stop if I swipe to a different desktop and then swipe back. I have asked someone to test on the exact same MacBook.

This thing makes it quite annoying to work on the MacBook, but luckily it seems to be quite a peculiar problem on that particular hardware.

Thanks again,


Anonymous User
Anonymous User
Posted 3 years ago


POSTED BY: Anonymous User

I don't see the issue on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013), also running 10.11.6. Rotation is a bit sluggish, though. This computer has a NVIDIA GPU, which I presume is turned on.

On My MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014), running the latest beta of macOS Sierra, I see flickering, and then the computer crashed. This computer is using the built-in Intel graphics.

There could also be problems with RAM constraints. The image is a bit large, and my 13 inch MBP has only 8 Gbytes RAM.

So, my guess is that this is a real issue. I'll file a bug report.

I see the same issue on my machine (same as OP):

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
  • Processor 1.3 GHz Intel Core m7
  • Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3
  • Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515 1536 MB
  • OS X El Capitan Version 10.11.6
  • Mathematica 11.0.0 for Mac OS X x86 (64-bit) (July 28, 2016)

Had a similar though more pronounced graphics/display issue with a 2010 11" Macbook Air. If I remember correctly then Apple replaced that machine.

Not a full troubleshooting procedure, but I tried a few variations:

  1. Changed "Head" to "Hand". The flickering is much worse and persistent when scrolling the notebook. The entire menubar disappears to black with a little white noise near the apple menu.
  2. Deleted the input and output cell. The flickering continued.
  3. Tried the "Hand" again. Switching apps and back to Mathematica stops the flickering until the output cell is rotated again--even when scrolling the notebook.
  4. According to Activity Monitor, CPU and Memory usage is minimal/moderate while rotating the hands and observing the flickering.

So, the problem seems to show up with MacBooks and MacBook Pros that do not have a dedicated graphics processor. My 15in MBP is older and has a NVIDIA GPU. Does anyone have a newer 15in MBP with an AMD GPU.

I sent a bug report with the crash log from my 'wimpy' Retina 13 inch MBP. When I tried to duplicate the code, I got some weird graphics performance. I made a short movie with my iPhone and sent it to tech support.

no response yet.

Note that it works fin on the 2015 MacBook but not on the 2016 MacBook.



PS: On the MacBook Pros it seems to work fine.

Tried running the code for the new post "On making a 3D globe" (thread) and found that it completely crashes Mathematica on both 2016 MacBook and Mid-2013 11" MacBook Air. Edit: reported to Apple through the crash dialog and will send bug report to Wolfram.

For the MacBook Pros that have no problems: Can we specify if they have a dedicated graphics processor.

I have no problem with my 15 inch MacBook Pro that has a dedicated processor (an extra cost option for the 15 inch), whereas the 13 inch MBP, the MacBook Airs, and the current MacBooks all use the integrated Intel graphics.

For iMacs, I just looked at current offerings: the 21.5 inch all have integrated Intel Graphics, and the 27 inch all have dedicated GPUs. I think that this has been the case for some time.

I was a beta tester for version 11, and I think I missed this issue because 1) I wasn't working with 3D graphics at the time of the beta test, and 2) when I was, I used my more powerful computer.

I got an e-mail from tech support, and apparently they cannot reproduce this problem -- I sent them crash reports and a video. I encourage anyone who has this issue to contact tech support and let them know.

You could let them know my case number: [CASE:3685608] Issue with 3D graphics rendering on Mac OS

just in case.

They did notice that rotating the graphic was very slow.

I also reported my problems just now with reference to this thread and your CASE id.

I also had a colleague check the same thing on the exact same MacBook (not Pro!!!) and this is reproducable. With that and @Timothy Ewing's result we have not 3 confirmed cases of MacBooks 2016 with that problem.

Best wishes, Marco

I tried turning off anti-aliasing (moved the slider in preferences all the way to the left), and the glitches went away. Not sure if this is treating the symptom or the problem.

This was with a 13 Inch Retina MacBook Pro (2013 wish) that has only Intel Graphics.

If anyone wants to test this, I can pass the information along to tech support.

I am seeing the same lack of glitches on the 2016 MacBook after moving the slider all the way to the left (No Antialiasing).

I need to periodically make presentations, so I just bought and tested the Apple USB-C to VGA adapter. Regardless of having the Mathematica window located on the external display or the built-in display, the built-in display shows the glitches when rotating the head (slider back to Highest Quality)--though the glitches are not as persistent or noticeable.

Yes, I can confirm that. No glitches when anti-aliasing is off on MacBook 2016. As I said before, on the MacBook 2015 I do not see any problems at all with or without antialiasing. All graphics objects rotate very slowly though.



I confirm the flickering while rotating anything 3D, for example Graphics3D[Sphere[]]. The flickering goes away by turning antialiasing off. My machine is a MacBook Retina 12-inch, early 2016, latest OS. I hope I don't run into trouble when making presentations with a projector.

Anonymous User
Anonymous User
Posted 3 years ago

macbook pro 2016 without retina - isn't currently offered?

have Intel Iris Graphics 6100

macbook non-retina is offered currently with: Intel HD Graphics 515

either way your right. these cards do not support all OpenGL or other features hardware (i'm unsure if hardware anti-aliasing is one of them or of a different kind). the drivers are supposed to fill in what they dont do (emulate, or HAL sometimes called), but drivers emulating OpenGL version N.M often do need to be updated to work when newly released. intel does release fixed drivers (has done so recently for linux and windows10)

you should contact apple - perhaps an update will be available soon using the normal update features

an example is the Intel Iris Pro 6200. gamers complained of glitches upon first release on Apple. however an update was released that fixed the complaints

POSTED BY: Anonymous User
Anonymous User
Anonymous User
Posted 3 years ago

? some medical animations can be quite intricate and use excessive memory

another thing to keep in mind is memory usage. Mathematica and El Capitan may give you indications how much is used.

3D cards are well known to do strange things if you exceed the memory capacity

keep in mind on that machine some of the memory is "shared" between macbook memory and OpenGL realtime rendering memory. i glean from the issue that the rendering is slow given any options that it may be an intricate model

POSTED BY: Anonymous User

Your information is a bit out of date. This issue has been confirmed to be a problem with mathematica 11. The issue appears with much simpler 3D graphics than the new medical images introduced in version 11, and several people have confirmed that the memory and CPU pressure even on simply machines is well within normal limits.

Granted that the rotation speed will be slow on slower machines, especially those without dedicated GPUs. However, that is not the issue here.

You may have noticed that most people who contribute to this community use their real names. It might be nice if you did so too.


I'm also not sure why he doesn't display his last name, but if you are curious you could follow the link on his profile to

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