How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina

Find that your photos are flickering when scrolling on your Mac (running macOS Catalina)?

In this time of crisis, we are forced to stay home and if possible, work from home. This is why it is crucial that your Mac must work with no issues. To ensure that, you made sure that you use the latest version of the operating system, the macOS Catalina.

But what if the screen on your Mac flickers when you are scrolling your image files?

A number of macOS Catalina users from the Apple Support communities page reported that the same issue is disturbing them all the time. This can be very frustrating especially when it turns your Mac into a completely useless machine.

This is why we made this article for you today. We will provide you a step-by-step procedure on how to identify the possible causes of this issue. With this, you will be able to know how to fix photos flickering when scrolling on your macOS Catalina issue.

Let’s dive right in!


1. Adjust Screen Resolution.

Your Mac’s display resolution determines the size of objects and text on your screen. But not all screens can support high-resolution settings.

If you force your graphics card to unsupported high screen resolutions, it will malfunction. Hence in order to fix this issue, you will need to lower your display resolution.

To do this, simply click on the Apple menu icon on your macOS Catalina and click on the System Preferences option.

Then, click the Displays option and choose Display. Now choose Scaled option and adjust the value to lower resolution settings on the drop-down menu.


How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina


Adjusting the screen resolution will help you fix the photos flickering when scrolling on the macOS Catalina issue.

But if you test the new settings and the problem is still there, let’s just move to the next method to find a perfect fix.



2. Adjust the Display Settings.

A workaround was mentioned by a number of Mac users that helped them fix their flickering screen issues.

Apparently, they have observed that this issue occurs after their Mac comes back from Sleep mode. The fix was to disable the feature where your screen automatically turns off during idle time.

To do this, click on the Apple menu icon and go to the System Preferences of your macOS Catalina. Then click on the Energy Saver option and click on the Power Adapter tab. Set the value of Turn Display Off After slider to Never.


How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina


Do the same in the Battery tab settings as well.

After adjusting your Mac’s display settings, you won’t have photos flickering when scrolling on the macOS Catalina issue again.



3. Switch to Graphic Card for Display.

Depending on the Mac version you’re on, there is a feature on certain versions that allow you to switch from the external to the onboard graphics card.

Although this feature can help you preserve the battery life, it has been reported to be a buggy feature for some Mac units. As a workaround, you need to disable it for the meantime.

To do that, you need to click on the Apple menu icon and then the System Preferences. Then click on the Energy Saver option and uncheck the Automatic Graphics Switching checkbox to disable it.


How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina


If it allows you to choose which graphics card to use, choose the one that does not trigger the flickering screen issue.



4. Use an External Monitor.

If you are using a Macbook, there is a chance that your LED screen is having a hardware issue. In times that you need it to work, you can try to connect an external monitor.

With this, you should be able to view your screen from that monitor without any issues.

To do that, connect your external monitor to your Macbook using HDMI or DVI cable. Then click on the Apple menu, then System Preferences, and then click Displays. Now, click the Arrangement tab.

Make sure to check the Mirror Displays checkbox to enable the duplicate screen view.


How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina


You should be able to see your screen now on your external monitor. However, this is a quick fix if you are in a rush or need to work on your Mac as soon as possible.

To fix your screen’s hardware issue, you’ll probably need to contact Apple Support for thorough help. We’ll help you do that in Method 10 of this guide.



5. Boot in Safe Mode.

Booting your Mac into Safe Mode clears your system and allows the kernel cache to be rebuilt after it boots up.

This allows the corrupted system files that might be causing this issue to be deleted. This is a crucial process when your macOS is not functioning correctly.

To do this, your Mac should be completely off. Then, press the Power button to turn it on and hold the Shift key upon hearing the start-up sound.


How to Fix Photos Flickering When Scrolling on macOS Catalina


Release the key when you see a login window and the label ‘Safe Mode’ on the upper-right section.

If the issue does not happen during ‘Safe Mode’, you will need to check if your applications are up to date. Also, remove any non-essential accessories connected to your Mac.



6. Reset System Management Controller (SMC).

Resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) can resolve issues related to your Mac’s core features — power, battery, thermal management, and LED indicators.

Doing this process should be able to fix the issue you’re encountering with the photos flickering when scrolling.

Here’s how you reset the SMC on your Macbook:

  1. First, make sure to shut down your Mac and wait for a minute.
  2. Next, press and hold the Control, Option, and Shift keys together with the power button.



  1. Then, keep holding these keys for 10 seconds.
  2. Finally, release the keys and press the Power button to power back on your Mac.

This process is applicable to Macbooks with a non-removable battery introduced in 2009 or later. To know how to reset SMC with different types of Mac, you can learn more about what to do.



7. Reset Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM).

Resetting the NVRAM (Nonvolatile random-access memory) on your Mac will help clear the cache that stores the parameter settings on your Mac. Having corrupted cached data on your Mac may be what’s causing this issue.

After the process, it should fix the flickering issue caused by corrupted cached settings.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, press and hold the Power button on your Mac until you see the screen turns black.
  2. Next, wait for a minute and press the Power button again to turn on your Mac.
  3. Then, immediately press Command, Option, P, and R keyboard keys when you hear the startup sound.



  1. Finally, wait for your Mac to restart and release the keys when you hear the startup sound again.

By resetting the NVRAM you’ll be able to clear the corrupted and unnecessary cached data on your Mac.

If the issue still persists, we recommend you to check the next method to learn how to update your Mac to the latest macOS Catalina version.



8. Update to the Latest macOS Catalina Version.

You cannot overlook the fact that the reason why you’re experiencing issues with photos flickering could be a bug that is the result of a recent macOS update you’ve installed.

Hence to fix this, you will need to download the latest patches provided by Apple.

You can do this by clicking on the Apple Menu icon on your Mac, click on System Preferences and click Software Update.



Follow the remaining instructions and provide the necessary details like device passcode if applicable. After the process, your photos should be viewable without any issues.



9. Wipe and Reinstall macOS Catalina.

If you are still experiencing the issue, you may need to rebuild the whole operating system itself. But before proceeding, you will need to understand the risk of losing all the data on your Mac.

We do advise that if you don’t have the technical background to do this, that you proceed to the last method and reach out to Apple to do it for you. If you’re capable, then you may proceed ahead with the steps below.

Here’s wipe and reinstall macOS Catalina on your Mac:

  1. First, make sure you back up your files on your Mac and connect it to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.
  2. Then, click on the Get option and download the macOS Catalina installer.
  3. On the message prompt, click Confirm to download the software and ignore the message warning about an older version macOS.
  4. After the download has completed, DO NOT click the Open option.
  5. Now, create a bootable installer using a flash disk of macOS Catalina and then restart your Mac.
  6. When you hear the startup sound. press and hold the Command and R keys until your Mac reboots again in Recovery Mode.
  7. Next, click on the Disk Utility option and click on Continue.



  1. Select your Mac’s startup disk, click on Erase at the top of the screen and label the file to continue.
  2. You may select AFPS or Mac OS Extended (journaled) depending on your hard drive and click Erase to confirm the process.



  1. After that, connect your bootable disk and restart your Mac.
  2. Then, press and hold the Option key and select your macOS Catalina bootable disk.
  3. Finally, follow the remaining instructions to complete the installation of your macOS Catalina.

This should fix the issue on your operating system. But in the Apple Support Community, some were able to fix it by downgrading their OS to macOS Mojave beta.

You need to sign up first for Apple Developer Program to proceed. If you decide to do it, you can use this method but make sure you download and create the desired macOS.



10. Connect with Apple Support.

If none of the above solutions have helped to solve the issue, then it’s recommended that you bring in your Mac machine into the Apple Store to have the experts check it.

You can visit them at your nearest Apple Store. Just be sure to check your warranty options before proceeding with any service charges.



If your country is still under lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis, be sure to check your available options for repair. In some countries, you can book a repair appointment online and just send them your Mac using a delivery service. After that, you should be able to check repair status updates online as well.



As we end this guide, we hope you have learned how to fix the photos flickering when scrolling issues on your macOS Catalina. If you have questions related to this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below. Remember to always be vigilant and stay safe.


If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂



  • Mako Young

    Mako is a staff writer at Saint. He's been writing about tech for more than a decade. When he isn't reading about the latest news on Apple, he's busy studying cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, cloud computing, and other IT-related sectors. His exceptional work graces technology and Apple-related blogs like How-To Geek,, Macgasm, onMac, PhotoWorkout, GameRant, and many more. He also has a Bachelors in Computer Science and has been writing since 2018, with over 400 posts published. LinkedIn X (Twitter)

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