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FAQ: Mac settings that can affect monitor accuracy

The Mac OS has a number of settings that can affect how accurately the monitor displays color.On a Mac running any of the more current Mac OS versions (10.10, 10.11, 10.12, 10.13) there are a number of Mac settings that you will want to have correctly set before you create a monitor profile with X-Rite equipment.

Start first in the Mac System Preferences, Displays. Here you'll find a slider for brightness and likely a checkbox for "Automatically adjust brightness". You want that option unchecked, so your Mac isn't automatically changing how bright the screen is, as your room light levels change.

Now go over to the Color Tab in the Displays window, and you'll see one of the profiles in this list that is highlighted. That's the profile your Mac screen is currently using. Make note of which one that is.

The next tab over if you're using 10.12 or 10.13 is Night Shift. This feature is designed to change the color temperature of the monitor based on time of day. You do NOT want to use this feature if you want accurate color on screen!

Go back to the System Preferences window again, and this time go to Accessibility (will have a circular icon with outstretched arms). Go to Display in this window. Check Reduce transparency, and this will take away the transparency of the top menu and the dock. This transparency can have a slight impact on color accuracy, so turning it off is advised.

However, the much more important control is the slider control on this window that is labeled "Display Contrast". This MUST stay at the Normal position. Even a very small movement of this slider will make a change in contrast on your screen that will render any color control incorrect, and in a very big way. This feature is there to permit people with visual challenges to better read text documents on screen, but it can be mistaken for a more traditional contrast control. It's not.

Windows PC users will be familiar with most of their monitors having a contrast control, but Mac monitors (Apple brand) typically do not have contrast controls. The monitor profile you create using our software will handle the correct setting of contrast when it build the profile. Not having a contrast control is a design strategy from Apple and not a limitation.

Once you've reviewed these settings, you're good to launch your X-Rite display profiling software and build a new profile. We recommend you do this at least once a month.

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