How to Calibrate Your Monitor in Mac OS X

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You'll get the best viewing experience from your monitor if you calibrate it. Mac OS X's calibrating tool takes just minutes to use and will ensure colors are accurate when you're working with photos, watching videos, and even playing games.

The Display Calibrator Assistant walks you through the calibration process. Before you begin, make sure your monitor has been turned on for at least half an hour (so it's properly warmed up) and clean.

1. Open System Preferences and click Displays.

system displays2. Click the Calibrate button on the Color tab.

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3. Click Continue to start the display calibrator.

calibrate assistant

Follow the steps in the assistant to calibrate your monitor. These will instruct you to:

  • Set contrast as high as possible and adjust your monitor's brightness. You'll need to use your monitor's on-screen controls for this--usually accessed from a menu button on the front of your monitor.
    calibrate brightness
  • Select a target white point, the tint for your display. Apple recommends using the native white point.
    calibrate whitepoint
  • Decide whether or not to make your settings the default for other Mac users.calibrate admin
  • For some displays, you may also be able to adjust the display's gamma and luminance.

After giving your calibration settings a profile name, they'll be set as the default monitor settings.

If you have more than one monitor, use the calibration assistant on one monitor and then try to get the additional monitor to match as closely as possible. Test patterns that you can use to compare both monitors, such as those provided by Display Calibration can help.

Display Calibration can also help you customize your Mac's monitor even further than Apple's calibration tool. If you need a professional level of color accuracy, you could invest in a colorimeter, such as the Datacolor Spyder5PRO. For quickly getting more accurate looking images, though, the Display Calibrator Assistant is the simple tool for the job.

Add a comment
  • Peter Collins Says:

    For OS 10.13.6, I was able to get the "Shift-Option" method per Ian Goss below to work. I have an older MacBook Air (~2011) and OS 10.14 etc is not available.

  • Ray Page Says:

    Please note, the latest Mac OS 10.14.1 Mojave is quite different.
    Thanks for the work you did here though.

  • Ian Goss Says:

    This does not work as described on El Capitan—I cannot speak for Yosemite, as I have never installed it.

    Step 2: the user needs to hold down Shift and Option when clicking on *Calibrate*. The traditional calibration sequence will then be displayed.

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