Apple Explains How to Custom Calibrate the New MacBook Pro Displays

In a new support document, Apple has detailed how to measure and fine-tune the calibration of the display on the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

macbook pro 3
The new MacBook Pro models feature XDR displays with mini-LED backlighting and support for one billion colors, but certain workflows may require custom calibration:

Every MacBook Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display undergoes a state-of-the-art factory display calibration process on the assembly line to ensure the accuracy of the P3 wide color panel and the individual backlight LEDs. In addition, the factory calibration process enables sophisticated built-in algorithms to accurately reproduce a variety of color spaces used by media workflows today, including sRGB, BT.601, BT.709,​ and even P3-ST.2084 (HDR).

The factory display calibration process lets MacBook Pro users enjoy an exceptional viewing experience right out of the box. If your workflow requires custom calibration, you can measure your display, then fine-tune the calibration.

The process involves using a spectroradiometer and a set of QuickTime movie test patterns from Apple to evaluate the calibration of the display. The test patterns can be downloaded from the AVFoundation page on Apple's website under Related Resources > Color Test Patterns, with complete instructions available in Apple's support document.

In System Preferences > Displays, users can fine-tune the calibration of the MacBook Pro's display by providing the white point and luminance values measured by the spectroradiometer and the expected values for their target.

Apple's support document includes additional tips for measuring and fine-tuning the calibration.

Related Roundup: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

luxnova Avatar
5 weeks ago

Colorimetry Research CR-300
Price: $15,990.00 :mad: Apple M1 Max $3,499.00
I found a way to do with X-Rite device. Woraking on a video guide. Will share here when it is done
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sowelu Avatar
5 weeks ago
So wait... They removed or hid the built in Display Calibration Assistant and color profiles for these presets where you are limited to adjusting the white point and luminance only? Apple's factory calibrations have always been and continue to be awful (to my eyes) - and the default calibration on the XDR displays are no exception. Color correction and color profiles are a big part of display calibration.

If you like displays with a dingy green hue and with reds that border on dark orange, you're all set. If you prefer to calibrate your display using the built in and easy to use Display Calibration Assistant, Apple decided that their factory calibrations are the best, and 'pros' shouldn't be able to color correct the displays on their $4,000++ MacBooks using a simple built in tool that has been around for decades.

See my thread here ('https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/cant-calibrate-display-14-macbook-pro-missing-color-button-calibration-option.2319627/') for more info and a workaround. I certainly hope they unhide the Display Calibration Assistant and color profiles option - both color profiles and presets can coexist. I was surmising that hey hid this option because of its new wonky behavior when you do finally access it and they are trying to fix it, but now I am not so sure.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macbetta Avatar
5 weeks ago

I have worked with professional colour measuring equipment from a.o. VeriVide. If you need to really trust your monitor for color accuracy you need to constantly re calibrate based on the number of viewing hours. You can’t say it’s factory calibrated so I don’t need that, it doesn’t work that way. Also whitepoint calibration is absolutely not enough to do this and that is by no means a “professional” calibration. So it sounds nice but it’s not enough for people who make money by trusting color accurate displays.
I think it depends on the industry you work in, or what in specific you're working on. I'm a professional graphic designer currently working for a massive food manufacturer and wholesaler. We don't obsess over color accuracy this much even though 90% of what we design gets printed on a box, label, product, etc. We calibrate monitors maybe once a month at the most usually. Usually once the colors are chosen we don't need to worry about it that much unless we're checking proofs, especially if they're spot colors. (you can also use physical pantone swatches to check stuff like spot colors) Someone editing text on a label does not need to see the colors 100% accurate, at that point the colors have already been determined on a good screen that's calibrated. I use a 5K iMac at work and the out of the box color accuracy is actually almost passable for print, in fact I don't think anyone would notice if it weren't my job to care about it. So I think its a bit disingenious to say "its not enough for people who make money by trusting color accurate displays". The company I work for makes a ridiculous amount of money, requires color accuracy, and we very rarely have an issue with colors printing wrong. (over a year without incident and the last one was a new hires mistake that had nothing to do with color inaccuracy on a monitor)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
David Abrams Avatar
5 weeks ago
Hi All,

While this isn't the entire story, as it can get very complex, I would like to share a bit of knowledge regarding how Apple's Color Management functions today. Additionally, we were able to calibrate the MacBook Pro w/XDR Display and have included some data. (spoiler: the display calibrates extremely well). Please keep in mind that while we provide data for SDR @ Rec.709 and HDR @ P3, there are many color management targets and scenarios with their own idiosyncrasies that may require consideration.

The Mac is able to display multiple windows that may have different color spaces (targets); as such, it is important to 'manage' the system so that a window (or app) that may be in the sRGB color space will be accurately represented next to another window in a different color space such as Rec.709 or Adobe RGB. To do this, the display profile would inform the color management system as to how the connected display is optimized; at which point, the OS will transform the various color spaces for representation on the target display. In content production, this is similar to applying a LUT (Lookup Table).

sRGB (source) > Apple Color Management > P3-D65 display

In the above scenario Apple Color Management will take an application in sRGB and transform it into the P3-D65 color space. Where this becomes tricky is when a display is unable to fully represent the color space of the source. For example, currently available displays are not quite capable of hitting the Rec.2020, ST.2084 HDR standard-- the standard has a larger color volume and a higher max nit level at 10,000 nits. Apple's specification for the MacBook Pro XDR Display only achieves 1,600 nits. When this happens, some form of tone mapping occurs in an effort to accurately represent the entire image without blowing the highlights out. We can go down a very large rabbit hole with this. :)

In terms of the MacBook Pro XDR, we found the out-of-box measurements to be quite good on the sample tested; of course, there may be manufacturing tolerances where one may be further off, but overall the display wasn't terrible. Thankfully, Apple provides the 'Fine-Tune Calibration' in order to accommodate for out-of-the-box variables and drift over time.

Using the 'Patterns Test Generator ('https://apps.apple.com/us/app/patterns-test-generator/id1534335155?mt=12')' available on the Mac App Store (disclosure: we are involved in this app), and the Calman Ultimate Calibration Software ('https://www.portrait.com/calman-calibration-software/') (we are not involved in this app), we tested various color spaces and how Apple's Color Management handles them. The data attached was taken after both display warm-up and a Fine-Tune Calibration.

SDR


- MacBook Pro XDR set to the 'HDTV Video (BT.709-BT1886)' Preset.
- Patterns Test Generator set to tag patterns (content) as 'BT.709 @ BT.1886'

HDR

- MacBook Pro XDR set to the 'HDR Video (P3-ST 2084)' Preset.
- Patterns Test Generator set to tag patterns (content) as 'Tone Mapped HDR (P3 @ ST 2084)'

We have provided three charts for each SDR and HDR. They are:

Grayscale-EOTF

This chart measures the grayscale from 0% (black) to 100% white. Here we are looking for the RGB Color Balance to line-up on top of each other and for the response curve (EOTF) to track the yellow line. There are two quantifications of error included-- DeltaE 2000 and DeltaE ITP. DeltaE 2000 is most commonly used with SDR content and Delta ITP is most commonly associated with HDR content; however, a truly accurate monitor will have low numbers on both. ?

Saturation Sweeps

This chart tracks color saturation at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. While many reviewers like to only measure 100% to see how far out the primaries can go, the reality is that very few colors are actually at 100% saturation. The sweeps provide a way to validate if the signal is being mapped into the proper color space.

Color Checker

While the grayscale and saturation sweeps provide quality data, they don't provide any data outside of the primary and secondary colors. To achieve a more well rounded image (pun intended) of how the system is performing a color checker chart provides an quick and efficient way to further test the system. Of course, we could even go further and measure larger datasets of the color volume, but for now these will suffice.

Summary

As the results illustrate, the Fine-Tune Calibration is an effective way to dial in the MacBook Pro XDR display. Please note that while we are evaluating color balance, color space, response curves, we are not evaluating local dimming, blooming (halos) and other things that contribute to what is called a 'reference display'. After all, color calibration is only part of the battle to quality images. :)

Best,

David Abrams

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
luxnova Avatar
4 weeks ago
Here's a link to the video on how to set up a custom reference mode, fine tune calibration and then do a full calibration along with reasons why you might not want to do that yet
it is longer so use the timestamp to skep to calibration section
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
javisan Avatar
5 weeks ago
Dear Apple, can you let us know how to custom calibrate our iPhones to remove the strong yellow tint? The color filter is not the solution.

Thank you.

I hope that one day we'll be allowed to do this.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

macbook pro blooming

Reports Suggest Mini-LED 'Blooming' Effect on New MacBook Pro Displays Not an Issue

Thursday October 28, 2021 1:56 am PDT by
Reports suggest that despite the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sharing the same mini-LED display technology as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the new Mac computers are not obviously suffering "blooming," a phenomenon found on the iPad Pro. The new MacBook Pros and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro consist of mini-LED technology, which uses dimming zones. These local dimming zones allow specific screen ...
f1634578301

New MacBook Pros Have Up to 3x Brighter Displays for HDR Content

Tuesday October 19, 2021 8:41 am PDT by
Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with improved "XDR" displays with mini-LED backlighting. Impressively, both new MacBook Pro models have up to 3x brighter displays compared to the previous-generation models, although the increased brightness is likely limited to HDR content. The new MacBook Pro models achieve up to 1,000 nits sustained full-screen brightness...
macbook pro 13 inch banner

Apple Could Discontinue the 13-Inch MacBook Pro – Here's Why

Friday November 26, 2021 2:20 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's long-awaited 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, there are early signs that the company could discontinue the entry-level 13-inch model, which is starting to look like an outlier in the product lineup. Last updated in November 2020, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is now an anomaly in the Mac lineup, being the only device with the Touch Bar. With no rumors of a 13-inch...
macbook pro sizes space gray

First Impressions From New MacBook Pro Owners: Benchmarks, Weight, ProMotion

Tuesday October 26, 2021 1:00 pm PDT by
It's officially MacBook Pro launch day, and customers around the world who pre-ordered after last Monday's event are receiving their devices today. We've already seen reviews of the new MacBook Pro models from media sites, but now first impressions from everyday users are available. New 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro owners are sharing their opinions on the MacRumors forums and Reddit, and their ...
apple polishing cloth

Apple's New $19 Polishing Cloth is Sold Out Until Late November

Tuesday October 19, 2021 1:04 pm PDT by
Alongside the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, Apple introduced a $19 "Polishing Cloth" that's designed to be used with Apple devices. Made from a "soft, nonabrasive material," the cloth is suitable for Apple displays, including the nano-texture glass of the Pro Display XDR. It's also suitable for use with the mini-LED display of the new MacBook Pro models and all manner of iPhones, iPads, ...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

New MacBook Pro Tidbits: SD Card Speeds, Peak Brightness for SDR Content, eGPUs Still Not Supported, and More

Thursday October 21, 2021 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple unveiled new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models earlier this week, and we've since confirmed some additional details about the notebooks. 16-inch MacBook Pro models configured with the M1 Max chip feature a new High Power Mode to maximize performance for intensive, sustained workloads, according to Apple. High Power Mode is not available on other models. Like the Pro Display XDR,...
M1X MBP Feature

MacBook Pro Models Said to Start at 16GB RAM and 512GB Storage, Feature Upgraded 1080p Webcams and New Charging Brick

Tuesday October 12, 2021 12:43 pm PDT by
With the MacBook-centric Apple event now set for Monday, October 18, leakers are beginning to share a few new details that we haven't previously heard about the machines. According to Dylandkt, the base 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will feature 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage space, which is in line with the current high-end 13 and 16-inch MacBook Pro options. As he has said previously,...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Don't Buy a MacBook Pro Right Now

Friday October 15, 2021 2:18 am PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are expected to be announced on Monday at Apple's "Unleashed" event, bringing some of the biggest improvements to the product line to date, including some surprising changes, so any prospective MacBook Pro buyers should wait for the new devices to come out. According to our full feature breakdown aggregated from our coverage from a wide range of sources, including...

Popular Stories

airtag in hand

Apple AirTag Linked to Increasing Number of Car Thefts, Canadian Police Report

Friday December 3, 2021 7:10 am PST by
Apple's AirTags are being used in an increasing number of targeted car thefts in Canada, according to local police. Outlined in a news release from York Regional Police, investigators have identified a new method being used by thieves to track down and steal high-end vehicles that takes advantage of the AirTag's location tracking capabilities. While the method of stealing the cars is largely ...
telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Reveals the Most Downloaded iOS Apps and Games of 2021

Thursday December 2, 2021 12:05 am PST by
Along with naming its editorial picks for the top apps and games of 2021, Apple today shared charts for the most downloaded free and paid apps and games in the United States across 2021. The number one most downloaded free iPhone app was TikTok, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. The top paid iPhone apps included Procreate Pocket, HotSchedules, The Wonder Weeks, and Touch...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
m3 feature black

Macs With 'M3' Chips Expected to Use TSMC's 3nm Chip Technology With Test Production Reportedly Underway

Thursday December 2, 2021 7:36 am PST by
Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC has kicked off pilot production of chips built on its 3nm process, known as N3, according to Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that TSMC will move the process to volume production by the fourth quarter of 2022 and start shipping 3nm chips to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of...
apple view concept right corner

Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report. Concept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is...