Measuring and calibrating Apple Pro Display XDR

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 6:56 PM

Measuring and calibrating Apple Pro Display XDR

Learn how to measure the calibration of your display. Depending on the needs of your workflow, you can also fine-tune the calibration or perform in-field recalibration on your display.









Every Pro Display XDR 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 Pro Display XDR users enjoy an exceptional viewing experience right out of the box. If your workflow requires custom calibration, you can fine-tune the calibration of your Pro Display XDR, or recalibrate it for a workflow tuned to a third-party spectroradiometer.




Measure your Pro Display XDR


You can use a set of QuickTime movie test patterns from Apple to evaluate the calibration of your Pro Display XDR. These appropriately color-tagged SDR and HDR references allow you to use your in-house spectroradiometer to measure and verify the color primaries/secondaries and luminance including the electro-optical transfer function (EOTF). Before you measure the calibration of your display, make sure your Mac is using macOS Catalina 10.15.6 or later and your display uses Display Firmware 4.2.30.



Download test patterns


  1. Go to the AVFoundation Developer Page.
  2. In the Related Resources section, click Color Test Patterns to download the test files. 
  3. Double-click the QuickTime-Test-Pattern.zip file to decompress the archive.




Measure your display


  1. Align the third-party spectroradiometer to the center of your display.
  2. Make sure the room is dim or dark to prevent stray light or glare from affecting the measurements.
  3. Open the QuickTime Test Pattern Movies folder and choose the set of patterns that you want to test. Each folder contains sequences of movie files for measuring color or luminance in HDR, BT.709, and BT.601.
  4. Open each file in QuickTime Player and measure each test pattern movie file in the folder. Make sure that the reference mode currently in use matches the chosen test pattern. For example, use the HDR Video (P3–ST 2084) preset when using the HDR10-based patterns.
  5. Compare the color (chromaticity) and luminance values you measured to those in the Reference Values.txt file in the test pattern’s folder. Depending on the tolerance or calibration of your spectroradiometer, there may be some variation in readings relative to the reference values.

If your measurements vary significantly from the reference values, get tips for measuring your display.





Fine-tune the calibration


If your workflow is tuned to a specific target, you can fine-tune the calibration of your Apple Pro Display XDR. This lets you adjust the white point and luminance of your display to more precisely match your own in-house display calibration target. Learn more about the different values you can adjust.

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences > Displays.
  2. From the Presets menu, choose the reference mode that you want to fine-tune.
  3. From the Presets menu, choose Fine-Tune Calibration.
  4. Set values for the White Point and Luminance, then enter a description.
  5. Click OK to save the fine-tune calibration.

To remove the fine-tune calibration, choose Restore Default from the Fine-Tune Calibration menu.

If you choose a different reference mode, fine-tune the calibration again if necessary for optimal results.








Perform in-field recalibration


If you need to recalibrate Pro Display XDR for a workflow tuned to a third-party spectroradiometer, follow the instructions in this section.



Check requirements


In-field recalibration requires macOS Catalina 10.15.6 or later, Display Firmware 4.2.30, and one of the following instruments:

Photo Research

  • PR-740, PR-745, or PR-788
  • Recommended Bandwidths: 4nm or 5nm
  • Required Apertures: 0.1, 0.125, 0.2, or 0.25

Colorimetry Research

  • CR-300




Calibrate your display


If you want to establish a baseline for your display, measure your display before and after calibration. Make sure to use the same spectroradiometer for measuring and calibration. 

  1. Set your display to the reference mode that you use most.
  2. Download and open Pro Display XDR Calibrator, then click Continue.
  3. Connect a supported spectroradiometer to your Mac.
  4. Click Calibrate, make sure the utility is open on the Pro Display XDR that you want to calibrate, then click Next.
  5. Aim your measurement device at the center of the green dot, then click Continue. 
  6. Follow the required measurement distance for your specific instrument. For example, CR-300 should be flush to the display.
  7. Follow the onscreen instructions, make sure your instrument is perpendicular to the display, then click Begin. If your display is connected to a Mac notebook, don't close the lid while calibration is in progress.
    Calibration may take up to 2 hours to complete, which includes a 30 minute warm up period.
  8. After the calibration is complete, click Done.

If you choose a different reference mode, fine-tune the calibration if necessary for optimal results.




Reset calibration


To return your display to its factory calibration, open Pro Display XDR Calibrator, click Reset Calibration, then click Reset.









Tips for measuring and calibrating your display


If you aren't getting consistent results measuring and calibrating your display, learn what to do.



Check your environment


  • Control the ambient environment to minimize stray light reflecting onto the aperture target area on the display.
  • Apple recommends measuring and calibrating in an environment with ambient temperatures of 77 degrees fahrenheit or cooler. For the most repeatable results, ambient temperatures should be similar during calibration and in typical use.




Check the setup of your spectroradiometer


  • Make sure the display has warmed up for at least 30 minutes and is thermally stable.
  • Orient the meter so that it's perpendicular with the display and level on the x-axis to minimize polarization.
  • Check your meter’s exposure setting. If your meter has an auto-exposure mode, turn it on—this optimizes readings at various luminance levels. If your meter doesn’t have an auto exposure mode, check with the instrument's manufacturer for recommended settings. Review configuration options for positing and focal distance, aperture, bandwidth, exposure, measurement speed, display sync, and any automatic or dynamic features your instrument may have.
  • Check if your meter has an integration time setting. Use a longer integration time when possible for a more accurate result.
  • If your meter has an auto neutral-density (ND) filter setting, turn it off.




Check the calibration of your spectroradiometer


Check the manufacturer’s specifications to determine your spectroradiometer’s tolerance. Observed variance may result from any of the following conditions:

  • Different instrument calibrations that use different incidences of illuminant A.
  • Uncertainty inherent in each individual illuminant A.
  • Different instrument hardware design and optical pathways, resulting in different inherited errors.




Reset the spectroradiometer


If your instrument becomes unresponsive, contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to reset the spectroradiometer.