Fine-tune the calibration of the Liquid Retina XDR display on your MacBook Pro

Thursday, October 28, 2021 1:37 PM

Fine-tune the calibration of the Liquid Retina XDR display on your MacBook Pro


Learn how to measure and fine-tune the calibration of your display.









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.




Measure your display


You can use a set of QuickTime movie test patterns from Apple to evaluate the calibration of your Liquid Retina XDR display. 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).



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 display. 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. In Display Settings, choose the reference mode that you want to fine-tune from the Presets pop-up menu. You should choose the same reference mode that matches the test pattern and reference mode used when measuring your display.
  3. Choose Fine-Tune Calibration from the Presets pop-up menu.
    Display preferences Fine-Tune calibration
  4. Set values for 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, measure your display and fine-tune the calibration again for optimal results.

If you aren't getting consistent results fine-tuning the calibration, get tips for measuring and fine-tuning the calibration of your display.




Tips for measuring and fine-tuning the calibration


If you aren't getting consistent results measuring your display or fine-tuning the calibration, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.




Make sure test patterns match the desired reference mode


If you fine-tune the calibration of your display, make sure that when you measure your display, the test pattern matches the reference mode you intend to fine-tune. For example, use the HDR Video (P3–ST 2084) preset when using the HDR10-based patterns.




Reset the spectroradiometer


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





Learn more


Use reference modes with your MacBook Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display or Apple Pro Display XDR.