Use reference modes with your Apple Pro Display XDR

Learn how to use the reference modes included with your Pro Display XDR and how to create customised reference modes tailored to a specific workflow need.

Pro Display XDR includes several reference modes that cover typical content creation workflows across several media types. If you have a custom colour workflow, you can create custom reference modes specific to your needs.

Choose a reference mode

There are two ways to switch between reference modes on your Mac:

  • Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Displays. Choose the Presets pop-up menu, then choose a reference mode.
  • Click the AirPlay menu  in the menu bar, then choose a reference mode.
    If you can't see the AirPlay menu , go to Apple  menu > System Preferences, click Displays, then select "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available."


Choose your favourite modes

You can choose which reference modes appear in Displays preferences and the AirPlay menu:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Click the Presets pop-up menu, then choose Customise.
  3. Select the reference modes that you want to use, then click Done.


Learn about reference modes

You can use the reference modes included with Pro Display XDR to match the production requirements of HDR, HD, SD video and other media types. Each reference mode sets the colour space, white point, gamma and brightness on your display. Learn about each reference mode included with your Pro Display XDR.

Pro Display XDR (P3-1,600 nits)

Use this mode for general home and office environments. This mode is based on the wide colour P3 primaries used by Apple displays and includes Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR) support up to 1,600 nits (peak).

Apple Display (P3-500 nits)

Use this mode for general home and office environments. This mode is based on the wide colour P3 primaries and supports a brightness range of up to 500 nits typical of Apple built-in displays.

HDR Video (P3-ST 2084)

Use this mode for 4K or ultra high-definition video production workflows up to 1,000 nits (full-screen sustained) using the wide colour P3 primaries and the high-dynamic-range SMPTE ST-2084 EOTF. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per ITU-R BT.2100.

HDTV Video (BT.709-BT.1886)

Use this mode for high-definition video production workflows targeting the ITU-R BT.709 and BT.1886 recommendations. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per ITU-R BT.2035.

NTSC Video (BT.601 SMPTE-C)

Use this mode for standard-definition or archival video production workflows targeting the ITU-R BT.601 recommendation and SMPTE-C colour primaries. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per ITU-R BT.2035.

PAL and SECAM Video (BT.601 EBU)

Use this mode for standard-definition or archival video production workflows targeting the ITU-R BT.601 recommendation and EBU Tech 3213 colour primaries. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per ITU-R BT.2035.

Digital Cinema (P3-DCI)

Use this mode for motion picture and post-production workflows using the P3 theatrical colour space and digital cinema whitepoint. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per SMPTE RP 431-2:2011.

Digital Cinema (P3-D65)

Use this mode for motion picture and post-production workflows using the P3 theatrical colour space with the D65 whitepoint. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per SMPTE RP 431-2:2011. 

Design and Print (P3-D50)

Use this mode for graphic design, printing and publishing workflows. This mode uses wide colour P3 primaries for a wider colour gamut than a typical sRGB display. Instead of D65, it uses the D50 whitepoint typically used to evaluate the colour of printed output in line with ISO 3664:2009 and ISO 12646:2015 specifications.

Photography (P3-D65)

Use this mode for typical digital photography workflows. This mode uses wide colour P3 primaries with the D65 whitepoint typically used for screen-based viewing and is designed for appropriately set up and controlled viewing environments. 

Internet and Web (sRGB)

Use this mode for content creation workflows targeting the web or other Internet-based uses. This mode uses the broadly supported sRGB (IEC 61966-2-1:1999) colour space per the W3C CSS Colour Module Level 3 recommendation and is designed for appropriately set up and controlled viewing environments (64 lux is recommended).


Customised reference modes

Advanced users can create customised reference modes tailored to unique workflow needs by selecting from several colour gamut, white point, luminance and transfer function options. Learn more about the advanced options you can configure for customised reference modes

Create a custom reference mode

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Click the Presets pop-up menu, then choose Customise.
  3. Click the Add button , then customise the settings for your reference mode.
  4. Enter a name and description for your reference mode, then click Save Preset.

Learn more about the advanced options you can configure for customised reference modes. 

Import and export custom reference modes

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Click the Presets pop-up menu, choose Customise, then do either of the following:
    • To import a reference mode, select the Action menu , choose Import, select the file that you want to import, then click Open.
    • To export a reference mode, choose a reference mode, select the Action menu , choose Export, then click Save.

Get help with reference modes

If  appears in the AirPlay menu, your Pro Display XDR might be in low-power mode and using limited brightness. This can occur if the ambient temperature of the room is 25°C (77°F) or higher and your display has been at 500 nits or higher for a long time.

Unplug your display from your computer and wait 5-10 minutes, then connect your display and try again. 

If the issue continues and the ambient temperature of the room is less than 25°C (77°F), contact Apple.


Learn more

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