Measuring and calibrating Apple Pro Display XDR

Learn how to measure the calibration of 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 colour panel and the individual backlight LEDs.

Pro Display XDR is calibrated using laboratory grade instrumentation, consistent with and traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The display is warmed up in an enclosed chamber and measurements are performed at a normal incidence to the display centre. In addition, the factory calibration process enables sophisticated built-in algorithms to accurately reproduce a variety of colour spaces used by media workflows today, including sRGB, BT.601, BT.709 and even P3-ST.2084 (HDR).

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 colour-tagged SDR and HDR references allow you to use your in-house spectroradiometer to measure and verify the colour 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 10.15.3 or later.

Download test patterns

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

Measure your display

  1. Align the third-party spectroradiometer to the centre of your display. For the best results, make sure the room is dark during alignment to prevent stray light or glare from affecting the measurements.
  2. 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 colour or luminance in HDR, BT.709 and BT.601.
  3. 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.
  4. Compare the colour (chromatically) 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 from the reference values

If your measurements vary from the reference values, these steps might help.

Check the setup of your spectroradiometer

  • Control the environment to minimise ambient light.
  • 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 minimise polarization.
  • Check your meter’s exposure setting. If your meter has an auto-exposure mode, turn it on – this optimises readings at various luminance levels. If your meter doesn’t have an auto exposure mode, make sure the exposure is set properly as to not overload the sensor.
  • Check if your meter has an integration time setting. Use a longer integration time when possible for a more accurate result.

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.

In-field recalibration

Support for performing in-field recalibration of Pro Display XDR and creating custom reference modes, which includes adjusting colour primaries, white point, luminance and gamma, will be available in an upcoming version of macOS Catalina.

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