Play HDR video on Mac

These Mac models support HDR video on HDR10-compatible displays, including televisions and projectors.

Broad support for high-dynamic range (HDR) video, such as HDR films and TV programmes from Apple or other providers, requires the latest version of macOS and a compatible Mac model. If your Mac, display, video cable or video cable adapter doesn't support HDR10, videos will play in standard dynamic range (SDR).

Mac models that support HDR

Mac model
with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)

Built-in
display

External display
with DisplayPort

External display
with HDMI

MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later   1  2
MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later  1  3
iMac introduced in 2020
iMac Pro
Mac mini introduced in 2018 or later  1  4
Mac Pro introduced in 2019

1. Premium HDR content from Apple will play at resolutions up to 1080p (1920x1080).
2. When using Apple's adapter with some 13-inch, Intel-based models, HDR content plays at resolutions up to 1080p.
3. Available when using a MacBook Air with Apple Silicon.
4. When using an Intel-based Mac, HDR content plays at resolutions up to 1080p.

External displays

Use the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your Mac to connect to external HDR10-compatible displays. When an external display tells your Mac that it supports HDR10, your Mac may automatically enable HDR for that display. You can also enable or disable HDR for external displays in Displays preferences.

DisplayPort displays

Use a cable that has a USB-C connector for your Mac and the appropriate connector for the port on your display – usually DisplayPort, USB-C or Thunderbolt 3.

HDMI displays

Use an HDMI cable and a USB-C adapter, such as the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter or Belkin USB-C to HDMI Adapter.

Apple Pro Display XDR

Apple Pro Display XDR supports several HDR formats, including HDR10, when used with a Mac that's compatible with this display.

 


Getting the best HDR picture

If an HDR video doesn't play in HDR or with the quality you expect, try these solutions.

Check your Mac

  • Install the latest Apple software updates for macOS Catalina or later. Some HDR features are only available with the latest macOS.
  • Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Displays, then make sure High Dynamic Range is selected. It only appears on third-party displays that support HDR10, not on built-in displays. If you don't want to use HDR, untick this box.
    External HDR display preferences window
  • Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Battery or Energy Saver. If “Optimise video streaming while on battery” is selected, your Mac saves energy by playing HDR video in SDR while on battery power. To play in HDR, connect your Mac to a power source or untick this box. 

Check your external display

  • Make sure your display supports HDR10. If the display has its own HDR setting, turn it on or set it to prefer HDR when available.
  • Make sure your display is using the latest firmware from the manufacturer. Check your display's documentation for details.
  • Some televisions only support HDR on a specific input, such as HDMI input 2 or HDMI input 3. Check the documentation for details.

Check your media

If you're playing premium content from a third-party content provider, check with the content provider to make sure they support HDR on your Mac.

Check your cables and other devices

  • If you're using HDMI, make sure the HDMI cable and adapter support HDR10. Apple recommends HDMI cables that have been tested with Apple TV 4K and a wide range of televisions, such as the Belkin UltraHD HDMI Cable. Compatible adapters include the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter and Belkin USB-C to HDMI Adapter.
  • If your video connection passes through an AV receiver, sound bar or other device before connecting to your display, make sure the device supports HDR10 and is using the latest firmware from the manufacturer. You can test it by connecting your Mac directly to the display.

Check your viewing environment

The brightness and colour of HDR video may vary depending on your Mac model and the lighting in your environment. Lower lighting conditions, such as in a dim room, enhance the visual effect of HDR.

 


Learn more

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