Avoiding image persistence on Apple displays

Learn how to avoid and fix "persistence," "image retention," or "ghosting" on certain Apple displays.

About IPS technology

Apple Cinema and Thunderbolt Displays, as well as the displays built in to iMac and Mac notebook computers with Retina display, use in-plane switching (IPS) technology.

IPS technology enhances the viewing experience by providing 178-degree viewing angles in all directions. This makes IPS displays ideal for showing content to multiple people, and excellent for image, print, and video production workflows.

When you leave an image such as a login window on an IPS display for a long period of time, you might temporarily see a faint remnant of the image even after a new image replaces it. This is called "persistence," "image retention," or "ghosting." It's normal behavior for an IPS display, and the faint image will disappear over time.

You can prevent image persistence by using the display sleep feature to turn off the display when it's not in use. You can also use a screen saver to make sure that a static image isn't on the display for long periods of time. Both of these features are on by default in OS X, but you can adjust the settings as needed.

Avoiding image persistence

You can enable or adjust the display sleep feature on your Mac to avoid image persistence:

  1. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, and then click Energy Saver. 
  2. Click the Battery tab if you're using a notebook.
  3. Set the "Turn display off after" slider to a brief interval, like 15 minutes.
  4. Click the Power Adapter tab if you're using a notebook and make the same adjustment.

Fixing image persistence

If you see a persistent image on your screen, you can use the screen saver to eliminate it:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, and then click Desktop & Screen Saver.
  2. Click the Screen Saver tab.
  3. Choose the screen saver you'd like to use.
  4. Use the menu next to "Start after" to select an interval shorter than the interval you set for display sleep and computer sleep in the Energy Saver section of System Preferences.
  5. To clear the persistent image, allow the screen saver to run for approximately as long as the image was displayed.
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