Automatic Display Calibration


Today’s Question: How do you rate the MacOS Display Calibrator Assistant [instead of using a calibration device]?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I do not recommend the Display Calibrator Assistant in MacOS for adjusting the appearance of a monitor display. Instead, I recommend using a hardware solution such as the Calibrite ColorChecker Display (

More Detail: The Display Calibrator Assistant available in the System Preferences dialog under Displays depends upon you evaluating the display as you apply adjustments, rather than using a calibrated device to actually measure the output from your display. This is problematic in terms of trying to adjust the display by your perception rather than physical measurements.

If you want to take a look at the Display Calibrator Assistant, you can first select System Preferences from the Apple logo menu on the menu bar. Then go to Displays, click the Color Profile popup, and choose Customize from that popup. In the dialog that appears click the plus (+) button at the bottom-left, and the Display Calibrator Assistant dialog will appear. This will take you step by step through the process of adjusting your display, but the process does not provide precision in that process.

Instead, I recommend using a package that includes a colorimeter, which is a calibrated hardware device that can measure the actual tonal and color output of your display. This enables you to make precise adjustments to the display behavior, and generate a profile that describes the behavior of the device so that the operating system can compensate accordingly.

By calibrating with a hardware solution you can feel confident that what you’re seeing on your monitor display is as accurate a representation of your actual photos as possible. You can learn more about the Calibrite ColorChecker Display package that I recommend here: