Select reference mode on MacBook Pro, Pro Display XDR and Studio Display

Am current MacBook Pro as well as on the two monitors Apple Pro Display XDR and Apple Studio Display different reference modes can be selected for the display of graphic and video content. These include Apple XDR Display (P3, 1600 nits), HDR Video (P3-ST 2084), HDTV Video (BT.709-BT.1886), Digital Cinema (P3-DCI or P3-D65), Design and Print (P3 -D50), Internet and Web (sRGB) and some more. But how can you activate these display settings? Here are two ways you can set the appropriate reference mode on MacBook Pro, Pro Display XDR, and Studio Display to fine-tune colors and contrast.

Set reference modes for the correct color display on the Apple MacBook Pro as well as on Pro Display XDR and Studio Display - here you will find the instructions for this.
Set reference modes for the correct color display on the Apple MacBook Pro as well as on Pro Display XDR and Studio Display - here you will find the instructions for this.

Select display reference mode in the macOS menu bar

To select the reference mode for the built-in or external screen, you can e.g. B. in the menu bar of macOS at the top of the screen control center to open. To do this, click on this slider icon top right. Then you choose the display tile and then click on the monitor or display whose reference mode you want to select (click on the arrow that expands the drop-down menu). Now you will be shown the different reference modes available for Apple displays.

Here again the reference mode selection in the menu bar summarized:

  1. Open that control center via the macOS menu bar
  2. Choose the display options from the control center
  3. Does it work Reference mode overview and choose the appropriate option
Selection of the MBP reference modes in the control center: Screenshot of the MacBook Pro (16 inch, 2021, M1 Pro, macOS Monterey 12.5.1) when using the built-in display and an external monitor.
Selection of the MBP reference modes in the control center: Screenshot of the MacBook Pro (16 inch, 2021, M1 Pro, macOS Monterey 12.5.1) when using the built-in display and an external monitor.

Select Reference Mode via Mac System Preferences

This way of choosing the right reference mode for your project or work is via the Mac menu on the far left of the menu bar. Just click on that Apple logo () and then on the menu that appears System settings ... In the System Preferences window, click on Displays. At the bottom left of the Displays window, click the button Display settings… on. Now you can select the individual displays and monitors and assign them a display mode under "Presets".

Here are the instructions for selecting the reference mode via the system settings in a nutshell:

  1. Opens the System Settings via the  menu
  2. Click on the tile for Displays
  3. Choose the display settings and there the presets from
Choosing the correct display reference mode via the Mac or Apple display's System Preferences: Screenshot of the System Preferences of macOS Monterey 12.5.1 (may look different from macOS Ventura).
Choosing the correct display reference mode via the Mac or Apple display's System Preferences: Screenshot of the System Preferences of macOS Monterey 12.5.1 (may look different from macOS Ventura).

Learn more about reference modes on Apple displays and MacBook Pro

Now you have already received an overview of how to select the display reference mode that suits you and your work on the MacBook Pro, the Studio Display and the Pro Display XDR. If you still want to know how to set the preferred mode for individual displays and monitors, how to create custom reference modes, and what each label actually means, then I recommend the Apple support document HT210435. It contains information about these reference mode settings, among other things:

  • Apple XDR Display (P3, 1600 nits)
  • ProDisplay XDR (P3, 1600 nits)
  • Apple display (P3, 500 nits)
  • HDR Video (P3-ST 2084)
  • HDTV video (BT.709-BT.1886)
  • NTSC Video (BT.601 SMPTE-C)
  • PAL and SECAM video (BT.601 EBU)
  • Digital Cinema (P3-DCI)
  • Digital Cinema (P3-D65)
  • Design and Print (P3-D50)
  • Photography (P3-D65)
  • Internet and Web (sRGB)
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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.