Having plugged my MacBook Air (Mid-2012) into a Dell 24" 2410 monitor, the quality is terrible.

For reference the same monitor plugged into a Dell XPS M1330 running Windows 7 via HDMI give nice results with zero configuration.

I found some ICC files and tried them and found things like reds not being bright or strange gamma and contrast problems. I tried suggested brightness and contrast settings and RGB values and reset the monitor back to factory settings.

How do I get the same results or better than Windows or some other arbitrary HDMI device? I want OS X to at least best an upscaling DVD player.

  • 1
    What cable and connector(s) do you use to connect the monitor and the Air? Jul 16 '12 at 16:54
  • 2
    More seriously - what's the actual problem? And have you tried to calibrate the monitor?
    – anu
    Jul 16 '12 at 16:54
  • Sounds like a calibration problem or a resolution problem. What is the native resolution of your external display and what is the one that OSX is using? Have you tried System Preferences -> Displays ? Jul 16 '12 at 18:59
  • hdmi cable + mini display port to hdmi is the cable used Jul 17 '12 at 9:38
  • And yes I attempted to run the callibration wizard in OS X and got marginally better results, but it was still a considerable difference to the results windows provided Jul 17 '12 at 9:38

The problem was caused by OS X outputting in YPbPr not RGB. YPbPr sends approximate colours and is used primarily for TVs. Unlike Windows, OS X didn't recognise the Dell as a Monitor because of the HDMI connection. Shifting to a DVI connector fixed this and forced RGB colour data, and thus, correct colours.

So no, it was not a problem with callibrating the monitor or its colour profile


I joined just for saving anyone interested from the frustration I had in the last couple of hours. This fixed it for me (the universal patch).

  • Worked great with 10.8.2 and my DEL 2408WFP over HDMI via the DisplayPort adaptor on my MacBook Air (mid-2012)
    – RobM
    Mar 3 '13 at 16:14
  • Universal patch: embdev.net/topic/284710#3027030
    – Kobold
    Mar 7 '14 at 17:07
  • Worked great on 10.9.2 on an HP Pavilion 22bw over HDMI via displayport on a 13-inch, Mid 2011 Macbook Air.
    – Kobold
    Mar 7 '14 at 17:08

On your U2410, set Display Settings -> Sharpness to 0 then everything will be fine.

I use Macbook Air 13' 2011 mid with Moshi HDMI connector.

While I use DisplayPort to connect, no configuration needed. So it may be some bug with dell monitors.

  • Interesting, I shall try this! Of note doing this ruins the Windows display quality by making everything blurry Jul 17 '12 at 9:40
  • this has improved font rendering considerably, however I am stilling facing quite frustrating issues with contrast and brightness. For example the WordPress login screen has a form contained in a box. This containing box is invisible on the Dell monitor but visible on the macbook screen. Similar with the sidemenu and metaboxes in the admin area. They appear as darker gray on normal monitors, but they are the same shade as the background on the Dell Jul 17 '12 at 11:05
  • @TomJNowell I'm not encounter contrast or brightness problem. However, you can try to adjust the settings in 'Color Settings' section to make it better.
    – Alex Chen
    Jul 20 '12 at 4:52
  • This just worked for me with my old Dell monitor. I'm using HDMI. The accepted solution didn't apply, as my monitor was correctly detecting the color output as YPbPr.
    – smessing
    Feb 4 '13 at 22:39

Mac OS keeps nagging you with it's default ICC files for that monitor. I suggest you make a colour profile as you wish, and use it to replace the monitor's ICC profile in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays (and make sure you rename it to have the same name as the default file). Then, from the inspector ("get info") lock the file, so that Mac OS stop reverting it to the default.

  • As I've already stated, it is not a colour calibration issue, nor did I have any issues with OS X switching colour profiles back to default behind my back. Aug 21 '12 at 7:47
  • Sorry, i misread this: " I tried suggested brightness and contrast settings and RGB values and reset the monitor back to factory settings." but i'll leave my answer to help future users
    – Alexander
    Aug 21 '12 at 8:57

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