How to Check For an LG Display in a MacBook Air and Make it Look Better

Oct 30, 2011 - 28 Comments

MacBook Air 2011

If you have a newer MacBook Air you should pay attention. Some of the MacBook Airs are shipping with Samsung displays, and some are shipping with LG displays, both are quality displays, but the LG’s default color profile is lighter and a bit flat. Most users probably won’t notice this, but if you sit a MacBook Air with a Samsung display next to one with the LG display, you can see the difference. This is easily remedied by using a custom color profile that has better gamma. This post will walk you through how to check which manufacturers panel you have, and also show you how to add a custom color profile that makes the LG display just as gorgeous as the Samsung.

Check for an LG Display with the MacBook Air

Using the same command to check the make and model of an LCD that works on past Macs, you can check the manufacturer of the display panel of the MacBook Air.

  • Launch the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/)
  • Copy and paste the following command onto a single line and hit return:
  • ioreg -lw0 | grep IODisplayEDID | sed "/[^<]*</s///" | xxd -p -r | strings -6

  • Read the output, you are looking for an “LP” prefix to numbers reported back:
  • LP133WP1-TJA3
    Color LCD

  • If the prefix is not “LP” then you have a Samsung display and there’s no need to use the color profile or to follow the rest of the instructions, if it does start with LP (like the example shown), then proceed

Add a Custom Color Profile for the MacBook Air’s LG Display

A user on MacRumors forums put together a custom color profile that really sharpens the display of the LG displays in some 2011 MacBook Air machines. Again, if you don’t have an LG display then you shouldn’t use this profile. Adding this color profile is reversible and you can always go back to the default if you don’t like it.


Placing a custom ICC color profile

  • Download this .icc profile to the Desktop
  • Hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
  • /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/

  • Copy the downloaded .icc profile to that displays folder, you’ll need to authenticate
  • Open “System Preferences” and click on “Displays”
  • Select the “Color” tab and uncheck the box next to “Show profiles for this display only”
  • Click on the second “Color LCD” profile in the list (the top-most Color LCD profile is the default)

If you have the LG display, you’ll see a difference immediately. Contrasts are sharper, whites are whiter, and there is a much more clear differentiation between minor shades of colors and greys.

Select MacBook Air custom display profile

If you decide you don’t like the modified LG profile, just select top-most “Color LCD” in the list. You can also put the color profile into the user home library folder instead of the system library directory, but you’ll probably have to make the folder yourself.

Thanks to Erlend for sending in this tip from Mac1.no!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

28 Comments

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  1. Dear Apple says:

    It just makes everything more contrast-y but more dark too. After a week of running with the new look got tired of it, reverted to the default color profile and living happily ever since.

  2. You should click the “Calibrate” button and make your own profile. And that should be repeated every three months.

  3. Josh says:

    I have a custom-created profile using an X-Rite i1 Display 2, and it’s almost identical to the one provided in this article. The default profile shipped by Apple is definitely way off. Thanks for this article!

  4. ch!no says:

    This profile is not even close to the one i got from a spyder 3… i’m happy with what i got and wouldn’t recommend this – too much yellow.

  5. Eric says:

    It would have been better if they did not use “Color LCD” again.

    Aren’t these profiles tweaked differently for 11 vs 13″ displays?

  6. Stu says:

    Awesome! This was my biggest complaint since day one. I tried to calibrate myself but ended up clipping blacks in Aperture. Thanks for the help. This worked like a charm.

  7. Mino says:

    I get as far as opening the display but then I do not know how to copy the download onto displays, when it says to uncheck the box, they are checked on my end so there is nothing to uncheck.

    If anyone is stuck like me or can help please let me know. much appreciated.

  8. Leon says:

    I found out that LG display is brighter than Samsung but has less colour contrast. This however, can be adjusted via the method suggested by this post. Anyway, I was wondering whether I could change/edit the name “Colour LCD” to other names? If yes, please reply

  9. Clark says:

    I agree with Leon.

    I have the Samsung panel and my wife has the LG one. There is no doubt that the Samsung panel is slightly dimmer than the LG’s one. Personally, I feel that LG screen is superior to Samsung. Believe it or not, I find out that reading on the LG screen is easier than on the Samsung.

  10. Jack says:

    After 3 times of exchanging my MBA, I finally got the one that comes with Samsung’s display and SSD (previous two were LG’s screen). I can’t be happy more.

    I have to admit that in terms of colour, Samsung’s display is way better than the LG’s one. It is more vivid and striking. The text also appears sharper.

    YES, you may argue that LG has better colour-accuracy or whatsoever, but you will only say that if you own the LG’s one. I bet if you are given a chance to choose between the LG and Samsung, you will definitely go for the samsung. Don’t deny, that’s the fact.

    One last important thing, though you can change the display property of LG’s screen via the method posted by this post but it won’t be as perfect as the Samsung’s one, WHY? everything becomes darker. If you have an image where some areas (e.g. corner-side) are darker, by following this method that corner will become even darker and not visible. In other words, the method destroys the quality of pictures.

  11. Steven Lo says:

    Hey this color profile makes everything appeared darker. Though the color looks sharper and more vibrant but some dark areas on the image became not-visible. MacRumors if you can provide another color profile which has a slightly brighter (a bit lighter color profile) it will be perfect. Please. Thanks

  12. Cleoparta says:

    Do NOT follow the trick posted on this page. The .icc profile uploaded here ruined everything. Grey becomes black, black becomes invisible, it just horrible.

    • Nope says:

      Ruined? You can switch back to another profile with a single click, “ruined” is a bit dramatic. Maybe next time you should verify that you had an LG display and not just install a profile that isn’t fit for your computers display.

  13. Lord Rip says:

    That’s much better thanks. 2012 13″ MBA

  14. b mitchell says:

    I agree, better contrasts but it does seem a bit dark.
    Are there other presets available?

  15. David Voge says:

    The colors are really more comfortable than before.

  16. Paul M says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve noticed that colors were a bit washed out on my LG Macbook Air. I tried my own calibration but I always made my darks brown by lowering the contrast too much. This is perfect. Thanks!

  17. Aman says:

    Thank you !!
    Works like a charm..
    Colors are deeper now..

    Aman.

  18. Rick says:

    LG Displays from television sets and now Mac display components are known for “get the money” . I knew this from staff that reported that all LG cares about is money. Never ever buy an LG product just read the reviews.

  19. Koen says:

    Hi,
    Just checked this on a Mac Air 11″ 2012 model. The return I had was: B116XW05 V6 color LCD.
    Just to inform you all. No idea what brach it is…

  20. Benoy Anthony says:

    Hi,

    I suspect this method will ruin your display, after long use with this tweak, your display will generate vertical dead pixel.

  21. Brian says:

    The profile worked great on my Macbook Air Mid Summer 2011.

    My color profile became corrupt or changed after I applied the Mountain Lion Update over the pre-installed Lion.

    I tried several times to calibrate manually since that update without success. This fix looks more like I remember the original factory look.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  22. Herrdana says:

    Man, the provided profile is really deep and dark. I had to calibrate myself.

  23. Herrdana says:

    BTW, Macbook Air mid 2012, LG panel.

  24. Hi all,

    I recently purchased a Macbook Air and found your tutorial very useful and noticed a huge change when I applied the colour profile to my LG screen.

    If it helps anyone, I created a native OS X app that should pull the information out for you and determine whether your screen is LG or Samsung.

    http://jonathanfield.me/macbook-air-samsung-vs-lg-display-gui-app/

    • OSXDaily says:

      Great app! I noticed it does not run on Macs without the Xcode command line tools installed though, looks like a dependency for the ‘strings’ command. The original command syntax pipes through strings at the end, though it still works without that if you don’t mind some added gibberish. Perhaps strip the excess characters with awk or regex, eliminating the dependency?

      • Thanks, yes I remember when it tried it the first time it required the command line tools then when I tried it again it didn’t , I may have installed them and that would be the reason. Sure yeah, ill take a look at it later and see what can be done to maybe pull everything up and then regex the descriptor out. I will provide the source code if anyone is interested, its fairly simple. Would have provided it already but xCode 5 and Github aren’t playing nice about image containers :P

        Thanks again for your great tutorial!

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