How to Change a Mac Displays Contrast with Keystrokes & Software

How to Change a Mac Displays Contrast with Keystrokes & Software Tutorial and Steps

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It is possible to adjust the screen contrast at the software level in Mac OS X, which can have very dramatic effects, both good and bad, depending on your needs. Most Mac users are unaware of this and many may not find it helpful, but when used properly it can be a useful accessibility tweak for many with vision problems.

We’ll show you how to change the screen contrast with keystrokes and with a preference pane option in Mac OS X.

To be clear, this is a Mac OS level software change to show contrast only, which is not the same as actually changing the display contrast as adjusting manual hardware buttons it does not adjust the gamma the way calibrating a display would, and it does not change the user interface elements like some other switches do, nor does it affect screenshots. This is, in fact, artificially enhanced contrast at the Mac OS level as accessibility feature.

How to Adjust the screen contrast on Mac at the software level in Preferences

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and open System Preferences
  2. Go to Accessibility and choose ‘Displays’
  3. Adjust the ‘Screen contrast’ slider for an immediate effect on the display contrast, depending on what you select, the contrast impact which can be quite dramatic
  4. display-accessibility-preferences-os-x

The default value is set to the lowest contrast level, and increases will generally wash out the screen colors.

The ability to change the contrast of your display is actually part of the Universal Access utility in Mac OS X and is intended to help the visually impaired see things on the screen.

The screenshot below shows the Chrome browser watching OSXDaily with the highest contrast, the effect is very strong and very high contrast:

mac screen high contrast

Some versions of Mac OS also support keyboard shortcuts for changing the display contrast.

Keystrokes for changing the screen contrast in Mac OS X

  • To decrease screen contrast: Command + Option + Control +,
  • Increase screen contrast: Command + Option + Control +.

The keyboard shortcuts work in all versions of Mac OS X up to Yosemite, where Contrast took a different turn. Nevertheless, it can now be changed through a preference pane, as described above in all modern versions of MacOS.

It’s worth pointing out that this is basically adjusting the displayed contrast of how things look on the screen, and not operating system elements like the contrast increase switch in Mac OS X Yosemite. You may want to do the latter, depending on your goal.

Note that the contrast slider setting also exists in earlier versions of Mac OS X, although it may look slightly different:

Display options for Mac accessibility in OS X

Adjusting the screen contrast in this way is something that many users never really pay much attention to as on the software side of my screens the contrast is very different from the monitor’s contrast settings or the interface contrast settings, but it’s good to know this is something which you can change by also using the system software.

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How to Change a Mac Displays Contrast with Keystrokes & Software: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: How to Change a Mac Displays Contrast with Keystrokes & Software


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The time to complete the How to Change a Mac Displays Contrast with Keystrokes & Software tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?


Apple

What are the supported Operating system?


mac OS



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