How To Change the Number of Colors on a Mac Monitor

Applications on your Mac may require the monitor to display more colors than what has been pre-selected, so that you need to change the number of colors on a Mac Monitor. The number of colors is also known as color depth. There are two ways you can change the color depth, and these are described as follows.

  1. Through the Control Panel. You can change the color depth of your Macintosh to a higher or lower amount depending on the requirements of your application. On your desktop, go to the top left corner and click on the Apple Menu and find the option Control Panels. In the Control Panels, select the Monitors option and this will display a window that has options for your Monitor display. In the Monitors window you will see a section called Settings of selected monitor and check boxes for the labels Grays and Colors. Put a check mark on Colors if it does not have one and go to the panel beside it that lists options for the monitor. Select one of the options, if your application requires more, then select thousands, or if a higher option is available then choose that. If your application requires less then the set option, then choose a lower amount. The settings you select will immediately take effect, so close the Monitors panel and view the results of the change. If you are unsatisfied with the results you can go through the same process to bring it back or change it to a lower value.

    • If the thousands option is not present. If the thousands option on the Monitor settings is not available and your computer is having trouble displaying colors at the pre-selected setting, select the Options button and another window will be displayed. On this window you will see the resolution and refresh rate options listed. Select a lower resolution setting than the one that has been pre-selected and click OK. When you get back to the Monitors window you will see the Thousands option, so choose that option and exit to your desktop.
  2. Through the Control Strip. If your Mac has a Control Strip available, click the end to expose the whole tab. It will extend outward showing buttons to configure the settings on your Mac. At the left end you will see the Monitor BitDepth button. Using your cursor, press the button and hold it while you choose to increase or decrease the number of colors on your Mac monitor. If you need to increase it, then select the Thousands of Colors if it hasn't been selected yet. Or choose Millions of Colors if it is available on your Mac. If Thousands of Colors is unavailable, then go to the next button on the Control Strip to change the monitor resolution. While holding down the Monitor Resolution button, select a lower resolution. Then go back to the Monitor BitDepth button to select the Thousands of Colors option. Your monitor will reflect the changes you made immediately.

Changing the color depth or the number of colors on your Mac monitor is easily done through the Control Panel or Control Strip. The changes you make to the settings will take effect immediately, so you can decide whether to keep it or change it back.


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