Washed Out Display After Your Mac Wakes Up? No Problem

| TMO Quick Tip

Mac OS X can help save a few pennies on your electricity bills thanks to its built-in Energy Saver features, but sometimes it causes unexpected side effects. One that's especially annoying is seeing washed out colors after waking up your display.

Getting your display back to normal if your colors are washed out or look faded after waking up only takes a couple of steps, and it doesn't require restarting your Mac.

  • Start by choosing Apple menu > System Preferences.
  • Select the Displays PreferencePane.
  • Click the Color tab.

The Color tab kills washed out display colors

Your display's colors should return to normal as soon as you click Color.

This is an issue I've seen most commonly on Mac laptops that also use an external display. Regardless of which type of Mac you use, the washed out display issue is really annoying, but at least the fix is quick and easy.

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Dave Hamilton

Also very common on desktop, non-iMac machines that use 3rd party monitors. This solution works well on both Leopard and Snow Leopard in my experience.


I found the quickest way to solve this problem when it happens to me is to sleep the display and then wake it again. I have my lower left corner hot spot set to sleep the display so I just sleep it and then move the mouse to wake and the problem is corrected.


Phew, it’s not just me! I thought it was because of an app I use called f.lux. Google it, it’s really neat!

Jeff Gamet

I found the quickest way to solve this problem when it happens to me is to sleep the display and then wake it again

OK, that’s interesting. The re-sleep/wake trick doesn’t work for me at all. The washed out display thing doesn’t happen all the time, either, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.


The only time I get the washed out problem ( and yup it’s not every time for me either ) is when using an external display on my early 08 MacBook Pro with SL.

Just incase it makes a difference I did use my own color calibration rather than one of the built in ones.

Todd Howell

Best solution and reason I’ve found is here:


I made an alias of the DNProxy app and launch it if the issue pops up and it’s fixed. I haven’t had to do it again since I ran it the first time.


I assumed this was a problem with the display - not the computer;
(Mac Mini attached to Acer AL1916W); because GrfxGuru’s solution (active screen corner set to sleep) works for me too.

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