Can I colour calibrate my iPad?

You can only judge image quality if the screen you’re viewing is properly calibrated with a hardware device.

color management
Color Management (image courtesy X-Rite Inc.)

Calibration combines a hardware puck with software that flashes known colour values to create a colour profile of your screen. Datacolor and Pantone are the best known brands. With prices starting under $100 it’s a no-brainer for anyone serious about image quality. $200 will get you a professional quality unit.

ColorMunki Smile
Hardware colour calibration (image courtesy X-Rite Inc.)

With more people using iPads for evaluating images it’s important their screens are calibrated. Both the Datacolor Spyder and Pantone X-Rite ColorMunki let you calibrate your iPad.

ColorMunki for iPad
ColorTRUE iOS app (image courtesy X-Rite Inc.)

To do this the computer hosts the hardware puck and wirelessly connects to your device to build a profile for the iPad screen. Very clever.

SpyderGallery for iPad
SpyderGallery (image courtesy Datacolor)

The iPad and Apps are not colour managed. So you’ll also need apps that are colour managed: Datacolor offers the free SpyderGallery and X-Rite have ColorTRUE. Both can access your camera roll and offer features like viewing with/without colour management, etc.

Spyder calibration before/after
Color calibration before/after (image courtesy Datacolor)

So should you bother calibrating your iPad screen? Unfortunately iPad screens have a very small colour gamut – they can’t show nearly as many colours as a computer screen. However you will see a difference particularly images with high colour saturation. If you have a Spyder or ColorMunki give a go and see if it makes a difference for your images.

And yes, these work on iPhones and Android devices too.