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How to make ColorSync profiles stick in OS X

If your ColorSync profiles are not sticking in OS X, then a corrupt colorsync cache may be to blame.

When you set up your displays in OS X, you have the option of selecting a ColorSync profile that will adjust the colors to match a specific color scheme and accurately display colors on your computer. If you have multiple monitors connected, it's recommended that you calibrate your displays to have colors appear consistent across them.

While the system should keep assigned ColorSync profiles associated with your display, there may be times when an incorrect profile is used. For instance, upon opening some applications, switching display settings, or changing your active GPU (i.e., from the internal graphics to discrete on laptop systems), the system may reload the active ColorSync profiles; however, an error in the profile settings may result in the system reverting to a generic profile or another incorrect one. This will cause the screens colors to appear washed out, overly contrasted, or have a tint of red, blue, or green to it.

Usually this type of problem is a one-time issue, which can be fixed by going to the Displays system preferences, selecting the Color tab, and reassigning the appropriate display profile; however, if it persists then you may have a corruption in the cache that is used for storing the profile assignment settings.

The caches for OS X are located in a hidden system directory used to store various temporary items, and can be accessed by performing either of the following steps:

  1. Open the Terminal and run the following command:

    open $TMPDIR

    In the window that appears, open the Cache folder which will be a folder named "C" if you are using OS X Lion or later, or "-caches-" if you are using OS X 10.5 or 10.6.
  2. Open the Terminal and run the following command:

    open $(getconf DARWIN_USER_CACHE_DIR)

With the cache directory open, you can locate the cache file for the ColorSync profiles, which is a file called "" (the number is your account's user ID), and remove it. Follow this by reassigning your color profiles and see if the problem persists.

The steps above will allow you to remove the cache, but these steps can also be done by running the following single command in the Terminal:

sudo rm $(getconf DARWIN_USER_CACHE_DIR)`id -u`

After authenticating at the password prompt, this command will tell the system to access the system's cache and target the ColorSync profile cache for the current user's ID, and then remove the file.

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