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How to enable color blindness screen filters on macOS

Color blindness is a vision impairment that isn’t as easy to correct as myopia or hyperopia. There are special glasses available that offer people with color blindness a way to see corrected colors but they’re limited in their availability and they’re not cheap. Fortunately, color blindness is something that’s somewhat easier to compensate for if you’re using a device that has a screen. Here’s how you can enable color blindness screen filters on macOS.

Color blindness screen filters

Color blindness is grouped by type and the type is determined by which colors a person is unable to see. There are three types and on macOS, you can enable a filter for whichever type it is you need.

Open System Preferences and go to the Accessibility preference.

From the column on the left, look for Display. The Display pane has three tabs, one of which is Colour Filters. Select it. Enable the ‘Enable Colour Filters’ option and then open the ‘Filter type’ dropdown. It will list three color filters that you can apply to your screen, one each for the types of color blindness that people may have, a tint option, and a greyscale option.

Pick the color filter that is made for your visual impairment and it will be applied to the screen.

Since this is a screen filter, you won’t see it in a screenshot. What that means is that while the screen is easier for you to see, anything that you capture on it and share with others will still look unfiltered to them. They won’t see the corrective filter that’s been applied.

For each filter, you can manage its intensity. This will help if you have an external display and the color profile doesn’t quite match what Apple’s own screens have. Additionally, even within the Mac line, the screen quality and thus the color profile can vary which makes the intensity filter exceptionally useful. Last, you might find you need to tweak the filter’s intensity for certain types of content e.g., media i.e., the same level may not work for everything.

Color filters for color blindness are available on most popular desktop and mobile platforms. Windows 10 has them, Android has them, and of course, iOS has them as well.

On macOS, these filters should be present on Sierra or later. It’s possible that older versions of macOS have them as well but those versions are too old at this point for us to verify if the feature is indeed present. If you can’t find the feature on an older version of macOS, you will need to look for a third-party app to do the job.

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