Under certain conditions, owners of Apple’s new MacBook Pro or ProDisplay XDR may experience what appears to be an error at first glance. The displays found in these devices can enter what Apple is referring to as ‘lower power mode’. When this occurs, your display will dim considerably and menu bar icons will be displayed with a warning message. Apple states that this is triggered when the ambient temperature of the room is ‘high’ (though Apple doesn’t clarify this in detail) and if you have been playing very bright content for extended periods.

High ambient temperate presumably refers to warmer cooler temperatures. If you use cooler lighting or daylight bulbs then presumably you’ll be less likely to encounter this. You’re also far less likely to experience this if you are only viewing standard dynamic range (SDR) media. High dynamic range content (HDR) generates much more heat due to the luminance range that it is able to display. The peak brightness of these displays can reach in excess of 1600 nits for context. That is incredibly bright.

The ProDisplay XDR features a lattice pattern on the rear that acts as a heat sink. Image: Simon Hrozian

In a support article, Apple has described what to do if you run into this issue:

  • On MacBook Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display, quit any apps that could be consuming significant system resources.
  • Use the Apple XDR Display or Pro Display XDR reference mode unless your current workflow requires a specific reference mode.
  • Lower the ambient temperature of the room.
  • Close or hide any windows with HDR content.
  • Choose Apple menu  > Sleep to put your Mac to sleep. Let your display cool down for 5-10 minutes, then press any key on the keyboard to wake your Mac.

Have you encountered this issue? As an owner of both the new MacBook Pro and the ProDisplay XDR, I’ve been fortunate not to experience this. But let me know in the comments if this has created any issues for you and your workflow.

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