How do I stop weird highlighting caused by Display prefs pane?

Oct 15, 2017
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I've recently started using a iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 running macOS High Sierra 10.13 (17A405). I've installed the macOS 10.13 supplemental update.

When using the Displays system preferences pane to change to a display profile I've created using the Display Calibrator Assistant, windows in list view get all items of text highlighted - including all the column names and the status bar at the bottom.

The highlighting just affects the actual text; it's not like normal highlighting of items in Finder list view, where an entire line is highlighted including the white space between filename, date, etc., columns.

A typical sequence of events demonstrating the problem goes like this.

Starting state: Displays preference pane open in System Preferences. Two Finder windows open in list view. Display profile set to iMac (default profile as supplied).

Action 1: change display profile to "iMac calibrated D50" (created locally with the Display Calibrator Assistant).

Effect 1: Finder list view text items, search box, and status bar highlighted in blue.

Action 2: change display profile back to iMac (default).

Effect 2: Finder window appearance back to normal.

Action 3: change display profile to "iMac calibrated D50" (created with calibration assistant).

Effect 3: Finder list view text items and the search box highlighted in blue.

Action 4: click on empty space in one Finder window.

Effect 4: in that window only, text items now highlighted in a lighter blue, search box and status bar no longer highlighted.

Action 5: click on other affected Finder window

Effect 5: both Finder windows now showing text items highlighted in dark yellow, search box and status bar not highlighted.

Action 6: click on a list item in an affected Finder window

Effect 6: highlighted normally on first click, unhighlights normally on second click.

Action 7: click on a list item in the other affected Finder window

Effect 7: highlighted normally on first click, unhighlights normally on second click.

Action 8: select Displays system preference pane.

Effect 8: frontmost Finder window now displaying all text items with anomalous highlighting in black so all text is obscured.

Action 9: change to iMac (default) display profile.

Effect 9: both Finder windows now appear normal, barring items previously selected, search box, and status bar text; all of which are now highlighted in blue.

This mostly affects the Finder, but it's apparent in some other applications which use a list view such as Activity Monitor.

Different sequences of switching between applications and windows cause differences in exactly what windows are affected with anomalous highlighting and when; also, the anomalous highlighting colour varies with different action sequences and can be red, black, dark yellow, light blue, or mid blue.

The only reliable workaround is to close any affected windows and re-open them.

The problem only occurs when I switch to the display profile I created with the Display Calibrator Assistant. Switching between any other display profiles - the ones supplied with the OS - causes no issues.

I've tried creating fresh user accounts (both normal user and admin user), creating a new display profile in those user account, and the problem shows up there. It makes no difference whether the new display profile is for one user or all users - the anomalous highlighting effect remains.

When this problem first appeared, I suspected it might have been caused by something copied over from my previous iMac using Migration Assistant, so I re-installed from the backup I made when I first got the iMac and copied my data over manually without copying over any preferences, application support folders, or anything like that.

I re-created the display profile I wanted to use, and the problem turned up again.

I've also restarted holding down cmd-opt-p-r to zap the PRAM, just in case, but that made no difference.

I'd appreciate any hints as to the cause of this problem and what I might do to solve it.

Thanks in advance.

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
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Hello and welcome.

Now that's an issue I have never come across...very strange.

Let me look into it a bit further.


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