When I print a photo on the Mac, I'm offered a choice between ColorSync and Vendor Matching:

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I'm assuming ColorSync does color management on the Mac and sends the printer a bitmap in its native color space, while Vendor Matching sends the printer a photo in some standard color space like Adobe RGB and leaves it to the printer to the color management. Is that correct?

What are the pros and cons of each option? I've found that ColorSync worked slightly better on a laser printer for which OS X had a color profile:

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But made things far worse on an inkjet printer (HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3525) for which it didn't:

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Notice that it doesn't show a profile for the printer, only "Automatic". And there's nothing in "Other Profiles...", either.

Beyond that, what are the pros and cons of each option? When should I use each?

1 Answer 1


I'll give you a little description of both,

ColorSync is Apple Inc's color management API for the Mac OS and Mac OS X. The ColorSync selection enables driver-based color management. Selecting ColorSync tells the printer driver to specify one of its device profiles as the destination color space.

Vendor Matching is the program's color management. The program's color management typically calibrates the colors to be true, but doesn't take the printer or the paper type into consideration like the Color sync does. Keeping in mind Color sync enables driver-based color management as stated above.

For customers with little imaging expertise, default automatic color processing delivers good looking results. For users that desire professional color control, printer driver settings enable advanced color management features, including support for ICC color management.

  • How is it possible to calibrate without taking the printer or paper type into account? Isn't calibration by definition for a particular model or individual device? I'm not a pro, and won't be creating or worrying about ICC profiles. Which option is likely to result in better photos more often than not? And in which case is the color space conversion done by Apple-written code in OS X vs the printer driver vs the printer itself? Aug 16, 2015 at 15:45

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