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Is android color managed?

Color management is an important but often overlooked aspect of digital imaging. With different devices displaying colors differently, having a proper color management system ensures colors are displayed accurately and consistently across different screens. In this article, we’ll take a look at whether Android has color management capabilities and how it handles color profiles.

What is Color Management?

Color management refers to controlling and managing the colors displayed on different devices like monitors, printers, cameras etc. to ensure consistency. Since each device has its own gamut (range of colors it can reproduce), images may look different when viewed across different devices.

A color management system aims to map colors from the source to the destination device to minimize variations. This is done using color profiles that define the color characteristics of each device. The source profile defines the colors in the image while the destination profile defines the capability of the output device. By understanding these profiles, the color management system can make adjustments so colors are accurately reproduced on the destination.

Importance of Color Management

Here are some key reasons why color management is important:

  • Consistency – Images look the same across different monitors, printers etc. This is essential for design work.
  • Accuracy – Colors are reproduced accurately as intended, rather than being limited by the destination device’s smaller gamut.
  • Reduced guesswork – Takes the guesswork out of how colors will look when shared across devices.
  • Improved quality – Overall better color quality and fidelity across workflows.

Without proper color management, you may end up with inconsistent results across devices. Colors like neon greens may look dull on some displays but overly saturated on others. Subtle tones may get lost when printing an image. This is why color management is vital for photography, graphic design, publishing and other color critical applications.

How Does Android Manage Color?

Android uses the industry standard ICC (International Color Consortium) color management system. Some key aspects:

  • Android supports color profiles like sRGB, Adobe RGB etc. in images.
  • The default color space used is sRGB which covers typical consumer display capabilities.
  • Support for wider color gamuts like Display P3, introduced in Android 7.0, for HDR displays.
  • CMS (Color Management System) adjusts colors appropriately based on profile.

However, color management in Android has some limitations:

  • Limited internal bit-depth – Rendering is done at 8-bit or 16-bit instead of 32-bit float used in professional applications.
  • Not all native apps use color management consistently.
  • Lack of system level controls over color handling.

While Android OS provides basic color management capabilities, the experience may vary across different OEM devices based on factors like display calibration and implementation in apps.

Color Profiles

Color profiles define the color space that contains the colors in an image. They encapsulate the color characteristics of a device to accurately communicate color. Here are some common color profiles supported in Android:

Profile Description
sRGB Standard color space for displays, web and consumer cameras. Covers typical display gamut capabilities.
Adobe RGB Wider gamut, used widely in print publishing and high end cameras.
ProPhoto RGB Extremely wide gamut containing billions of colors, used in photography.
DCI-P3 Standard in digital cinema, also used in HDR displays.

sRGB is the default color space in Android. Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB allow encoding a wider range of colors but are not yet widely supported across the ecosystem.

Color Management in Apps

How well color management works in Android depends on the individual apps. Here are some observations:

  • Browsers like Chrome generally handle color profiles well.
  • Image viewers like Google Photos do a decent job with color management.
  • Adobe apps like Lightroom provide extensive color controls in line with the desktop version.
  • Some Android image editing apps ignore profiles or have limited handling.
  • Third party camera apps have varying degrees of color profile support.

In general, apps from major developers seem to utilize color management appropriately. But some third party or smaller developers neglect this aspect leading to inconsistent results.

Improving Color Accuracy

Here are some tips to get better color accuracy on your Android device:

  • Use display modes like sRGB or DCI-P3 if your screen supports them.
  • Try using a colorimeter to calibrate your display.
  • Use color managed apps like Lightroom for critical editing work.
  • View images on a color calibrated monitor as the final benchmark.
  • Use DNG raw files and shoot in Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB profiles for photography.

While the OS provides basic color management, you may need additional steps to tune your workflow for color critical applications.


Android does support modern color management with ICC profiles and wide gamut capabilities. But it lacks some higher end controls you may find in desktop operating systems. The experience can also vary across OEM devices and apps. While color accuracy has improved in recent years, additional tuning is required for professional grade color work. But for average users viewing web content and casual photos, Android provides satisfactory results out of the box.

With wider gamuts becoming mainstream in smartphones and HDR content, color management is an area that needs continued focus in Android. Hopefully device manufacturers and app developers take steps to improve color handling consistency throughout the ecosystem.