⇠ Luna’s Blog

Hey Apple, what’s up with these colors?

I use the Freeform app quite a lot for doodling on my iPad.[1] It’s not a perfect app, but it works for my needs, those needs being “recapturing that childhood habit of idly doodling on grid paper”. However, I’ve noticed something that I now can’t un-notice.

There are five colors available in the Markup toolbar — red, yellow, green, blue, and black.

There’s also a color picker pop-over, which by default also has five swatch colors — again, red, yellow, green, blue, and black.

However, as the observant among you may have already noticed:

These are not the same colors.[2]

Compare the toolbar colors (top) with the popover colors (bottom):

I initially thought this might be some mis-handling of color spaces, as Apple displays generally use Display P3 and a mis-conversion between sRGB and Display P3 felt plausible? But playing around with the colors I couldn’t get them to line up in a manner that might confirm that theory. If you’d like to poke around with it, the colors are as follows (as RGB triples in the P3 space):

color toolbar popover
red 232, 70, 74 235, 77, 61
yellow 247, 210, 84 247, 206, 70
green 121, 212, 117 100, 196, 102
blue 59, 124, 242 40, 95, 244
black 0, 0, 0 0, 0, 0

  1. Well, I used to, anyway. I updated to iPadOS 17 while writing this post, and I think it’s fair to say that was a mistake. I’m now looking for alternatives. 

  2. Okay, yes, the two shades of black are the same. Shush.