Give your Retina Mac’s screen more real estate with OS X’s scaling options

Macs “with Retina displays allow the user to configure their own resolution scaling options,” Anthony Bouchard writes for iDownloadBlog.

“These scaling options can be taken advantage of to give your Mac more screen space and gives you the illusion that your screen is bigger than it really is,” Bouchard writes. “With that in mind, you can run more windows side-by-side and be more productive.”

“By default, your Mac operates at double the pixel density of a non-Retina display Mac of the same model,” Bouchard writes. “Although keeping the scaling at the default level is best on the eyes, because it renders everything at a normal size, scaling everything so it renders at a smaller size to fit more windows and text on your screen at one time makes it possible to consume more information at a single glance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Are you running your Retina mac on “Default for display” or “Scaled?”


  1. This is one of the best but often overlooked features on a Retina display.

    I always showcase this to clients that are deciding between a MacBook Air and a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display or even between a 13″ MBPr and a 15″ MBPr. Or again between a 12″ MacBook and a 13″ MacBook Air.

    By using the scaling option along with a bit of management on your window sizes you might be extremely happy with a smaller, lighter mote affordable notebook.

    The same can be said for the desktops. The new 21’5″ iMac with Retina Display may be a great option over a 27″ iMac if scaling is used.

    I wish Apple made the feature a bit more obvious and accessible. 5 clicks and having to understand what it is make it an often under-utilized or unused feature.

  2. Sccaled, between Default and “More Space”. This is the sweet spot for both my iMac Retina and my 13″ MBP. It gives you a *huge* amount of real estate in comparison to standard display configurations.

  3. Huh, didn’t know this. Looks like it’s tolerable to make my 15-inch MacBook Pro more like the 17-inch I wish Apple still made. Maybe when the 4-inch iPhone shows a big market for size flexibility, they’ll reconsider making a 17-inch.

  4. I use HiDPI mode on my NON-retina displays for working on a treadmill with slightly more distance. That is on an 27″ iMac and external 27″ monitors. Sometimes I get tired of walking and sit back 4 feet from the display with my wireless keyboard. Nice change of distance for exercising my eyes.

  5. Nice but all things being equal I would prefer a larger screen. I don’t like having to stick my nose close to the screen to make out Apple’s tiny gray-on-white sans serif fonts. Apple seems to have forgotten all about people with imperfect eyesight.

  6. When Apple finally realizes (after a full decade) that they need to separate UI font sizes from Finder font sizes, super high resolutions will finally make sense int he Finder.
    The folks at Apple think that none of their customers are over the age of forty and they assume that everyone has excellent vision. (Because Apple’s project managers are all around 30 and leave before they turn forty and recognize the problem.)
    When at full resolution on my 27″s, a 12 pt font in the UI actually displays as 8 pt, which is totally bogus. I have to set the preferences for every list view window at 14 pt – w/o a universal pref for this, I have to make this change as a default with a couple of dozen windows every day. Even then, the text in Safari tabs, etc., is too small to read without eyestrain (especially with the current system font – what they had back in the 10.8 days was much easier on the eyes).

    1. I think this comment is right on target. My 27inch retina is beautiful, but I can’t read anything in Safari without hitting Alt + 3x for a large enough font (I can read it w/o much strain at 2x, but 3 is preferred). It’s just annoying to have to do that all the time…to essentially zoom in every page. There needs to be a better way.

  7. If your eyesight is perfect, the scaled-down resolution does let you to see twice as much stuff. But you need really good eyes — it is all half the size; icons, text, mouse pointer, everything!

    There was a time, some years ago, when I would have gladly preferred this option. After turning 50, the resolution of my retina, plus the agility of my pupil muscles, aren’t what they used to be anymore…

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