Fuzzy Text in Yosemite. Is there a fix?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by I Need a Drink, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. I Need a Drink macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2013
    I recently came over from the PC crowd and have noticed that my new Mac Mini and, to a lesser extent, my 27" iMac both have blurry (fuzzy may be a better word) text. I have turned off LCD Font Smoothing and that helped a little, but the text is most definitely fuzzier than on Windows.

    I tested this by loading Windows in Parallels and by using Microsoft RDP to log into another Windows PC on my network. I then loaded the same web pages into Firefox on Windows and on my Mac and did an A-B comparison by swiping back and forth between them and the Windows was consistently sharper. This tells me it's not the monitor that I'm using for the Mini (Dell 2405FPW) and it's not the Mac itself. It has to be something with Yosemite as the sharper Windows images still had to be rendered through Yosemite in their respective apps. Is there any way to fix this?
  2. wildatheart macrumors member


    Nov 28, 2008
    It may be an HDMI issue; can you connect to the monitor via DVI-D? Not sure if an HDMI to DVI-D cable would work here, but on my mac pro, I have fuzzier text over HDMI than DVI-D (my video card has a dedicated DVI-D port though).
  3. I Need a Drink thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2013
    I am currently hooked up HDMI to DVI on the monitor. However, I am looking to purchase a new 27" monitor and will hook up via Display Port at that point. But if it was a connection issue, wouldn't Windows have the same problem when viewed through the Mac?

    One thing I forgot to mention is that turning off the LCD Font Smoothing helped in OS menus and in some other apps, but web pages are the big problem right now and are the main culprit at this point.
  4. DaSal macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2008
    The Netherlands
    Windows and OSX handle font rendering differently.

    In simple terms, Windows uses a clear font system that, especially on older, low resolution screens, aim to make fonts as clear and readable as possible. They do this by basically "sharpening" a font. Making edges clearer and such. This results in a "sharper" font.

    OSX focuses on accurate font reproduction. Which means, the font will show as intended, or, the same as it would show in print. This means that many fonts are "fuzzier". Really though, they're just more rounded. Font rendering like this shines on high resolution (especially retina) displays.

    I recommend you give it a week or two and then re-consider your standpoint. Personally, after I got used to the way OS X renders fonts, I find Windows font rendering to be extremely off-putting and ugly. It just makes every font look jagged and thin.

    And as a graphic designer, it's even worse, because you're not seeing the font as it really look, but rather, an interpretation of it.

    Fun fact: the now-defunct Safari browser on Windows also used the OSX style font rendering. I'm not sure if you can still find it anywhere, but if you could, you could try it, then you could see the OSX-style font rendering on a Windows platform.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    What DaSal said above is correct. You perceive the font as fuzzy because you are not used to it. For instance, after years on OS X I can't look at Windows fonts without my eyes starting to water. Give it a few days, you will get used to it.

    As to whichever method is better, its difficult to say, as it mostly boils down to personal preferences. There is no doubt that OS X more 'correctly' represents the fonts (that is, it draws them as they are supposed to look — in the extend it is even possible at a limited-resolution display). Also, the OS X way results in a better text quality on retina displays, where pixel granularity is less of a problem.
  6. Sheza macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    I've used my Macbook (having been a long time user of a PC, which I still use) for several months now and I still hate the way Macs render fonts. Sure, on the retina display they look fantastic. It's like an iPad or iPhone, couldn't be better. Beautiful.

    But hook it up to a larger screen to do work in my room? God help me. What's worse is that while the text is generally blurry, there is the occasional glitch whereby an app or two will have parts that are actually blurry. You can tell the difference - normally it just looks quite pixelated, but when it's blurry it's blurry.

    I am typing this on my PC right now and I have to tell you, I still prefer the way Windows handles fonts. Everything is much sharper, and it makes up for having a display with much less PPI than all my other devices.
  7. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    I guess it's just personal preference but I find Windows fonts pixelated, and I hate the way they are rendered.
  8. Sheza macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    I've found enabling font smoothing via the command:

    defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
    Helps improve small fonts like in the Finder window, but makes other fonts, especially on Safari, even worse.

    Still, I long for the day I either get a MacBook that can run a 4K Display with HiDPI mode, or I get the 5K iMac. Wishful thinking, though.

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7 February 4, 2015