How to scale MacOS to any size you like

amroc

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 13, 2010
31
4
Just in case people don't know how to do this... I was trying to find a way to enlarge MacOS on my external 1440p monitor, as all the UI text was a little too small to read comfortably. But do so in a way that didn't result in the blurring that happens when you reduce the monitor resolution.

I read about using SwitchResX to enable HiDPI resolutions, but I also read that it would only work if the scaling was an integer, so X2 scaling would create a desktop that was essentially 1280x720 on a 1440p, which would look nice, but not leave much space to work.

Anyway I discovered there is a way to scale MacOS to any arbitrary HiDPI res you like. Go to custom resolutions in SwitchResX (follow the instructions to disable SIP as you need to make custom resolutions). Add a new custom resolution, and select scaled from the drop down, then enter double the resolution of the actual resolution you're after. I have two resolutions here, 3840 x 2160, and 4096 x 2304. After rebooting, you should be able to select HiDPI resolutions that are half of this (so in my case, 1920x1080 and 2048x1152).

These HiDPI resolutions look far better than actually scaling the monitor, as it scales the OS UI instead of the entire screen, and the results are something much closer to what feels like the monitor's native resolution.

Here are two screenshots, first is what MacOS looks like when you set 1920x1080 with no HiDPI (just normally changing the resolution via Display in settings), and second when you set the 1920x1080 HiDPI via SwitchResX after adding a custom resolution of 3840x2160. These were both taken from my 1440p monitor.

1920x1080: https://i.imgur.com/IfKh1na.png
1920x1080 hiDPI: https://i.imgur.com/IykcUKi.png
 
Last edited:

AladdinDC

macrumors newbie
Jan 20, 2019
1
0
Just in case people don't know how to do this... I was trying to find a way to enlarge MacOS on my external 1440p monitor, as all the UI text was a little too small to read comfortably. But do so in a way that didn't result in the blurring that happens when you reduce the monitor resolution.

I read about using SwitchResX to enable HiDPI resolutions, but I also read that it would only work if the scaling was an integer, so X2 scaling would create a desktop that was essentially 1280x720 on a 1440p, which would look nice, but not leave much space to work.

Anyway I discovered there is a way to scale MacOS to any arbitrary HiDPI res you like. Go to custom resolutions in SwitchResX (follow the instructions to disable SIP as you need to make custom resolutions). Add a new custom resolution, and select scaled from the drop down, then enter double the resolution of the actual resolution you're after. I have two resolutions here, 3840 x 2160, and 4096 x 2304. After rebooting, you should be able to select HiDPI resolutions that are half of this (so in my case, 1920x1080 and 2048x1152).

These HiDPI resolutions look far better than actually scaling the monitor, as it scales the OS UI instead of the entire screen, and the results are something much closer to what feels like the monitor's native resolution.

Here are two screenshots, first is what MacOS looks like when you set 1920x1080 with no HiDPI (just normally changing the resolution via Display in settings), and second when you set the 1920x1080 HiDPI via SwitchResX after adding a custom resolution of 3840x2160. These were both taken from my 1440p monitor.

1920x1080: https://i.imgur.com/IfKh1na.png
1920x1080 hiDPI: https://i.imgur.com/IykcUKi.png

I use this solution, but it is stoped working in Mojave. It is just me?
 
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