Non-retina users, how's the font on Sierra? Blurry?

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
1,344
323
USA
During the beta, my non-retina MBP kind of made the system font on Sierra a bit blurry/out of focus looking. This wasn't an issue with El Cap. Is this something that changed with Sierra's font rendering engine, a beta issue, or something? Can anyone with a non-retina display confirm if the font looks slightly blurry/out of focus with Sierra, especially compared to El Cap? (El Cap's system font looks clear and crisp on my screen, and there's no issues reading it at all.)
 

coghlan

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2011
44
3
Canada
I think I found the trigger. First, I have 15" MBP 2011 (non-Retina). I use 1280x800 rather than 1440x900 resolution to enlarge all fonts. Fonts were always clear under El Capitan, but suddenly started becoming fuzzy/blurry/bleeding, especially on menu bars. I finally got fed up and experimented to see what would trigger this behaviour.

After launching Word, Excel, iTunes, Safari, Chrome...all the applications I usually run, I discovered that what turns the display fuzzy is launching Photos. When this app is loaded, my fonts are fuzzy and tend to have "shadows". Very annoying to look at. However, as soon as I quit Photos, the problem goes away.
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
#382
#65
#22
I have an MBP Early 2011 15'' and facing the problem with the blurred screen when I reduce / change the resolution size from standard to a lower one. I don't have this problem, when I have the standard scaled resolution. I tried everything from PRAM to SMC Reset, restarting, quitting all apps. Nothing worked. Also I never used Photos before, but i started and quit it by myself. Still the blurred screen / fonts are there since I updated from El Capitan to Sierra (10.12.2). In El Capitan and also before I never had this kind of problem. It is very frustrating and I cannot use my setup like before. Aynonelse facing these issues or has other suggestions?

Also in the Apple forum 2011 MPB owner are reporting this problem. (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7725238?start=0&tstart=0)
--- Post Merged, 2 minutes ago ---

See the thread about how Sierra causes MBP screens to become blurred at lower resolutions.
http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/sierra-makes-my-2011-mbp-screens-blurred.2019636/
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
1,467
1,178
tokyo
macbook air 15inch screen. ofcourse no retina on MacBook air.
absolutely no problem.
i only use native resolution.
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
macbook air 15inch screen. ofcourse no retina on MacBook air.
absolutely no problem.
i only use native resolution.
You mean macbook air 13 inch right? Could you try to reduce the resolution once and see what happens?
 

Kekinash

macrumors member
Nov 24, 2016
57
31
-
For me using an iMac 2015 with a resolution of 1920x1080 (Native for my iMac), the fonts look blurry, but as far as I know it always being a MacOS problem, under windows fonts look better to my taste, of course my iPad Pro is a different beast, actually I like the fonts better than under windows or android.
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
For me using an iMac 2015 with a resolution of 1920x1080 (Native for my iMac), the fonts look blurry, but as far as I know it always being a MacOS problem, under windows fonts look better to my taste, of course my iPad Pro is a different beast, actually I like the fonts better than under windows or android.
Actually on Sierra some old MBP models have the problem that the fonts are ultimately blurry as soon as a non-native resolution is being selected.
 

Kekinash

macrumors member
Nov 24, 2016
57
31
-
Yeap, even more modern models with native resolutions of 1080 or less have "problems" rendering the fonts, but actually is the way MacOS renders the font using a different subpixel rendering to be more accurated to print output and Windows OS tries to be more easy for reading on the screen. Different philosophies I suppose...
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
Yeap, even more modern models with native resolutions of 1080 or less have "problems" rendering the fonts, but actually is the way MacOS renders the font using a different subpixel rendering to be more accurated to print output and Windows OS tries to be more easy for reading on the screen. Different philosophies I suppose...
The thing is, this problem didnt occur before OS X Sierra. In El Capitan and also before, everything was fine.
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
Yes, this is the major complaint. Users were happy with how fonts were displayed on non-native resolution until the Sierra upgrade.
I read that you could solve the problem by quitting the photos app. Do you ave other suggestions? It dint work for me to open and to quit the photos app.
 

coghlan

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2011
44
3
Canada
I read that you could solve the problem by quitting the photos app. Do you ave other suggestions? It dint work for me to open and to quit the photos app.
I'd be quite steamed if quitting Photos didn't resolve the problem which, fortunately it does in my case.

Other than switching to the native resolution, the only thing I can think of is running the system monitor (utility that shows running processes...might have another name) and start killing off processes that aren't part of the system. It's possible that something related to Photos (e.g. that performs synching with iCloud) is running in the background and triggering the problem. Perhaps there is a system preference that could turn this behaviour off as well. I might actually have killed Photos this way initially, until I started using CMD-Q.
 

Apple 26.2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2011
958
173
What up, 212?!
Just did a fresh install of Sierra on a 2011 15" MBP - using native font, no blurring or out of focus appearance (fresh install on an SSD; previously used Mavericks).
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
Just did a fresh install of Sierra on a 2011 15" MBP - using native font, no blurring or out of focus appearance (fresh install on an SSD; previously used Mavericks).
Could your try to reduce the resolution once and tell us what happens?
[doublepost=1483625646][/doublepost]
I'd be quite steamed if quitting Photos didn't resolve the problem which, fortunately it does in my case.

Other than switching to the native resolution, the only thing I can think of is running the system monitor (utility that shows running processes...might have another name) and start killing off processes that aren't part of the system. It's possible that something related to Photos (e.g. that performs synching with iCloud) is running in the background and triggering the problem. Perhaps there is a system preference that could turn this behaviour off as well. I might actually have killed Photos this way initially, until I started using CMD-Q.
Hi thank you for your tips! Logging off from iCloud totally and quitting Photos and "Slimbatterymonitor" (add-on to show battery) the fonts were not blurry anymore!!
While testing things out I found out the following things:

1. Photos and "Slimbatterymonitor" are showed as "consumes high GPU" in the Activity processor. So this explains somehow that they caused the fonts to be blurry in a lower resolution.

2. When I only run Photos in the lower resolution, plugging off the magsafe resulted in the fonts not being blurry again. Plugging the magsafe in again and Photos still running resulted in fonts being blurry.

I don't use Photos app anyway, so finally I can use my MBP in a lower resolution again.

But now my real problem comes!

3. My problem is: When I connect an external monitor through the mini display port to my mac which is on the lower resolution, while my fonts are ok (Photos.app and slimbatterymonitor is closed), the fonts start to be blurry again after connection it to the external monitor. But the Fonts are only blurry on the MacBook pro window not on the external monitor. As soon as I switch to standard resolution the fonts are okay on my MBP while being connected to the external monitor. If I plug off the mini DVI, the fonts on my MBP are not blurry anymore, while being in a lower resolution. Do you have an other Tip for blurry fonts on my MPB while being connected to an external monitor? This would help me and my setup a lot. In El Capitan and before I could use my MPB in a lower resolution while being connected to the same External Monitor (same cables etc.) without any problems regarding the fonts.
 
Last edited:

BarracksSi

Suspended
Jul 14, 2015
3,902
2,626
I once tried to use non-native resolutions back in the OS 8.5 days but the result was so blurry that I never tried again.

You mean they were okay until Sierra?
 

BarracksSi

Suspended
Jul 14, 2015
3,902
2,626
I'll need to check when I get back home to my non-retina mid-2012 13" MBP. Never thought to change it as my eyes aren't that bad. (yet.. "growth mindset"...)
 

coghlan

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2011
44
3
Canada
Could your try to reduce the resolution once and tell us what happens?
[doublepost=1483625646][/doublepost]
Hi thank you for your tips! Logging off from iCloud totally and quitting Photos and "Slimbatterymonitor" (add-on to show battery) the fonts were not blurry anymore!!

<text deleted>

But now my real problem comes!

3. My problem is: When I connect an external monitor through the mini display port to my mac which is on the lower resolution, while my fonts are ok (Photos.app and slimbatterymonitor is closed), the fonts start to be blurry again after connection it to the external monitor. But the Fonts are only blurry on the MacBook pro window not on the external monitor. As soon as I switch to standard resolution the fonts are okay on my MBP while being connected to the external monitor. If I plug off the mini DVI, the fonts on my MBP are not blurry anymore, while being in a lower resolution. Do you have an other Tip for blurry fonts on my MPB while being connected to an external monitor? This would help me and my setup a lot. In El Capitan and before I could use my MPB in a lower resolution while being connected to the same External Monitor (same cables etc.) without any problems regarding the fonts.
Basically, you've discovered 2 triggers (Photos/iCloud synching etc. plus running an external monitor) for this issue. It's possible that both activate the same gremlin that messes up (technical term) the video hardware in a way that gets manifested as blurred/ghosted fonts on the local screen. I'm not sure why only the local screen would be affected, other than the fact that it has it's own physical (non-DVI?) connection and the video hardware probably sees them as physically separate video outputs.

While I do have an embedded system background, I can only take a guess at what is happening, which is that each trigger results in an incorrect setting being written to the configuration register for the local display. Basically, a bug which causes the video controller to mess up (technical term) the alignment of the pallettes or something. Perhaps the developer was unaware that the configuration registers aren't identical, and wrote the same value to both registers, causing unexpected behaviour on the local display, somewhere on the 2 identified paths.

Not much you can do about the bug, other than try to avoid triggering it. Turning off Photos/iCloud synching avoids the 1st trigger. Not sure how you can avoid the other one.

Two options: put up with it and hope that Apple provides a fix, or roll back to El Capitain - which might cause problems with your Photos and iTunes libraries. I think I would cross my fingers and hope there is a fix available soon.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
13,976
1,643
Australia, Perth
if u are that concerned with sharpness, than ya, it probably will look out of focus... and even I an tell the difference... On my old Retina 2015, it was sharper, but i wouldn't say blurry on non-retina. I don't believe just changing resolutions on Retina would help, because it will be sharp anyway, not "as sharp" as native, but its still a high resolution display.

So really i reckon the only option it to see on a non-Retina.
 

CreativeSeoul

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2017
21
0
Basically, you've discovered 2 triggers (Photos/iCloud synching etc. plus running an external monitor) for this issue. It's possible that both activate the same gremlin that messes up (technical term) the video hardware in a way that gets manifested as blurred/ghosted fonts on the local screen. I'm not sure why only the local screen would be affected, other than the fact that it has it's own physical (non-DVI?) connection and the video hardware probably sees them as physically separate video outputs.

While I do have an embedded system background, I can only take a guess at what is happening, which is that each trigger results in an incorrect setting being written to the configuration register for the local display. Basically, a bug which causes the video controller to mess up (technical term) the alignment of the pallettes or something. Perhaps the developer was unaware that the configuration registers aren't identical, and wrote the same value to both registers, causing unexpected behaviour on the local display, somewhere on the 2 identified paths.

Not much you can do about the bug, other than try to avoid triggering it. Turning off Photos/iCloud synching avoids the 1st trigger. Not sure how you can avoid the other one.

Two options: put up with it and hope that Apple provides a fix, or roll back to El Capitain - which might cause problems with your Photos and iTunes libraries. I think I would cross my fingers and hope there is a fix available soon.
Yes all I can do is hoping for now. But im pessimistic. How many people are effected by this problem, will it be reported to apple, will they change it when they get notice of it. I don't think so...
I will not go back to El Capitan, because i just had a clean install short time ago. I will just leave the things as they are like that for now. I was a happy Mac-User, but.. (i will not finish that sentence).

But could you do me a favor? Could you try out with an external monitor whether you are facing the same issue with a non native resolution?