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I have different screen resolutions I need for various situations, for example:

  • Mac Retina while mobile: 1680x1050

  • Mac Retina + Thunderbolt: default (equal scaling on both monitors)

  • (optional) Mac Retina 1680x1050 + Thunderbolt: default (equal scaling on both monitors)

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I'd suggest cscreen, but there's no confirmation it works well/at all on Retina MBPs. – colons Oct 4 '12 at 21:52

I'm not 100% sure this is what you're after, but it's possible to check the "Show displays in menu bar" option in System Preferences -> Displays. This adds a menubar item which allows you to quickly switch between recently used resolutions

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Alternatively, maybe something like Display Maestro or SwitchResX would help? These both seem to have the ability to display and switch between recently used resolutions.

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There is also QuickRes. You can try it.

QuickRes is the quickest and easiest way to switch between screen resolutions on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. With just a single click or simple key-combo you can give your Mac more screen space than ever before with sizes ranging up to 3840x2400!

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In my experience, just plugging in a monitor I've previously used will revert to the Display settings I last used with that monitor. So rather than needing to switch between recent display settings, I just need to plug it in and it switches automatically.

When I plug my computer into the DVI projector at work, it switches to 720p as the last-used setting with that projector, but when I use the external monitor on my desk, it uses the native 1680x1050 resolution.

I don't know if this works with VGA monitors, since I don't think the computer can actually identify the monitor(?), but would assume this generally applies to digital connections (DVI, HDMI, Thunderbolt).

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