Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently purchased a new iMac which I love except for one sort of big issue - the text is blurry on several programs. At first I thought it was a browser issue when I noticed it in Gmail (using Chrome then Safari) and now I notice it's in other programs/applications on the computer as well. I have tried changing the display settings and nothing seems to help. After doing some searches on this it seems like this is a common issue with Apple. Is this something that Apple users just learn to deal with? It is night and day from my PC where the text was as crisp as can be...I was really looking forward to making this switch but this would be a deal breaker I think.

Here are some screenshots that I captured:

blurry text1

blurry text2

share|improve this question
A screenshot would indeed be great. You can share it by posting it to something like a public Photostream or some other photo sharing service and then linking to it from an edit to your question. Someone here will likely edit it into your post then. Apple actually makes amazing displays, and based off of what you are saying, if it's not a configuration error, it's likely a hardware or software failure. – bassplayer7 Jan 22 '13 at 2:34
Here you go thank you… – applejs Jan 22 '13 at 2:52

Both screenshots look normal, but subpixel rendering is disabled in the Pixelmator dialog.

There is a hidden preference for using a lighter text rendering style:

defaults write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 1
sudo defaults write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 1

The second command affects the force quit window and login screen. You have to quit and reopen applications to apply the changes.

Other than that, you can't really change the way text is rendered.

share|improve this answer
I wasn't looking to change the way text is rendered, I was just wondering if the text looks normal to other Apple users, especially the text in the Pixelmator example. If that looks good to you guys or what you're used to then I guess that answers my question. – applejs Jan 22 '13 at 15:33
The Pixelmator screenshot doesn't look that good to me either. I think subpixel rendering should be used even for bright text on a dark background. I prefer OS X's text rendering style (when using the light setting) especially for serif fonts and Japanese text though. – user495470 Jan 22 '13 at 16:50

Make sure the display is set at 1920x1080, or check "best for built-in display" in the display settings. My family's 21.5 iMac had blurry text and it took me awhile to figure out that someone had set the resolution to 1600x900. (or maybe an app had resized the screen, then it didn't get resized back after the app quit?)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.