Most forums I found on Google mentions that the easiest way to zoom things up on a Mac Display is to set the resolution lesser. But, that just stretches the lesser resolution screen leading to blurry visuals.

I'm in fact searching for something on Mac like this which is offered on Windows PCs

enter image description here

How do I do that having the same resolution set?

PS: This question is similar to this post except that I want everything (including top bar, icons, everything literally) unlike just changing the font size

  • I've searched for this same thing but as the answers to the other question also state, I don't think this ability exists as a built in option. – I0_ol Oct 6 '16 at 14:44
  • This is insane. All this sweet hardware that I can't use because of non-existent text scaling in apple's stupid software! – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 12:53

On retina Macs it is in System Preferences > Display (see this article). Switch it to "scaled" and it should show multiple choices that look like this:

enter image description here

  • I think the OP is asking about non-HiDPI scaling monitors where if you option-click on Scaled you can reveal that what is going on is that for those monitors (e.g. my Dell P2715Q that it is just dropping the resolution). Apple retina screens and 4k+ monitors are different and you get that "Looks like 1024 x 640" notice. When I change the scaling I don't get "Looks like..." it just changes the resolution. – lamont Feb 22 '18 at 21:30
  • This only changes resolution, not text size. – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 12:52
  • @DevAggarwal It changes the text size too. You're still using the native resolution of your monitor—it will be slightly blurry because you don't have clean integer scaling, but far better than actually setting a lower resolution. – Wowfunhappy Aug 11 '20 at 22:08

Essentially this is only available on the newer Macs with Retina display. They have a slider similar to that in Windows with four or five different sizing levels (more data (more content, small text), more detail (less content)).

Also, there is a similar topic on Stackoverflow Simulate HiDPI via Quartz Debug but I'm not sure how useful this is in every day situations.


The pixels on a display are a grid. Either you're using the native hardware grid of the display, or you're mapping some smaller virtual grid onto the hardware grid by scaling the image up. Scaled images can be either an integer value (e.g. 1 pixel to 2 pixels), or a fractional value (e.g. 1 pixel to 1.25 pixels).

If you're scaling the image by a fractional value: e.g. 1.25 (125%), then the OS has to do more anti-aliasing, which is a kind of 'smudging' color over several pixels to fake fractions of a pixel.

Windows scaling uses less anti-aliasing, and rounds things to the nearest pixel, making the image sharper, but less accurate in size and position. MacOS's anti-aliasing is more accurate, but uses more sub-pixel artefacts, which can look blurry, particularly on lower-density pixel displays.

In short: you can't select a fractional scaling without some loss of sharpness.

Apple's default 2x scaling for Retina displays should yield the best results. If you're using a non-Retina screen, then using an integer scaling will yield the sharpest results, but bear in mind that the pixel density isn't as small.

  • Any kind of scaling on my mac ultimately seems to decrease the resolution. It's noticeably less sharp than the native 2560x1600 resolution of the "retina display". I used this test pattern to confirm my suspicions - eizo.be/monitor-test. – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 13:41
  • Add to that the fact that the largest resolution mac os is willing to render is 1920x1200, and it feels like getting robbed after paying for a 2K display :( – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 13:43
  • @DevAggarwal What display are you using? If you have a 2560 x 1600 display, then the largest resolution macOS renders is ... 2560 x 1600. That's what I use on my Apple Thunderbolt Display. If you want bigger images, then yes, you need to scale down. You'll only get the same clarity at 1280 x 800. – benwiggy Aug 7 '20 at 14:22
  • Macbook pro 2013. It says on the display preferences that it's using 1920x1200 at the rightmost "more space" option. And yes, 1280x800 seems to be comfortable in terms of font and UI size. – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 14:50
  • I mean, it seems to be virtually rendering in software @ 1920x1200, and just upscaling (:puke) it to 2560x1600... – Dev Aggarwal Aug 7 '20 at 14:51

I will offer this technique as well, just in case you are looking for "temporary" resizing. I use this method during online meetings to quickly Zoom-in for the attendees better visibility.

I enable Accesibilty features in System Preferences.. I added "control" and "Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom

While sharing my screen, (or not), I can hold down control - Mouse-wheel. or control - 2-finger-drag


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