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, 2016 at 14:44
  • 2
    This is insane. All this sweet hardware that I can't use because of non-existent text scaling in apple's stupid software! Aug 7, 2020 at 12:53

5 Answers 5


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

  • 3
    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, 2018 at 21:30
  • 2
    This only changes resolution, not text size. Aug 7, 2020 at 12:52
  • 1
    @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. Aug 11, 2020 at 22:08

Enable HiDP for your non-Retina display https://github.com/xzhih/one-key-hidpi

Usage: run this script in Terminal

bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/xzhih/one-key-hidpi/master/hidpi.sh)"

In my case, I ran the script then press (1) Enable HiDPI, then (6) Remain as it is, then I pick my screen resolution.

Your setup process may be different. Check the github link for more instructions and discussions.

After completing setup, restart the computer. Then open Display preference and you can adjust scaling setting and it'll looks sharp on your non-Retina display.

Disclaimer: I'm not the creator of the script and:

  • Some device have wake-up issue, script's second option may help, it inject a patched EDID, but another problem may exists here.

  • Logo scaling up may not be resolved, because the higher resolution is faked.


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.


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



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. Aug 7, 2020 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 :( Aug 7, 2020 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, 2020 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. Aug 7, 2020 at 14:50
  • I mean, it seems to be virtually rendering in software @ 1920x1200, and just upscaling (:puke) it to 2560x1600... Aug 7, 2020 at 14:51

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