I recently got a Dell 2412m monitor with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200. But in system preferences it only shows 1920 x 1080. I had it connected, beautifully, to my spare linux machine, so that's not the issue.

How can I get the correct resolution on my display?

Specs: Dell 2412m Mac OS X 10.7.2 Connecting with MiniDisplay Port to VGA


You are unlikely to be able use the VGA input to go above 1080p

But just to make sure follow this answer how to view more Resolutions to try with.

MacBook Pro with Retina display (Late 2012) not outputting anything above 1080p

Select the monitor in System Preferences:

System Preferences -> Displays -> Monitor(not Built-in Display) -> Display Tab -> Resolution

Change from 'Best for Display' to 'Scaled' whilst holding the 'alt' key, more resolutions will be listed for you to select,

As noted in the comments, you have to start in the default mode 'Best for Display', and move into 'Scaled' whilst holding the alt/option ⎇ key, not the other way round

  • 1
    Alt Key secret works. – Artru Jul 12 '15 at 23:03
  • If you already have "scaled" selected, then you'll want to click back to "default" then hold down alt as you click on scaled. – VenomFangs May 16 '16 at 15:02
  • Also try SwitchResX madrau.com, or similar, it's not free, but you get 10 days to trial it and see if it works for you. – MichaelStoner Nov 18 '16 at 10:23

OK, I know you guys down voted paolap, however, for whatever reason, that worked for me. When I connect by 1440 x 900 monitor to my macbook pro, it tends to default to a 800 x 600 resolution, and I am not able to change it (or at least change it to what I wanted, even with the use of the alt key). It seems that somehow the order and timing of how things are plugged in and turned on can "magically" cause it to occasionally (1/5 times) default to the correct resolution. My theory is that somewhere, the monitor tries to tell the computer the correct resolution, but if the computer already decides to send a 800 x 600 signal, the monitor just decides to go with it. So somehow unplugging and replugging can sometimes make the computer realize what the correct resolution should be. Edit: I eventually switched to using DVI for the monitor and haven't had a problem since.

  • Worked for me too. – Jonas H. Nov 8 '17 at 10:06
  • In 2018 this is still valuable : my 1920x1200 monitor was set to 800x600 at first connect. Scaled "Alt" resolutions included 1600x1200 and 1920x1080 but not the native one. Unplugging and replugging did the job : macOS set it to 1900x1200, and this is confirmed in Apple menu About this Mac / System report. Strange, but working. – Francis Pierot Aug 7 '18 at 20:16

For whoever still has the same problem, just unplug and plug again the minidisplay adaptor into your Mac. I had the same problem with a smaller Dell and that does the job. P

  • The issue is not that it is not connecting. It is that the correct resolution is not displaying. Your answer does not resolve that issue at all. – sameetandpotatoes Aug 22 '13 at 23:29
  • This solved the issue for me – Jonas H. Nov 8 '17 at 10:05

Change the different VGA cable, I know this sounds silly but it worked for me

  • Please elaborate your answer. – killswitch Oct 23 '16 at 7:37

If you go to display settings -> Display. And hold 'option'-key before clicking scaled, you will get all the resolutions that are otherwise hidden.

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