I have just bought a new MBP 2020 13" and at the moment I am using it with an old 17" HP L1750 external monitor with the USB-C-to-VGA apple adapter; the quality of o the image on the external monitor is way worst than the one I got with my old MBP 13" 2009 (also with VGA adaptor): the text is kind of blurry and reading on that monitor is very tiring for the eyes.

Do you know why and if there is a solution?

In both cases the external monitor is set (in MacOS preferences) to 1280x1024, the native monitor resolution.


  • Not really an answer, sorry… but for the price of the adaptor, you could have bought a second-hand half-decent reasonably modern monitor.
    – Tetsujin
    May 25, 2020 at 16:49
  • Yes, definitely not an answer. I want to use that monitor and I want to understand why it doesn't work.
    – Eugenio
    May 25, 2020 at 16:50
  • USB-C is just the port type. Is this adapter converting from Thunderbolt to VGA, DisplayPort to VGA, or is it a USB VGA adapter? All three are very different things - the first two convert an existing signal to VGA, the their is actually another video adapter and creates a new VGA signal.
    – Allan
    May 25, 2020 at 18:32
  • It's the "USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter" by Apple. apple.com/shop/product/MJ1L2AM/A/usb-c-vga-multiport-adapter
    – Eugenio
    May 26, 2020 at 6:20
  • USB-C to VGA adapters are becoming harder to find. I’ve never had good luck with the “official” Apple adapters, but you can try this USB-C to VGA adapter. It’s single function so it seems more reliable (got one for use with an older projector).
    – Allan
    May 26, 2020 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


Since we don't have the the setup to compare and can't see how much the difference is, we can only make an educated guess. According to the information here, I believe the operating system running on 2009 MBP should be OS X 10.11 "El Capitan". On the other hand, MBP 2020 should be running Catalina, which is the latest for now.

There are some posts on the web (e.g., here, here, or here) which mention that the font smoothing on modern MacOs versions, especially Catalina has evolved so that the text looks much worse on displays which does not have dense pixels such as the retina screens or the 4K screens of sizes between 21 - 27.

If the problem is not related to the conversion of signal to VGA, using the solution stated in here should decrease the problem just a bit. I had the same problem with a 24" 1920x1200 HP monitor lately, and these settings helped to some extent.

Nevertheless, it looks like Apple has optimized its software and smoothing algorithms for the high resolution displays and therefore, MacOS Catalina seems to be not as forgiving as the older MacOS versions. On the other hand, currently, Windows and Linux does not have this problem and can do better with lower resolution screens as of now.

Hope this helps.


If you are using a different adapter then my guess is your new adapter is not as good as the old one. VGA is an analog signal so it can get fuzzy and still get through. A digital signal, like DVI or DisplayPort, will either work or not, it doesn’t get fuzzy from a bad conversion.

Is there a reason why you chose VGA instead of DVI? It appears the display supports DVI, or perhaps I’m looking at the wrong display. Use DVI and the signal is digital all the way, not being converted to analog and back. With an all digital signal the computer is driving each pixel individually, not giving the display an analog wave that gets chopped up and blurred by the conversion.

I recognize the age of the question but this is a situation people could still run into when moving an existing monitor from an old computer with mini-DisplayPort (or not so mini DisplayPort) to a new computer with USB-C. The system bot bumped the question to the top so I took that as an opportunity to answer.

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