I am looking for an answer to help people who are in the following situation:

  • They are using an external display
  • The external display has resolution A x B
  • The resolution in "Displays" (in System Settings) is already set to A x B (not a resolution less than A x B)
  • They would like the UI elements to be smaller (artificially display with a "higher" resolution)

My specific situation:

  • I have an external display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080
  • I would like be able to select a resolution greater than 1920 x 1080 in display preferences so that UI elements are smaller on the external display (2400 x 1350 would be great)
  • I cannot find any way to set it to this value...

What I have tried:

  1. The "Show all resolutions" slider in display preferences. This only shows resolution less than the native resolution of the external monitor.
  2. Using the BetterDisplay app. Unfortunately, this costs money. I am looking for a way to do this for free if at all possible.

1 Answer 1


Use the BetterDisplay app. It has a 14-day free trial, and after that, you can purchase the pro license for $18 (as of 2023-11-27).

  1. Create a "virtual screen" with the same aspect ratio as the external monitor
    1. Click the menubar icon
    2. Expand the Displays And Virtual Screens section
    3. Click Create New Virtual Screen
    4. Open the application window and navigate to Displays > [the virtual screen] > Aspect ratio
  2. Add the desired resolution
    1. Select Use custom resolution list
    2. Add the desired resolution (ensure that it has the correct aspect ratio; otherwise it will not be accepted)
  3. Mirror the virtual screen to the external display
    1. Expand Association settings and select Enforce virtual screen mirrors
    2. Associate the virtual screen with the external display (Displays > [the virtual screen] > Associated displays > Associate this virtual screen with real display(s) > [the external display])
  4. Done! (you may need to adjust the display arrangement under the System Preferences > Displays)
  • 1
    @Giacomo1968 I am providing the only solution I found as an answer, but I am still looking for an alternative. If someone could provide a free alternative I will accept that answer. I'm also in touch with the developer of DisplayBuddy and it seems they can implement this feature as well. Dec 27, 2023 at 18:30

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