Currently, if I take a screenshot e.g. 1000x1000, it provides a 1000x1000 image. Ideally, I want to be 2000x2000.

Is it possible to take screenshots in 2x/retina resolution with the default screenshot tool (or any other tool)?

  • 1
    I don't understand what you're asking: if you take a 1000 x 1000 px snapshot, you get "all the pixels" that your 2x scaled Retina display is using. There are no more pixels to get. You are already taking screenshots "in 2x Retina resolution".
    – benwiggy
    Feb 26 at 13:34
  • 1
    @benwiggy I believe retina packs more pixels in one screen pixel?
    – Runnick
    Feb 26 at 13:38
  • No. It "zooms" everything to twice the size, and then displays it on its pixels, which happen to be twice as densely packed as a 'normal' display.
    – benwiggy
    Feb 26 at 13:39
  • 1
    Well maybe I don't understand fully how it works, but currently screenshots look bad in quality if I view them immediately after taking.
    – Runnick
    Feb 26 at 13:43
  • Then ask a question about that. What Mac, what OS, and what display? And what app/content?
    – benwiggy
    Feb 26 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


Case Study:

My 5K Apple Studio Display has twice the pixel density (218ppi) of my old 2K Thunderbolt Display (109ppi). Both are 27".

1000 x 1000 pixels on the Thunderbolt display (2560 x 1080) would be a square of 9.2 inches on the screen.

On the Retina Studio Display, that same 1000 pixel square would be half the size (a square of 4.6 inches).

If I drew a screenshot area of 9.2 inches square on my Retina Display, it would encompass 2000 x 2000 pixels -- twice as many as the Thunderbolt display for the same screen object/area.

The "2x Retina scaling" means that it uses twice the pixels (on each axis) to display the same object/area as the non-Retina display.


When you take a screenshot, you get all the pixels that are on your screen. If your display has only 12 pixels, you'll get a 12-pixel image. If your display has 6K pixels, you'll get a 6K-pixel image.

If you want an image to have a higher resolution than your display, then you can't do that with a screenshot. The answer will then depend on what kind of image it is, what app is generating it, and how much data there is.


I use a tool called Cleanshot*. By default it takes screenshots at retina resolution.

It also has the option to downscale retina screenshots to 1x. As well as many other features which are useful if you take a lot of screenshots, especially if you are using them for communication.

*Cleanshot is a paid product but I am not affiliated with them in any way, just a happy customer.


Looking through the comments question it seems like I misunderstood. This tool will not take an image of a 1x screen and scale it up to 2x.

  • 3
    In StackOverflow an answer like this wouldn't be allowed because it mentions a product. In this case it's answering the specific question. I am not affiliated with the product in any way. All that said, if this answer is in violation of policy I hope people will comment and I will remove it.
    – lewis
    Feb 26 at 13:30
  • 1
    It is perfectly acceptable to reference a product here. The only improvement that should be considered is to disclose the author’s affiliation within the answer itself. As for the content, additional supporting info would be hugely beneficial
    – Allan
    Feb 26 at 13:42
  • 1
    You should probably edit and put I am not affiliated with the product in any way. in the answer, rather than a comment as comments tend to get deleted over time. Feb 26 at 13:44
  • I can see that this app scales Retina down to "normal", but I can't see anything about it scaling up, which would presumably just be re-sampling the existing data.
    – benwiggy
    Feb 26 at 14:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .