Is it possible to have a pre-retina Application have good retina text. As in MenuBar text, and textbox and textfields and other text locations as long as the original developer used native OS X text handling API's.

For applications that do their own graphics and text rendering we know that there is a difference when trying to run on a Retina display as noted by the MacBook Pro Retina Display Analysis (see AnandTech comparison picture below).

The example of Non-retina Google Chrome vs Safari is noted to be a worse case caused by Google doing their own thing for rending text / graphics in the Application. Does this imply that if your not doing your own text rendering you get retina text for free?

AnandTech Image of non-retinaChrome vs Safari

2 Answers 2


Applications using standard Cocoa APIs should get retina text for free.

This was the same way it was released with the iPhone 4 in iOS. If you used standard UIKit, you basically got it all for free, and just had to update resources, etc.

So, with a Retina MBP as of right now, many apps need to add @2X resources (for things like images, etc), but otherwise standard applications should render all other content as retina.

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    For example, in Word, the font drop-down (which shows names of typefaces rendered in that font) is custom and looks blocky. But the size drop-down is a simple native control with a bunch of numbers and looks perfectly sharp. (Which then makes the rest of the app worse in comparison.)
    – Ken
    Jun 18, 2012 at 0:10

There is an app which forces retina text for non-retina applications. http://retinizer.mikelpr.com

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