The new retina display MacBook Pro is advertised to have a native display resolution of 2880 by 1800. On the Lion 10.7.4 build, the system preferences limits the highhest resolution at 1920 by 1200.

Can this be raised easily in Lion? (and are there any undesirable side effects to changing this?)

  • I wonder what resolution the screen looks like when selecting the "More Space" side of the scaling in the Display System Preferences on the Retina MacBook Pro? – MrDaniel Jun 18 '12 at 16:02

Yes, with a little help you can get to the native resolution and a few others as well.

Have a look at: http://osxdaily.com/2012/06/18/3-ways-to-run-a-retina-macbook-pro-at-2880x1800-native-resolution/

The article mentions 4 software products that allow easy setting of the resolution without using Apple's display pane.

  • SwitchResX
  • SetResX
  • scrutil
  • ChangeResolution

Good luck reading small type, though ;)


On new hardware, this is displayed differently than the traditional Display preferences pane. So yes, but you won't see the traditional n x n resolution listed. Here's what it will look like on a retina-enabled MacBook Pro:

Display Preferences

  • Will non retina external displays have traditional resolution settings on the MacBook Pro Retina? – MrDaniel Jun 18 '12 at 15:53
  • 2
    @MrDaniel No, they don't get the traditional resolution (at least when using a Apple Display). I saw that @ the app store, where they had a Retina Mac connected to an external apple display. – Martin Marconcini Jun 18 '12 at 16:15
  • More space maps to 1920 by 1200 when booted to finder and selecting more. I want more than more :-) – bmike Jun 18 '12 at 20:16

What gives you the idea that Lion is restricted to 1920x1200?

enter image description here

  • Sorry - edited the question title to more closely match the request to address the retina display on the MBP. – bmike Jun 18 '12 at 20:15

The maximum resolution in Lion, as in most operating systems, depends on your graphics adaptor and monitor, so the answer is different for different hardware configurations.

  • While generally right, this is actually incorrect for the Retina MacBook Pro. See some of the other answers for the details. – Cajunluke Jun 18 '12 at 20:24

As you know, the new Mac OS X Mountain Lion is coming and it will release before Retina MBP. That mean every Retina MBP will run Mountain Lion. You won't get Retina MBP running Lion. It's like you cannot get a "The new iPad" (iPad 3) running iOS 5.0.1.

  • Well, I wonder what the Retina MBP is running I saw in the Apple Store on Saturday. Didn't look like Mountain Lion to me. – nohillside Jun 18 '12 at 17:16
  • Did they sell the Retina MBP already? I tough they will sell it in September? – Nam Phung Jun 18 '12 at 17:29
  • Current delivery time is 3-4 weeks but was shorter initially. And the ones in the Store are operational as well, so no ML on them. – nohillside Jun 18 '12 at 17:31
  • If they run Lion on the Retina display, imagine all the icon will be half of the size and it'll look really small on the 15 inch display, if you see the same icon size on the normal and the retina display, might be they had some modified the Lion for the retina display. – Nam Phung Jun 18 '12 at 17:36
  • 2
    The retina MBP has been in customer hands since last Tuesday. Mountain Lion is not released yet and doesn't even have a ship date. The retina MBP ships with Lion 10.7.4 as I stated in the question so this doesn't seem analogous to running an iPad on older OS. – bmike Jun 18 '12 at 20:20

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