Enable HiDPI Display Modes in Mac OS X Lion with Quartz Debug
In what is some of the strongest evidence that Apple is working towards bringing higher resolution retina style displays to Macs, a series of hidden HiDPI resolutions can be enabled in OS X Lion.
Much like how iPhone UI elements handles it’s retina screen, the HiDPI modes in Mac OS X double the resolution of many onscreen elements, which would make the elements look sharper on very high resolution displays. Unfortunately, these aren’t particularly useful at the moment because no Mac screen currently supports a ‘retina’ resolution, and for now, using HiDPI basically just loads 2x sprites as shown in the screenshot up top. Regardless, this does provide some favorable support to recent rumors of retina Macs and it can be fun to to use, so here is how to enable these HiDPI display modes:
- Download and install XCode (free on the Mac App Store)
- Launch the “Quartz Debug” app, located in /Developer/Applications/Performance Tools/
- Pull down the “Window” menu and select “UI Resolution”
- Check the box for “Enable HiDPI display modes”
- Click “Logout” to log out and back into the user account
- Open “System Preferences” and click on “Displays” to see the HiDPI modes, shown with (HiDPI) next to them
As previously mentioned, using a HiDPI display mode has no practical purpose at the moment until a screen appears that can support the resolutions these modes are intended for.