4 Ways to Run a Retina MacBook Pro at 2880×1800 Native Resolution
The Retina MacBook Pro 15″ screen resolution is 2880×1800, but because of how a retina display works the effective resolution is 1440×900 and the onscreen elements are just running in HIDPI mode. Apple provides an option to run at 1920×1200 through System Preferences, but as of now there is no built-in approach to running the retina display at the screens true 1×1 native resolution of 2880×1800. Instead, you must activate the 2880×1800 option through a variety of third party approaches, the result of which is a gigantic amount of screen real estate, albeit with tiny onscreen elements. If that sounds good to you, here are
three four different ways to enable the true 1-to-1 native res:
A reasonably simple solution, SwitchResX is a third-party preference panel that allows you to run custom resolutions on any display. Install the preference panel, select the Retina Display, and add a custom resolution setting for 2880×1800.
This shareware app is free to use for 10 days before it wants to be registered. SwitchResX has a lot of technical customizations available within it, possibly making it overkill for this task.
Probably the easiest option of them all, SetResX is a little menu-bar app that allows you to run 2880×1800 easily.
- Get SetResX (be sure to click the lower download link, not the ads on the page)
Hopefully the developer of SetResX will find a less shady site to host their app, but nonetheless SetResX does work.
Slightly more advanced due to the nature of the command line, the free utility called screenutil gets the job done immediately with a quick entry into the Terminal:
- Get ScreenUtil now (direct download link)
Launch Terminal and drag and drop scrutil into the command line to use it once, but if plan on using it often it’s a good idea to toss scrutil into /usr/local/bin for easy future access. Once installed, changing the retina display to native 2880×1800 with screenutil is achieved with the following command:
scrutil s 2880 1800 16
The command will report back the resolution change, the 16 at the end is color depth so you can set that to something else if you’d like. You can set it back to the default resolution either through System Preferences or with scrutil s 1440 900.
ChangeResolution is a new tiny AppleScript front end to a command line utility that changes the resolution to 2880×1800:
Pick whichever method best suits your needs, though with the Retina MacBook Pro just now starting to ship to many customers there’s a high likelihood that better options will soon be available. We’ll keep you posted.
Thanks to Michael for the tips