How to Fix Blurry Fonts in MacOS Mojave for Non-Retina Displays
Do you think fonts and screen text looks fuzzy, blurry, or excessively thin in macOS Mojave? If so, it may be due to changes in anti-aliasing in Mojave, particularly for users with non-retina displays. If you are running macOS Mojave on a Mac without a retina display, or with an external monitor that does not have an ultra-high resolution screen, you may have noticed that some fonts and text can appear as fuzzy, blurry, or excessively thin and difficult to read. Fortunately, with a little effort you can make some adjustments to how MacOS Mojave handles font smoothing and anti-aliasing which may improve the appearance of text and fonts on your Mac screen.
We’ll show you a few tips on how to adjust font smoothing in MacOS to attempt to remedy any problematic font rendering or blurry text in macOS Mojave for non-retina displays.
These font smoothing settings are not recommended to change on a Retina display Mac, though if you feel like doing so you certainly can experiment with the settings on a Retina Mac as well, if you do then please report your experiences in the comments below.
3 Ways to Adjust Font & Text Anti-Aliasing in MacOS Mojave
We’ll cover three different methods of adjusting font smoothing and text anti-aliasing settings in macOS Mojave. The first is quite simple through a preference panel, but the latter options are more advanced and require using the Terminal. You can use any or all of them, and how each appears will differ depending on your particular Mac and the screens you use (and your personal preferences and perhaps eyesight).
How to Enable Font Smoothing in MacOS Mojave
- First, go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
- Choose “General” preference panel and check the box for “Use font smoothing when available” to that is enabled (or disabled)
You might instantly see a difference in simply toggling that setting on or off, and that alone may resolve the issues you are experiencing with fonts in Mojave.
The animated GIF below shows the before and after effect of simply toggling this setting, which looks better to you depends on your particular screen and individual preferences, but in this animation you can see the ‘enabled’ setting has a slightly bolder font that includes more anti-aliasing:
If that settings adjustment is sufficient you likely won’t want to proceed further, however there are more tweaks and adjustments you can make to how macOS Mojave handles font smoothing and text anti-aliasing.
How to Enable Font Smoothing in macOS Mojave by Terminal
If the above trick doesn’t resolve your blurry fuzzy fonts issue, then proceed with the more advanced tips further below to adjust how font smoothing works further.
- Open the “Terminal” application, found in /Applications/Utilities/
- Enter the following command syntax exactly:
- Hit Return, then log out and log back in (or reboot the Mac) for the font smoothing settings to change and take effect
defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO
This particular change was extremely subtle for my particular Mac, screen shots in animated GIF form attempt to capture the difference with the thicker bolder font the result after the defaults command was issued and the thinner version before:
Again some Mac users may notice this change alone is sufficient to remedy any complaints they have about font blurriness, fuzziness, font weight or text being too thin or hard to read.
But for some Mac users they still may have complaints, in which case you can also go further to manually adjust anti-aliasing settings in Mac OS.
How to Adjust Mac Font Smoothing Settings via Defaults
Next you can also manually attempt to change the strength of font smoothing settings (anti-aliasing) in Mac OS, this also relies on defaults commands entered into the Terminal.
Strong font smoothing defaults command:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 3
Medium font smoothing defaults command:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
Light font smoothing defaults command:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 1
You will want to log out and back in again, or reboot the Mac, for the changes to take effect.
How obvious or subtle the changes will be for you depends on your Mac, the display in use, and perhaps even individual preference and eyesight. Thus if you have any issue with the way fonts appear in macOS Mojave you might want to try each of the settings individually to find what works best for you.
Remove all adjustments to font smoothing in Mac OS and return to default settings
This command will remove any custom font smoothing setting:
defaults -currentHost delete -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing
This command will revert the change to rendering font smoothing settings back to the default in macOS Mojave:
defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool YES
Again, restart the Mac or log out and back in again for the change to take effect.
All of this may or may not apply to you and your particular Mac, screen, and display, but the cause (if this does apply to you) is apparently due to a change in how macOS Mojave handles font rendering and anti-aliasing.
Variations of this tip have been covered here at OSXDaily.com many times before, in fact many users originally noticed way back in Snow Leopard that font smoothing settings had changed in Mac OS X then, and again later (and still relevant today) when a Mac screen sometimes looks blurry or fonts appear fuzzy, and yet again in Yosemite where font smoothing became an issue too, and here we are with macOS Mojave with a similar round of issues with fonts not looking quite right.
These changes to font smoothing were first noticed during the beta period of Mojave, but persist today. Thanks to dev.to for the Mojave specific reference to this tip and the CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled defaults command string.