4 Ways to Run Retina MacBook Pro at 2880×1800 Native Resolution

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The screen resolution of the Retina MacBook Pro 15 ″ is 2880×1800, but due to the way a retina display works, the effective resolution is 1440×900 and the elements on the screen simply work in HIDPI mode. Apple offers an option to run at 1920 × 1200 through System Preferences, but as of now there is no built-in approach to get the retina display on the screens running at a true 1 × 1 native resolution of 2880 × 1800. You can activate the 2880 × 1800 option through various third-party approaches, resulting in a massive amount of screen space, albeit with small screen elements. If that sounds good to you, here are three four different ways to enable the true 1-to-1 native res:

SwitchResX

A fairly straightforward solution, SwitchResX is a third-party preference pane that allows you to run custom resolutions on any screen. Install the preference pane, select the Retina display and add a custom resolution setting for 2880 × 1800.

  • Download SwitchResX from the developer

This shareware app is free to use for 10 days before it wants to be registered. SwitchResX has many technical tweaks available, which may make it overkill for this task.

SetResX

Probably the easiest option of all, SetResX is a small menu bar app that lets you run 2880 × 1800 with ease.

  • Download SetResX (make sure to click on the bottom download link, not the ads on the page)

Hopefully, the SetResX developer will find a less shady site to host their app, but SetResX works nonetheless.

scrutil

Slightly more advanced due to the nature of the command line, the free utility called screenutil gets the job done instantly with a quick access to the Terminal:

  • Download ScreenUtil now (direct download link)

Launch Terminal and drag scrutil to the command line to use it once, but if you plan to use it often, it’s a good idea to throw scrutil into / usr / local / bin for easy future access. Once installed, the retina display will be changed to native 2880 × 1800 with screenutil with the following command:

scrutil s 2880 1800 16

The command reports the resolution change, the 16 at the end is color depth, so you can set that to something else if you prefer. You can reset it to the default resolution via System Preferences or with scrutil s 1440900.

ChangeResolution

ChangeResolution is a new small AppleScript front end for a command line utility that changes the resolution to 2880 × 1800:

Choose the method that works best for you, but now that the Retina MacBook Pro is just shipping to many customers, chances are better options will be available soon. We will keep you posted.

Thanks to Michael for the tips

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