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Running the Retina MacBook Pro at Full 2880x1800 Resolution

While Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro includes a display measuring 2880x1800 pixels, the default display options do not allow users to run their systems at that raw resolution. Instead, the extra pixels are used to display a higher level of detail on a canvas representing the previous 1440x900 resolution. As a result, windows and user interface elements appear to be the same relative size as on a 1440x900 15" display, but with four times the detail. Users who wish to use a desktop with apparent resolution higher than 1440x900 can still do so, as System Preferences offers several different options ranging up to 1920x1200.

Those users who want even more screen real estate by tapping into the full 2880x1800 resolution mode of the display can also do so, but the option involves a workaround that is not authorized by Apple. Macworld has more details on the process, which involves using either a third-party app like the paid SwitchResX (as noted in our forums) or one of a number of free options that have sprung up such as Change Resolution.


Retina MacBook Pro running at 2880x1800
(Click for larger)

Running a 2880x1800 desktop on a screen measuring only 15.4 inches diagonally obviously results in very small text and user interface elements, but for those willing to sit close enough to their screens to make the onscreen content readable, it may be an interesting option.

As noted by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, users running Windows on the new Retina MacBook Pro can also take advantage of the full display resolution, simply setting the resolution in preferences within Windows.

Top Rated Comments

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31 months ago

I smell a lawsuit.


Seriously? I don't think so somehow.
Rating: 43 Votes
31 months ago
- "not authorized by Apple"?

If I buy the hardware I will do with it as I please. :mad:
Rating: 40 Votes
31 months ago
Seems like this would be barely usable, but cool trick nonetheless.
Rating: 34 Votes
31 months ago
This is what I wanted to see :D

laggy pos i heard


You heard wrong.
Rating: 32 Votes
31 months ago
Actually surprised this requires a hack.

I have great eyesight so I would actually love this.
Rating: 28 Votes
31 months ago

Actually surprised this requires a hack.

I have great eyesight so I would actually love this.


I'm surprised too. I figured this was a native option.
Rating: 27 Votes
31 months ago

I dont get it, the desktop is normally 1440x900, I guess doubled up? So why not just use a normal 1440x900screen in it? :confused:


You are joking right? or freshly awake from a coma! :p

Apple is been doing this resolution X 4 (2x horizontal and 2x vertical) with the iPhone, iPod touch, the iPad and now with the Macs.

Retina display means in Apple terms "We give you the same screen physical size but with 4x the resolution"

Thats pixel x2 both horizontal and vertical, so a 1440x900 is 2880x1800 Retina.

Since the screen real state is the same everything has the same size onscreen but we get a lot more detail:

Rating: 21 Votes
31 months ago
The full display resolution will be available with Mountain Lion.
Rating: 19 Votes
31 months ago

The full display resolution will be available with Mountain Lion.


..and I suppose Tim Cook mentioned this to you?
Rating: 19 Votes
31 months ago

It's changing the Operating System that you don't own. You only license it.


It's not "changing the operating system" in any way…

:confused:


If it was recompiling the kernel or something… then maybe...
Rating: 17 Votes

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