Here's what the Retina MacBook Pro's secret 3840 x 2160 resolution looks like

Here's what the Retina MacBook Pro's secret 3840 x 2160 resolution looks like

Summary: The Retina MacBook Pro is all about the resolution, baby. The problem is that OS X only gives you access to four options.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Software

In November 2012 I wrote a piece about how to get the most out of your Retina MacBook Pro display. In it I complained about how Apple dumbed down the Displays System Preference to this:  

Get the most from your MacBook's Retina Display - Jason O'Grady

To remedy Apple's resolution snubbing, I recommended a fabulous little utility called Retina DisplayMenu (RDM) from Paul Griffin (a.k.a. Reddit user "phoenixdev"). RDM runs as a menu bar item and gives you the option of selecting from 29 monitor resolution choices on the fly, which beats the pants off of four. It's incredibly handy for switching resolutions between say, reading content and a writing project that requires multiple windows be open side-by-side. 

Having just taken delivery of a "Late 2013" MacBook Pro 13-inch (with 16GB and 1TB SSD) I re-installed RDM out of a renewed frustration with Apple's limited resolution options. In addition to the 11 readable "HiDPI" options, the developer also includes 18 more "scaled" resolution options that range from huge (640 x 480) to unreadable (3841 x 2160). 

The developer notes that RDM (v0.2) is still under development provided without warranty or support (the source code is available inside the app bundle.) RDM is free, although it could easily fetch a buck or two in the Mac App Store. 

And, in case you were wondering what 3840 x 2160 resolution looks like, here's a screenshot of six web pages open side by side -- reduced to 620 pixels wide for the ZDNet CMS. (Here's the high-res version.) 

The Retina MacBook Pro's secret 3840 x 2160 resolution - Jason O'Grady
(Picture: Jason O'Grady)

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • There's a reason, you only get

    Four choices, and it has to do with how Apple handles retina UI elements. Now, if you want crap fuzz for you GUI elements, by all means install your utility. But don't try to sell me on how awesome it is to be able to blur up your display.
  • Oh Dear.

    And why is it clever to simulate a 3841 x 2160 on a device with a native 2560 x 1600 display ???

    the 3840 x 2160 resolution is for higher res EXTERNAL displays. Plug one in and you'll find that it isn't secret at all.

    In fact it goes to 4094 x 2160
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • So UHD?

    3840 x 2160 is UHD TV resolution.

    Is this really the display's native resolution? In which case Apple is making UHD (aka 4K) laptops and not telling anyone?
    • In which case Apple is making UHD (aka 4K) laptops and not telling anyone

      ...why they need 4k on their laptop, other than to justify some increasingly anachronistic prices.
  • High res. . . so where's....

    Where's the Video out port so I can display the screens content on my HD TV??
    • Re: Video out port....

      Mini Display Port to HDMI Cable is what you need.

      I have an iWires produced by Techlink