Retina Resolution questions

Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Hey guys. So I finally bought my first mac... love it so far! There's one thing I don't understand though, since I bought the Macbook Pro 13" w/ Retina display. It's supposed to support the following resolutions, according to Apple:
Native resolution: 2560 by 1600 pixels (Retina); scaled resolutions: 1680 by 1050, 1440 by 900, and 1024 by 640 pixels

When I'm in display preferences, I have only the following options
  • Larger Text (1024x640)
  • Default (1280x800)
  • 1440x900
  • More Space (1680x1050)

So how is it exactly that I can get to use my native resolution of 2560x1600 ?
 
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
8,428
Reaction score
295
Points
83
Location
Waiting for a mate . . .
Your Mac's Specs
21" iMac 2.9Ghz 16GB RAM - 10.11.3, iPhone6s & iPad Air 2 - iOS 9.2.1, ATV 4Th Gen tvOS, ATV3
Under Display, there should be, Native for Display, and then Scaled, and if you have Native for Display checked, then that is your 2560 x 1600 . . . . Under Scaled, are other resolutions you can choose.
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Under Display, there should be, Native for Display, and then Scaled, and if you have Native for Display checked, then that is your 2560 x 1600 . . . . Under Scaled, are other resolutions you can choose.

Incorrect, it seems to give me the second option from the scaled resolutions list I provided above, namely Default (1280x800). I can see this for sure because if I click any other resolution, the screen blinks as it switches. However, picking between Native for Display and Default scaled does nothing. Meaning that a screen that was advertised to me as having a 2560x1600 NATIVE resolution, as the language suggests, is completely different? I can understand that the screen actually has that resolution and that scaling to 1/4th the size (2560x1600 to 1280x800) is easier on performance. But I would have expected native resolution being the actual NATIVE resolution, and the OS scaling everything accordingly as was also advertised of being a plus for buying a mac. I feel misled.

EDIT: The native resolution was confirmed to be 1280x800 upon visiting a wallpaper site.
 

pigoo3

Well-known member
Staff member
Admin
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
43,390
Reaction score
999
Points
113
Location
U.S.
Your Mac's Specs
2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
Meaning that a screen that was advertised to me as having a 2560x1600 NATIVE resolution, as the language suggests, is completely different?

Hopefully there's not a misunderstanding here…because is it happens a lot with retina displays.:)

I hope that when this computer is set to it's naive resolution…your not expecting to all of a sudden have a much larger amount of screen "real estate".

Yes…on a "regular" non-retina display…you might find a resolution close to 2560 x 1600 resolution on something like a 27" (2560x1440) or 30" (2560x1600) external monitor. But on a 13" retina MacBook Pro with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600…the pixel density is greater (more pixels per inch). It is the more pixels per inch that gives a retina display greater clarity & crispness (but NOT extra screen real-estate).

So..if you compare an:

- older non-retina 13" MacBook Pro with a NATIVE resolution of 1280x800
- newer retina 13" MacBook Pro with a NATIVE resolution of 2560x1600

From from a screen real estate perspective…they will both look EXACTLY the same (display the exact same amount of data or "stuff"). But…because of the greater pixel density of the retina display (more pixels per inch)….the 13" retina display MacBook Pro will look clearer, sharper, and crisper.

HTH,:)

- Nick
 

pigoo3

Well-known member
Staff member
Admin
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
43,390
Reaction score
999
Points
113
Location
U.S.
Your Mac's Specs
2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
If you need further info on this…read the article (below). It's based on a 15" retina MacBook Pro…but the principle is the EXACT same for 13" MacBook Pro's. Here's the key quote from the article:

"By default, the Retina MBP ships in a pixel doubled configuration. You get the effective desktop resolution of the standard 15-inch MacBook Pro's 1440 x 900 panel, but with four physical pixels driving every single pixel represented on the screen. This configuration is the best looking, but you don't actually get any more desktop space. Thankfully Apple exposes a handful of predefined scaling options if you do want additional desktop space:"

I bolded the key phrases.:)

AnandTech | How the Retina Display MacBook Pro Handles Scaling

- Nick
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Ah, I see.. So I DO have the native resolution advertised. And then OS X scales it to look like a lower resolution, and it default to 1/4th of the native resolution which has no computational overheads to scale since it's an exact factor of the native resolution. In that case, every resolution is technically scaling the display (or DPI), even the default one. So I'll stick to 1440x900.

EDIT: Thanks for the useful link!
 
Last edited:

pigoo3

Well-known member
Staff member
Admin
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
43,390
Reaction score
999
Points
113
Location
U.S.
Your Mac's Specs
2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
And then OS X scales it to look like a lower resolution, and it default to 1/4th of the native resolution which has no computational overheads to scale since it's an exact factor of the native resolution. In that case, every resolution is technically scaling the display (or DPI), even the default one. So I'll stick to 1440x900.

If the math is done for a 13" MacBook Pro:

- retina resolution: 2560 x 1600 = 4,096,000 pixels
- non-retina resolution: 1280 x 800 = 1,024,000 pixels

Then if the division is done:

4,096,000/1,024,000 = 4

Thus it can be seen that the retina display has 4x the pixels as a non-retina display in the same space (greater pixel density per inch). Greater PPI (pixels per inch). This is why the screen real estate is exactly the same. But the retina display is sharper, crisper, and clearer.

As far as "computational overhead" issues due to 4x the number of pixels. I do not believe that there are any performance problems. If there were…retina MBP's would be terribly slow…or need to have MUCH more powerful hardware.

If (for example)…the hardware was compared between the:

- 2012 13" MBP
- 2012 13" retina MBP

…both of these computers have the same CPU and GPU hardware (2.5ghz core i5 CPU, and HD 4000 Graphics). If the 4x pixel density of the retina MBP was an issue…the 13" retina MBP would be much slower (and it isn't).

So if someone has a retina MBP…I would recommend using the "native"/default resolution. Since it's this resolution that looks the best. This is what folks are paying for. The better, sharper, crisper appearance of the retina display!:)

- Nick
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Points
1
I'm okay with the performance hit (if any) from the scaling. Although I disagree with you on the default scaling (native) being the best looking, as I feel I could use more room, I'm curious to know if I technically lose out on anything by using a non-recommended resolution?
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Also, I found an app called SwitchResX that allows me to switch to any custom resolution. Now at 2560x1600, I can barely read what I'm writing :p
 

pigoo3

Well-known member
Staff member
Admin
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
43,390
Reaction score
999
Points
113
Location
U.S.
Your Mac's Specs
2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
Although I disagree with you on the default scaling (native) being the best looking, as I feel I could use more room...

We aren't disagreeing.:)

- "Sharper or Clearer Looking" is one parameter.
- More "screen real estate" or more room…is a different parameter.

So if someone prefers a sharper/clearer looking display…then they choose the 13" retina MBP's Native resolution. If someone would like "more room"…then they can choose a different resolution.:)

The one downside with choosing a different resolution to get "more room" (on a small 13" display)…is everything on the display becomes smaller. So if someone does not have good eyes…things can be difficult to see clearly.

If more screen restate is needed/desired…this is where an external monitor is a great idea.:)

- Nick
 

pigoo3

Well-known member
Staff member
Admin
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
43,390
Reaction score
999
Points
113
Location
U.S.
Your Mac's Specs
2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
Now at 2560x1600, I can barely read what I'm writing :p

EXACTLY!!!;) That's what I was emphasizing in my last post.:) If a resolution like 2560x1600 is chosen (on a 13" retina MBP)…everything gets smaller. Viewing 2560x1600 on a relatively 13" display…everything will be pretty super TEENY!;)

- Nick
 

RavingMac

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
8,275
Reaction score
227
Points
63
Location
In Denial
Your Mac's Specs
16Gb Mac Mini 2018, 15" MacBook Pro 2012 1 TB SSD
That is why Apple hides that resolution. It's not useful.

Unless you port it out to a large external monitor, where it can be very nice indeed . . .
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
480
Reaction score
21
Points
18
Unless you port it out to a large external monitor, where it can be very nice indeed . . .

Let me clarify.

"That is why Apple hides that resolution on the built-in screen on Retina model Apple MacBook Pros but not to external monitors. It's not useful."
 

bobtomay

,
Retired Staff
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
26,561
Reaction score
677
Points
113
Location
Texas, where else?
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
And for the op, you can select any of the options there for your own comfort. However, if you want the native resolution, you woud use the default 'Native for Display' or the default 1280 x 800 on your 13" MBP. The article Nick quoted from was referencing the 15" MBP which is 1440 x 900 and uses pixel doubling to 2880 x 1800.
 

Shop Amazon


Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.
Top