How to change display resolution in mac osx

Written by joseph wiltham
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How to change display resolution in mac osx
Adjust the display settings on your Macintosh computer to make the best use of your screen size. (Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Your Mac computer's display resolution is a measure of how much information can be held on your screen at one time. When you set your resolution to a higher level, items on your screen appear smaller and you have more desktop space to work in. Reducing this value makes objects on your screen appear bigger and may be easier on your eyes. On the other hand, appearance is not as smooth at lower resolutions. Mac OS X has built-in resolution controls for quickly adjusting your display resolution settings to your liking.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click on the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your display.

  2. 2

    Click "System Preferences," then click "Displays."

  3. 3

    Click "Display" if it is not already selected.

  4. 4

    Select a resolution from the list of available resolutions. The most common screen resolution is 1280 by 1024 for standard screens and 1280 by 800 for wide screens as of February 2012. Mac OS X immediately applies the new setting.

Tips and warnings

  • Adjust screen brightness on the "Displays" menu by dragging the "Brightness" bar to the left or right.
  • Not all resolutions work for all monitors. Widescreen monitors have different display resolutions than traditional monitors. For example, a typical 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor resolution can go up to 1440x900, while a traditional 19-inch monitor resolution can go up to 1280x1024.

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