iMac 27" Resolution Setting

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Schnapper
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iMac 27" Resolution Setting
6 months ago

In a thread a couple of weeks ago, I was lambasted and called an Apple hater for, among other things, having my iMac 27 set to the non-native resolution of 1920 x 1080.  One of the people who were giving me such a bad time about it indicated that he had never heard of anyone using an iMac 27 with the resolution set to anything below the full 2560 x 1440.  I guess he doesn't get around much, because there are discussions about it here and here and in a lot of other places (the three linked forums are just a sampling).

I had it set at that resolution for a number of reasons, including:

- I was using the iMac to watch a lot videos that were at 1080p resolution, so if I had the display set to 2560 x 1440, when watching those videos either I wouldn't have been using the full size of the screen (i.e. it would have been like watching on a smaller monitor that just used a 1920 x 1080 window within the larger display area) OR the movie would have had to be stretched to fit the fit the full size of the screen... stretching that would have caused degradation of the image (as I was so harshly reminded of when the display resolution is set to any non-native value).

- With the display set at full resolution, everything on it is displayed smaller than when the display is set at a lower resolution.  The icons, the text on web pages, the dock, the command bar across the top, etc... are all smaller and more difficult to read.

- When I set the display resolution to 1920 x 1080, I agree that the overall display was less crisp than it was when it was set to 2560 x 1440.  But even with the slight degradation in display crispness, the items on the display were still easier for me to read because they were larger by enough of a margin to way more than make up for the slight loss of crispness due to using a non-native resolution.

- I tried it both ways for a while when I first bought the machine, and decided that overall I liked it at 1920 x 1280 better - it looked "good enough" (great, actually) from a crispness standpoint and it was easier for me to read and see things on, so that's where I left it and I was/am happy with it.

However, after the discussion from a couple of weeks ago, I decided to have another run at the native resolution to see how much better it really is... some of the sites that I had researched indicated that people usually will "get used to" the smaller icons and fonts and text after a couple of weeks, so I figured maybe I should give it two weeks at the higher resolution.

During my experiment, I've found a few things that have made the 2560 x 1440 resolution setting more comfortable/usable for me, so I figured I'd share them with other people who, like me, might have found the small icons and text to me less than optimal with the display set on full resolution...

- The "command +" to zoom in was helpful, but I found it annoying to always have to do it... there are some sites I'd visit where it would seem to "stick" for the entire time I was on the site, but others where I'd have to re-zoom in after every click of the mouse (typically in forums when clicking on a new thread).  This annoyance was going to be the gripe that sent me back to 1920 x 1080, but I found a work around for it... creating a "style sheet" for safari to set my default zoom level so I DON'T have to wear out my "command" and "+" keys.  It is explained here and seems to be working well for me.

- I didn't like that the icons on the screen/desktop were so small, but I wasn't aware that I cold change them.  After a while living with them smaller than I like, I finally played around a bit and got them larger.  I "right clicked" on the screen and selected "Show View Options".   I guess I had always done that before with "finder" open so I never got the option to change the size of the icons on the desktop, but if I did it with finder closed or I closed finder after doing it the pop-up changed and I had a slider with "Icon size" that I could change to as large as I want (I went with 80 x 80) and I could change the size of the font showing the file names below the icons (I went with 15).  Much more to my liking!

- I also didn't like that my dock was small, but that was one of the first things I changed during my initial experiment in 2010 and I changed it again (Apple menu --> Dock --> Dock Preferences).

- Many of the other apps also have internal settings that can be changed to display text and menus larger.... in Finder it is View --> Show View Options (or "command" + "J") and then the font and icon size in the folders can be adjusted larger, in some of the other programs it's been similar.

- I have not yet figured out a way to make the upper command bar (along the top of the screen, with the menus displayed in the upper left corner and the clock and spotlight and wifi-status in the upper right corner) to be displayed bigger, but as of now that's the only thing that I think is still too small with the display set to 2560 x 1440.  If anyone has a trick for changing the size of the bar, I would greatly appreciate it if you'd share it with me.

Maybe some or all of the above is known to many/most people, but several of the tricks (especially the default zoom setting for Safari) was new to me and isn't something that seems to be talked about a lot, so I thought that some people might benefit from what I've figured out over the past couple of weeks so I'm posting it here.

I haven't yet watched a 1080p movie with the display set at 2560 x 1440, but I'm sure it will be ok.

With the above changes, I like the appearance and can read it well enough that I'll probably stick with the 2560 x 1440.

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