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Tom Briant

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Help for Tired Old Eyes while using your Mac

I realize that MacValley comprises a wide range of people. When you look at the pictures of our members, though, one thing becomes apparent. A lot of us wear glasses and I’ll bet a lot of those who don’t wear contacts.

As we age, our eyes do, too; and it becomes harder to view text and numbers on the screen. We strain, we move our glasses up and down our noses for a precise focus; we even use the Mac’s internal accessibility features to zoom the screen

So what’s a longer-lasting cure for our aging eyes? I have two solutions.

The first solution is to buy a new Mac. I was asked recently to help a client of mine with their new 27” 5K iMac. Among the first things I did was to set the resolution to show bigger text. This solved a long-standing problem.

If you are lucky enough to own a 5K or even 4K iMac, go to the Displays preference in System Preferences to set the screen text to a comfortable setting. 

“But I don’t have a 5K iMac and Lord Knows I can’t afford one!” In that case, I suggest you think about a new monitor. 4K monitors have come down in price and the 5K monitors will come down, too. I bought a 2K monitor (2560 x 1440) Dell monitor and that has helped me a lot.

Look at the Fry’s ads that come out on Sunday. 

Don’t see what you want or need at the Weekly Specials? Do some research. And let me tell you about my answer to this vision problem.

I use a Mac mini mid-2011 model. It runs a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440. That gives me plenty of space for audio editing, but working with Quicken or other text & numbers based app is a strain.

Here’s how I changed the resolution down to a more comfortable 1280 x 720. 

I’m using the Dell 2416D monitor I wrote about earlier.

I searched on the Web for an answer and found it with this article at  It works for OS X 10.9 and above. They give a link to an article at OS X Daily for doing this with Lion and Mountain Lion. 

You copy and paste the Terminal command they show into your Terminal. When asked for your Administrative password, enter it and press the Enter key. 

This change adds the Hi Dpi (dots per inch) resolutions to your Mac.

Here’s my monitor at 2560 x 1440:


Screen shown in 2560 x 1440 resolution


Here’s my monitor at 1280 x 720:


Screen shown at 1280 x 720 resolution


The article also tells you about two apps that will display resolutions that the Display Preference doesn’t show. 

I found it easy to just put an icon in the Menu Bar for easy access. To do this, open up the Display Preferences and click on the “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available“ checkbox in the lower left-hand corner.

 Show mirroring preferences checkbox



You’ll see the icon below appear in the Menu Bar


Display Preferences Menubar icon


So try it out. This doesn’t permanently alter your Mac and you can easily switch back and forth between your highest resolution for graphics work and these HiDPI resolutions for text and numbers work.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

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