Most MacBook models have a decent 13-inch screen size, but what if you want even more screen space for your programs? This is how you do it!
Because all modern MacBooks have an incredibly high resolution, they use what’s called a “scaled resolution.” An example: the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have a screen of 2560 × 1600 pixels. If you used all of those pixels like you would a normal screen, you’d end up with incredibly small text and menus.
Instead, macOS is scaled as if it were a 1440×900 pixel display. This makes everything easy to read, despite the large amount of actual pixels. At the same time, everything stays neat, because the computer calculates everything four times as neat (so 2880 × 1800), then squeezes it together.
More space on your MacBook screen
However, you can also adjust the screen scale of your MacBook. This allows you to have more space on your screen, as everything is slightly smaller. For this you need a MacBook with a Retina display: see the list here. Here’s how you set it up:
- Open System Preferences.
- Select “Views”.
- Under “Resolution”, choose “Scaling”.
- Click on the ‘More space’ box.
In the case of our 13-inch MacBook Air, the screen scale now looks like 1680×1050 pixels. It gives us a lot more space to work. This is good if you are working with several programs at the same time, but also, for example, in programs with a lot of small menus like Logic Pro or Final Cut Pro.
Unfortunately, the downside of scaled resolutions is that they can have a bad effect on your Mac’s performance.
When we set our MacBook Air to “More Space”, the computer calculates four times the size of 1680 × 1050. So that’s 3360 × 2100: many more pixels than usual!
Fortunately, this counts less on more powerful MacBook models, like models with an M1 chip or newer MacBook Pros with an Intel chip. But with older versions of the 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Air, the difference can be noticeable, so be careful of that.
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