Getting Sharper Text on M1-based Macs with 1440p Displays
Macs don’t provide HiDPI (or Retina) scaling for sharp text on monitors with less than 4K resolution, including those with a 1440p resolution (2560 by 1440 pixels), and existing workarounds for Intel-based Macs don’t work with M1-based Macs. Macworld’s Jared Newman highlights BetterDummy, a clever utility that addresses this limitation in a roundabout way. It lets you trick macOS by mirroring the contents of a fake 5K display of the right aspect ratio onto your actual 1440p screen. BetteryDummy is free and open source, so give it a try if you’re unhappy with your external monitor’s display settings.
Does SwitchResX not work?
According to its FAQ:
Version 4.11.1 was released this past April. The current version is 4.11.2 (released in September). See also the version history.
BetterDummy is free. SwitchResX is $16.
If 1440p HiDPI is the issue you’re trying to solve on an M1, you’d be a fool not to try BetterDummy first.
But (if I understand the products correctly), BetterDummy creates an additional virtual desktop, that gets mapped onto your screen. SwitchResX tweaks macOS’s internal tables so the OS natively provides the configured resolution. I would expect this use less system resources, if it works.
There’s a thread on the Better Dummy git site about lower battery life when running Better Dummy. Obviously there is most shuffling of data around using the method that Better Dummy uses vs how SwitchRes works. There’s also the possibility that the shuffling could incur swap to the SSD, which would create unnecessary wear and tear on the SSD, which is not changeable on the Apple Silicon Macs.
From the original article:
" users have been complaining about it for months to no avail"
Is this a “feature” or a defect? Is there any sign that Apple will resolve this?
Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum