Jeremy Brown

April 28, 2021

Fixing the fonts on my new MacBook Pro 13″ Retina on external displays

Originally published on the 26th of May 2015.

I have a new Mac­Book Pro 13″ Retina (early 2015) that is pretty amaz­ing, how­ever when I plugged it into my large exter­nal dis­play at the office fonts became really blurry and ugly, so bad that I could barely look at the display!

After a lot of mess­ing around I’ve found a cheaper solu­tion than buy­ing an awe­some Apple display!

Basi­cally it’s a com­bi­na­tion of this arti­cle on the prob­lem Fonts Look Blurry in OS X Yosemite? Change Font Smooth­ing Set­tings but I found that though the arti­cle rec­om­mends a set­ting of “2” or Medium I found (after much repet­i­tive reboot­ing and chang­ing one vari­able at a time) that a set­ting of “4” or Strong actu­ally worked best for my display.

The actual com­mand to type at the ter­mi­nal is:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 4

This set­ting wasn’t doc­u­mented in the orig­i­nal arti­cle but it can be found in this one Change Font Smooth­ing how­ever the com­mand line syn­tax in the first arti­cle had an effect while this didn’t work.
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -integer 4

Com­ment and link to this if this help you as a ran­dom Googler, it’s always great to know I’ve saved some­one a bit of time!