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Enable 1440p Retina scaling on external monitors with M1 Macs


One objection from new M1 Mac owners is that there seems to be no way to enable 1440p Retina scaling on external monitors.

Apple has never officially supported it on monitors below 4K, but there are solutions for Intel Macs that do not work with any of the M1 machines. Fortunately, now there is a solution…

MacWorld indicates a third party solution.

It’s called BetterDummy and basically tells macOS to think you’ve turned on the 5K monitor. Using Apple’s screen mirroring features, you can then reflect the contents of the fake monitor on your real 1440p panel and enjoy all the advanced scaling options that Apple itself won’t provide. (The app is free with optional donations.)

I have personally tested BetterDummy on a pair of external 1440p monitors and can confirm that it works as advertised.

Jared Newman from the site warns that the process is not very intuitive, but it provides a complete illustrated walk, which I recommend you read. He suggests trying 1920 × 1080 (full HD) first, then 2048 × 1152 if you want to display more content, or 1760 × 990 if you want high magnification.

He also adds a few other warnings:

Some users have reported problems putting their MacBooks to sleep over a hot corner or pressing Shift-Control-Esc, as the virtual screens will simply freeze in place instead of turning off. If this happens, go to the BetterDummy menu bar icon and select Settings> Disconnect and reconnect in sleep mode, but keep in mind that you may still experience sleep problems on rare occasions.

BetterDummy may also stop working when you turn off the monitor, plug in a new one, or connect an iPad for use with the Sidecar. If this happens, click the icon on the BetterDummy menu bar, then turn off and reconnect your dolls in the Manage Dummies menu.

Finally, keep in mind that the option to start BetterDummy automatically at startup is turned off by default. You can change this via the menu bar under Settings> Start Login, but you will still need to enter your device password and wait a few moments before the BetterDummy mirroring trick starts.

Still, it solves one of the few problems people encountered when upgrading from Intel to the M1 Mac.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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