Take retina screenshots on non-retina Macs

A few minutes ago, I posted about using curl to inspect HTTP headers, and I included a screenshot of the terminal window. Then I opened the page on my Retina iPad: the screenshot looked awful, to say the least.

Retina display icon

So I googled a bit and found this awesome Gist by Simone Manganelli, that shows the commands needed to enable “HiDPI” modes on regular Macs. These modes use four pixels on the screen for each “logical” pixel, just like Retina screens do. This will of course greatly decrease the available screen real estate, but on my 2560×1440 27-inch monitor it’s not much of an issue, not for the time needed to take a screenshot, at least.

The first command will make these mode available for selection from System Preferences/Display, the second will remove them. Note that you need to log out and then back in after issuing the first command to see the newly added resolutions.

Using this trick I was able to capture a much higher res screenshot, that definitely looks better on Retina screens.

2 replies on “Take retina screenshots on non-retina Macs”

Works great, thanks so much! I have a hackintosh with a 25 inch display, looking at these screenshots on my retina macbook before were horrible! This method works great. For some reason, I can only get 1280 x 720 (HiDPI) – is there any way to get more HiDPI modes perhaps for a higher resolution?

Thanks in advance though


Hi Kyler,
the resolution is limited by the real screen resolution: I have the same 1280×720 as my maximum HiDPI one, since my screen is 2560×1440 (so width and height are both 2x).
The “simulated” resolutions available on real Retina Macs are not available with regular screens, and I think it’s due to the fact that they would be pretty fuzzy on lower res displays.

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