Is SwitchResX the Right Solution?

Is SwitchResX the Right Solution?

SwitchResx is a utility that allows users to customize and control monitor resolution. It runs in the background to provide an excellent experience to the users, and its user interface appears like an icon in the Menu Bar and Contextual Menu bar.

Using its Preference Pane Jets, users can override default settings. Therefore, users do not have to tolerate the default settings if they seem pathetic.

Leveraging the power of SwitchResX, you can explore all the resolutions that your monitor and video cards offer, and you are not limited to the default resolution settings of Apple. Above all, it allows you to define your own resolution if the resolution you are looking for is unavailable.

SwitchResX is highly configurable. You can specify which resolutions are widely accessible and which require modification. As a result, using this option, you can redirect a resolution to another regardless of the type of application.

Additionally, you have the freedom to create “Display Sets,” which will allow you to change the resolution configurations, depth, and physical position of your monitor and use an AppleScript with just one simple click.

On top of that, you can make the application accessible to everyone by assigning a specific Display Set to an application. Eventually, your MAC will automatically switch to a predefined resolution.

Historical Background

SwitchResX has been used for many years to control and customize all aspects of monitor resolutions. It includes the sudden changes in monitor resolution while launching an application, easy resolution management through aggregated display sets, and above all, extending the monitor capabilities by enabling it to display more resolution sets.

On macOS 8 and 9, adding more resolutions is not acceptable. The video driver was equipped with some resolutions. The system would select among them, which could be displayed on the monitor, and thwarts the users from selecting their desired resolution set. Consequently, users end up with a few choices.

Furthermore, sometimes the system is notoriously conservative and disabled the resolutions required to be displayed.

SwitchResX improves the user experience by allowing them to select these disabled resolutions. Since the resolution set was preprogrammed into the system, you could use them without rebooting it.  However, users are limited to the resolutions preprogrammed in the display driver.

On macOS X, resolutions are managed in a completely different manner. The display drivers are programmed to enable almost all the resolutions. It requires a consistent choice of parameters in a broad space. 

Thus, resolutions are a combination of parameters, and depending on your video card and display capabilities, some discrete timings are already programmed. That being said, you can always decide to add new timing sets to explore and create new resolutions. This is where SwitchResX comes into the picture.

In this wide open space, resolutions are scanned at the starting place or whenever a new monitor is identified. It is impossible at the time and level where SwitchResX operates to add a new resolution in one go. 

Benefits of SwitchResX 

  • Save your desktop layout and window positions for all of your open applications every time you start your MacOS. SwitchResX eliminates the excruciating waiting process following resolution-altering events like connecting or disconnecting of a monitor and immediately restores your desktop.
  • Attach your monitor settings with the display events, most notably Key shortcuts, Apple Scripts, Application launches, and many more.
  • It allows you to deactivate the monitor without requiring you to disconnect the power source. Eventually, you can use your MacBook in a clamshell mode coupled with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  • Offers quick access to resolutions for all attached screens from the menu bar.
  • Live animated preview of the window size on each resolution by hovering over the menu (menu bar mode) or selecting a mode (today widget).
  • Resolutions and previews are available for all the connected screens.
  • SwitchResX displays all the available resolutions for each screen. It is worth mentioning here that SwitchResX could not create new resolution modes.
  • User-friendly labels are displayed for each resolution, such as “Best for Retina Display,” “Native,” and “1080p NTSC”.
  • Labels can be added and customized for any resolution and screen, making it convenient for you to find your preferred resolution.
  • Store a record of any changes in the screen settings automatically.
  • Creative and enable a new custom resolution to adapt to any available screen, even the screen built-in into the cars.

What’s New in Version 4.12.1

  • Should be able to export EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) for nearly similar monitors.
  • Identify and fix issues while parsing EDID.
  • Fix issues when you are using the preferences file as a template.
  • Solves issues when you are quitting and saving the preference application.
  • Removes the popup window asking the user to install the helper tool on macOS 11 or above.
  • Allows displaying resolution in the main menu with different frequencies in the submenus. Furthermore, it allows sorting the resolution hierarchically in the preferred application.
  • Modifications of the appearance of brightness and underscan sliders in the menus.
  • Displays a full-featured contextual menu with all the options you found in its previous versions.
  • Attempts to be smarter when reading settings and matching display for configuration with a similar display.
  • Fixes an issue while attempting to gain resolution parameters on resolution with identical frequencies.
  • If the display number was added to the display name twice, fix an issue.
  • Resolved an issue when the brightness was not correctly set and recorded in the AppleScript editor.

Installation Process

In order to successfully install SwitchResX, you just need to double-click on the preferences pane icon, which will then redirect the preference pane to the right place in the system.

When the Preference Pane is open, SwitchResX will update or install its internal components in the right place.

What is Installed and Where?

  • The “SwitchResX” Prefpane is installed in your “Library/Preferences Panes” folder.
  • The “SwitchResX Menu” Contextual Menu is installed in the “Library/Contextual Menu Items” folder on macOS X 10.5, as well as in the “Library/ScriptingAdditions” folder on macOS X 10.6.
  • The “SwitchResX Extensions” element will be installed in the “Library/Application Enhancers” folder on macOS X 10.5 and in the “Library/ScriptingAdditions” folder on MacOS X 10.6.

Basic Features of SwitchResX

Here are a few basic features of SwitchResX; a few of them are also available in SwitchRes2 on MacOS 9, but many are upgraded for a better user experience.

Basic Interface

Upon the successful installation of SwitchResX, you’ll be prompted with the basic interface in one of the following locations:

  • In the menu bar


  • In the contextual menu when clicking on the Finder’s desktop.

Display-centric options are merged into hierarchical menus if you have more than one display. Most options of the menus are intuitive, so you can directly select the resolution and depth of all the monitors and any other specific option.

All the options displayed in this menu are highly configurable. You can choose to show only some options, separately from one menu to another. All this procedure is done in the SwitchResX Preference Pane.

The SwitchResX Preferences

This Preference Panel can be launched by an item in the SwitchResX menus either by the System Preferences Pay or by launching it in the Finder.

The settings in the Preference Pane are categorized into 6 sections. The sections are accessible by icons on the tools list’s left side.

Preferences are saved automatically when users quit the Preferences Pane or close the window. Most of the settings will be applied automatically. 

Let’s explore each section separately.

About Section


Here you can find complete details about the program, most notably the version and installed modules. Upon completing the registration process, you can enter the serial number. You can install or uninstall helper tools and check if a newer online version is available.

General Section


The options displayed in this part of the window allow you to define some basic settings:

  • Specify a System-wide key shortcut for opening the Preference Pane.
  • Specify a System-wide key shortcut for closing the SwitchResX Daemon.
  • Adjust the resolution of every monitor attached to the system or use a specific Display set.
  • Inform SwitchResX to use the Keychain to store the administrator login and password. By activating this option, you are not prompted to enter the login credential every time you make changes in the Resolutions panel.

Display Sets Section


If you have multiple monitors and are fed up with switching multiple display resolutions one after another, you have to change resolution and color depth concurrently. Above all, you are looking for an option to activate and deactivate video mirroring with just a key. 

SiwtchResX offers a comprehensive solution to meet all your demands in the form of multiple options display sets. These sets include resolution, depth, the position of a monitor, main monitor settings, and video mirroring options. All are merged into one single Menu option.

The Display sets are triggered either by a Key Shortcut when an application starts or brought to the front and even at the startup.

For each of these events, display sets will be applied. This is not limited to a resolution change because with just one key; you might want to instruct SwitchResX to open an application and automatically unleash the correct display settings.

You can add any AppleScript to a display set that extends the capability of Display Sets and convert it into any scriptable item of the system. Since Display sets can be automatically assigned to applications, you can instigate automatic actions whenever any specified application is launched.

Application Section


In this section, you are required to specify the application settings. You can define settings that can be used for every application and other settings that are used for certain applications only when the application is launched and presented to the viewer.

The principal settings include Display Set and the sound level. As a result, you can launch a game with the correct sound level and the appropriate monitor parameters specified in the Display Set. In most cases, older settings can only be restored when an application closes.

Other exciting options in this section include the following:

  • Automatically disabling a Dock and other relevant applications.
  • Restoring older settings when an application closes.
  • Applying the defined settings again when an application is brought in front of the viewer.

The last application option is the ability to restrict every resolution change from the application. Only SwitchResX can change the resolution. This option best suits graphics-intensive games that convert your monitor into hard-coded resolution.

Menus Section


This section lets you define what you want to see in the SwitchResX menus: the Menu Bar and Contextual Menu’s main menu. Here you are allowed to activate or de-active the menu in the menu bar.

Desktop Section


SwitchResX allows you to save the positions of the icons on your desktop as well as the positions and size of the windows of the Finder. This portion of the Control Panel allows the user to define more precisely how SwitchResX is going to handle this function.

In order to perform this option manually, all you need to do is to define when the desktop layout should be saved. On the other hand, if you want to automate the same option, SwitchResX can get this job done by saving the desktop layout automatically and reapplying the correct layout in the new section.

You can customize this feature and:

  • Tell SwitchResX to store only icons, windows, or even both while rearranging the windows.
  • Windows size and positions of all applications or only the Finder ones can be saved and restored.
  • You can use SwitchResX to place your icons at an exact location or let it choose the perfect position for them so your icons are correctly aligned. The grid spacing can be altered when required. If you enable this option, a new command will be added in the menus to rearrange your desktop when you want without restoring the icons.
  • Position your icons on their parent screen. Therefore, when you move a display, icons/windows remain at their original position or move parallel to the display. It is your prerogative to decide which option best suits you.

You can save windows and icons and store them in accordance with the resolution or Display Set.



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