Menu bar

How to Make Text and Other Items Bigger or Smaller on Your Mac’s Retina Display

For decades, people with vision problems have adjusted their system resolution to make things like text and interface elements bigger. This is a terrible idea, because it distorts basically everything on your screen. If your Mac offers a Retina display, the System Preferences offers a better way.

Instead of changing the system’s resolution, macOS can scale things like interface elements and text, allowing photos and other graphics to still take full advantage of the display’s native resolution. It’s somewhat akin to the DPI scaling on Windows 10, but a lot less confusing.

How to Adjust Your Mac’s Display Scaling

To explore these settings, head to System Preferences > Display.

Under “Resolution,” check the “Scaled” option. You’ll be presented with four to five choices, depending on the size of your screen.

I’m using a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels. I’m presented with four options, all of which “look like” a hypothetical resolution on a previous-generation Mac. The default, for example, “looks like” 1440 by 900 pixels, which you can see by hovering your mouse pointer over the option.

The two options below the default “look like” 1280 by 800 and 1024 by 640, as I work my way down. The option above the default “looks like” 1680 by 1050.

These numbers are somewhat arbitrary, in that they are related to how previous-generation Macs looked at particular resolutions. The precise choices offered will vary depending on your specific Mac model. And to be clear, your system resolution doesn’t actually change if you choose a different setting: just the scaling of things like text and interface elements will change. The result is similar to changing resolution on older Macs, but without the visual distortions.

Are you wondering what this looks like? Well, here’s my desktop set to the default setting, which “looks like” 1440 by 900 pixels.

And here it is when I choose the “More Space” option, which “looks like” 1680 by 1050 pixels:

As you can see, the browser window takes up a lot less space on my desktop now, and the menu bar looks quite a bit smaller. If you have good eyesight, this setting can make your Mac’s display feel quite a bit bigger, allowing you to have more things on the screen at once.

Going the…

Which Version of Firefox Am I Using?

Firefox isn’t the go-to alternative browser that it used to be, but it’s still a favorite among power users and open source advocates. Here’s a brief guide on how to find out what version of Firefox you’re using…and what the different versions actually mean.

Finding the Version Number

In the latest versions of Firefox on Windows or Linux, click the “hamburger” menu in the upper-right corner (the one with three horizontal lines).

In the bottom of the drop-down menu, click the “i” button. Then click “About Firefox.”

The small window that appears will show you Firefox’s release and version number. Click “What’s new” for a look at the release notes.

On a Mac, the process is a little different. Just click “Firefox” in the menu bar, then “About Firefox.”

Release Versions: How Stable Are You?

Firefox comes in four primary versions: the standard release, the beta version, the developer edition, and nightly builds. Here’s what that means.

Stable

This is the current release of Firefox, the one that the vast majority of users have installed. All the features have been thoroughly tested and are ready for use by the general public. Users of the stable release don’t get access to the newest tweaks and features, but it’s the one you want if you don’t like surprises in a crucial tool on your computer.

Beta

The beta release is one “version” ahead of the stable release—at the time of writing, the stable build of Firefox is on version 53, but the beta is on version 54. This version is for those who want access to the new features a little faster. Features that make it…

How to Add a Drop-Down Calendar to the macOS Menu Bar Clock

Windows users can click the clock on the taskbar to see a calendar, which is perfect if you need to know what day of the week June 17th is. Macs don’t offer this feature, at least not out-of-the-box. But there are programs that can add one.

Our favorite free option is a program called Itsycal. It’s lightweight, shows your Calendar appointments, and even supports keyboard shortcuts for quick browsing. Here’s how to set it up, and even customize it to replace the clock on your menu bar.

Getting Started With Itsycal

Head to the itsycal homepage and download the application. It comes in a ZIP file which you can unarchive by clicking. Drag the application to your Applications folder.

Launch the application and you’ll see a calendar icon in your menu bar. Click this to bring up a tiny calendar popup.

Appointments are shown below the calendar, and you can click any day to see its appointments. Don’t like using the mouse? You can browse using the keyboard: “J” and “K” browse up and down, while “H” and “L” browse left and right. You can also use the arrow keys: Left and Right jump forward a month, while Up and Down jump between years.

At the bottom of the pop-up window is an icon that looks like a gear. Click to to access the preferences.

From here you can decide…