New utility fixes missing resolutions on M1 Macs

Apple’s new Macs with the various M1 processors are fantastic in many ways, but one area where the company has been in a hurry is the connection of external monitors that have several serious shortcomings compared to Intel Macs.

We have previously written about issues with high-resolution widescreen displays that cannot be used with scaled resolutions larger than 3008 x 1296 pixels. Another problem concerns those users who have screens with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution and think that the interface is too small.

On Intel Macs, it is easy to enable support for hidpi (“retina resolution”) on such screens so that you can use it with, for example, “looks like 1920 x 1080” for slightly sharper text than a real 1080p screen while at the same time example games can take advantage of the screen’s actual resolution. But it does not work on M1 Macs.

Now a new tool program has called Betterdummy released that solves both problems. It is open source and is developed by one of the people behind it Monitorcontrol, another very useful program for those who have external monitors from manufacturers other than Apple for their Macs.

Betterdummy creates a virtual screen that you then set your real screen to mirror. For example, if you want “looks like 1920 x 1080” on a 1440p screen, choose to create a virtual screen with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 scaled to 1920 x 1080.

The program has some known shortcomings, of which only some can be fixed:

  • Supports a maximum of 60 hertz refresh rate.
  • Hdr is not supported.
  • May lead to problems with rest.
  • A bug causes Mission Control with virtual desktops to not work fully.
  • The TV program cannot play protected content, for example from Apple TV Plus.