How To Take Low Res Screenshots on a Retina MacBook

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The Retina MacBook’s screen is a beauty. After looking at this 2560×1600 screen, I don’t even like my 1080p monitor so much. Images and videos, even the low-res ones look great on the Retina display (thanks to OS X’s brilliant scaling features). But by far the best thing about it is the text. It’s just so sharp and so clear.

Retina doubled the screen resolution. But that doesn’t mean you see two times as much stuff on screen. While the resolution on my 13 inch MacBook is 2560×1600, OS X is still rendering at 1280×800. But when you take a screenshot, Mac defaults to the screen’s resolution. And let me say, on anything other than a Retina display, that screenshot just doesn’t look good.

If you’re taking a screenshot to share it with your colleagues or for uploading to a website, you might want to go back to the low res 1x. Thanks to a third party app, you can.


This is what RetinaCapture looks like.

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This one screen has all the options you need.

It allows you to take 1x, 2x or both screenshots. You can save them as either PNG or JPEG. When it comes to capturing a screenshot, you can go with the full screen, timed screen, selected region, or window.

The full screen option takes a screenshot of the whole screen. Once the screenshot is taken, you get a save dialogue box where you can define the name of the screenshots, the folder, and the format.

The timed screen option gives you a 10 second countdown.

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The selected region option greys the screen and lets you drag a selection to capture it.

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The window capture option is a bit tricky. It brings up a new window that tells you to highlight the window you want and then click the Choose window button. This floating window will not be captured in the screenshot.

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Further Optimizing Images

If you went with 2x Retina screenshots (can’t blame you, they look epic), you might be surprised by the size. Retina screenshots are really heavy. PNG ones can be way more than 1 MB.

But what if you can’t use 1x resolution because it is pixelated?

There are two ways I optimize images for online use.

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The first is an app called ImageOptim. Open the app and drag in images. The app will strip a lot of unnecessary data from the file while still keeping the quality intact. The app doesn’t create a duplicate, instead it edits the same image. So make sure you have a copy of the original image if it’s important.

ImageOptim consistently saves me 25-35% of the file size.

Another one is We’ve talked more about image compression websites here but I use tinypng. It does an amazing job of compressing an image by 50-70% with virtually no loss in quality.

How’s Your Retina Mac?

Enjoying the new Mac? Boy, that screen, huh? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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