Mojave Font Anti-aliasing

Although Mojave is a very good macOS with lots of new neat features, it does have a few drawbacks. I have already mentioned the increased security issues. Another Mojave problem is the removal of sub-pixel anti-aliasing of fonts. What does that mean for you and I? 

Mojave Font Smoothing

Here is the deal with this change. Up until Mojave, the Mac OS contained a very complicated font anti-aliasing scheme. It made the fonts look good on your screen. However, Mojave OS removes this capability. Why did Apple do this you ask? My research into this issue has revealed this sub-pixel anti-aliasing stuff is very difficult to implement. So, Apple has chosen to remove it in lieu of new Macs having Retina displays.

If you are running a Mac that does NOT have a Retina display, your fonts in Mojave may look a little fuzzy. All of Apple’s newer Macs have Retina displays. Retina displays are the future of the Mac computer, iPad and iPhone. But, for the rest of us with older Macs, we are just out of luck “too bad so sad.” 

I have a work around that is pretty good. I am running a Late 2012 iMac non-retina display. Yes, the fonts in Mojave are a little blurred. There are a few articles listing Terminal commands that are supposed to fix this, but they did nothing for me, YMMV. If you do not have a Retina Mac then try the following.

First, you go into the General Pref Pane and turn off (yes turn off) Font Smoothing:

Font Smoothing

Next, select the Accessibility Pref Pane and click on Display in the sidebar:

Accessibility

In the upper right corner of this window you will see “Increase contrast”:

Increase Contrast

When select Increase contrast, you will notice items within this window become highlighted. There are little borders that appear around objects, including the window itself. Notice one thing before we move on. Mojave accomplishes this increased contrast by turning off the Transparency setting. This is kind of a bummer, but it is worth the screen clarity as far as I am concerned.

Here is the difference in the Path Finder App. This is before with Transparency turned on:

Transparency On

And here it is with Transparency turned off with Increased Contrast:

Tansparency Off

Notice the little borders around different menu icons. And, of course, if you turn off transparency and give the sidebar text a white background it is going to show up better. I suppose all this just makes sense.

Here is one more example in the MarsEdit App. This is no Increased Contrast:

MarsEdit No

And this is with Increased Contrast activated:

MarsEdit Yes

Everything just shows up a little better. It is easier to read and pick things out for sure.

By the way, the Increase Contrast setting still works in Dark Mode:

Increase Contrast Dark

You can see the icon outlines and also the outline of the window itself.

Conclusion

For now, I am going to use the Increased Contrast setting in my iMac Mojave install. However, rest assured, when I get a new iMac with Retina capabilities, I will no longer need Increased Contrast. If you are having difficulty with fonts in MacOS Mojave, try this fix. There are trade offs, but it is worth it to relieve eye strain.

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