SwitcherResX Change Resolution based on App Mac OS X

I normally run my 15″ MacBook Pro at default resolution, which equates to a useable space of 1440-by-900. While this default resolution is great for reading and writing, I’ve found that it’s not always so good for editing with timeline-based apps, such as Final Cut Pro X.

Generally speaking, it’s better to have more resolution for timeline-based apps, because the timelines can be so long and expansive. A larger field of view gives content creators more flexibility and room to work with on the canvas.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your Mac automatically adjusted to a higher resolution when running a certain app, and automatically switched back to default resolution when closing said app? In this post, we’ll show you how to wield SwitchResX, a utility geared towards managing your Mac’s screen resolution, in such a way that makes that possible.

First, let me just say that the app that we use to pull this off, SwitchResX, contains many features. This is just one of the benefits that SwitchResX makes available to Mac users. It’s a wonderful tool that can do some amazing things when used properly. SwitchResX is a paid app, but it comes with a free trial.

How to automatically change your Mac’s resolution based on the apps you use

Step 1: Download and install SwitchResX.

Step 2: Open System Preferences → SwitchResX → Applications.

Step 3: Check Monitor Applications, click the + sign in the bottom left-hand corner and choose an application.

Step 4: Click Create new Display Set.

Step 5: Give the new Display Set a name, and select a desired resolution in the resolution dropdown box.

Step 6: Click OK twice to confirm the changes, and click File → Save Settings.

Step 7: Click About SwitchResX and click Quit Daemon → OK → Launch Daemon.

Step 8: Launch the application that you selected in step 3, and you should notice the display resolution change when the app is opened. Once the app is closed, the resolution will revert back to default.

SwitcherResX More Real Estate Final Cut Pro X

SwitchResX helps lend more room for my Final Cut Pro X timeline

I use this setup to automatically change my Mac’s display resolution from 1440-by-900 (HiDPI) to 1920-by-1200 (HiDPI) after launching Final Cut Pro X. This allows me to have more working area when editing videos. Once Final Cut Pro X is closed, SwitchResX will cause the resolution to automatically revert back to 1440-by-900, a more ideal resolution for writing and editing text on a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Video walkthrough

Be sure to watch our video walkthrough embedded above for a hands-on look at the steps outlined in this tutorial. Also, for more details on resolutions, HiDPI, and the benefits of higher resolutions when editing video, be sure to check out our post on the value of a 4K display for MacBook owners.

SwitchResX is free to try and can be registered for 14€, which equates to about $16 USD. Would you consider adopting it as a part of your Mac workflow? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.