Photoshop should make 144ppi the screen resolution on Retina Macs

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  • Updated 3 years ago
My agency recently upgraded my computer to a Retina-display Mac. I notice that Photoshop treats screen resolution strangely.

I think there should be an option to show what screen resolution really means. Back in the day, 72 ppi was chosen because it approximated what you saw on-screen and what was in print. 1 onscreen pixel per PostScript point. It worked fine for decades because it made desktop publishing a lot easier.

Now we have Retina resolution which doubles the onscreen resolution, which is about 144 ppi. So now when I view something that was originally made for a 72 ppi screen at "100%" it's being shown with actual pixels, which is way too small. I have to consciously zoom to 200% to show how it "really" looks.

What I suggest is, for all files saved at 72 ppi, show "100%" as double the pixels size when shown on a Retina screen. For files saved as 144ppi, *then* show the 100% as actual pixel-to-pixels.

This can be an option under Units & Rulers, something like this:

High Resolution Display Zoom Behavior
(x) Legacy doubling for 72 pixels/inch, 144 pixels/inch actual
( ) Actual pixels only (ignore pixels/inch)

Also, under the new documents, there should be new templates that are for Retina displays (High Resolution Displays) where they are at 144 ppi.

Why is this important? This is so that the point sizes on type are directly translatable when working on Retina layouts. I can't stress enough how 144 ppi is just as important as the legacy 72 ppi for this purpose.

This will help a LOT of people.

About me: I've been a Photoshop user professionally since 1995 (20 years). I'm also an ACE (Adobe Certified Expert) in the late '90s. I know Photoshop really well.

Thanks for your time.
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NYC Photoshopper

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Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Retina displays are between 220 and 300 pixels per inch.
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NYC Photoshopper

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Yes, I know the physical resolution is higher and varies. I'm talking about within Photoshop, opening up a file for "screen resolution" which has historically been 72. That number is not directly tied to a physical resolution, it was shorthand because it roughly aligned with Points and Picas when desktop publishing first came about a few decades ago. Retina displays are essentially doubled pixels. An image file made for Retina is double the pixels of a "72" .... which is "144" ... even though the actual physical density of the Retina screen is closer to 200-300 like you said. Let's not confuse this distinction. I'm talking about opening up a file saved as "72 ppi," and the behavior of viewing it at "100%" within Photoshop.