Better Readability: Tool magnifies iPhone and iPad apps on Mac

Mobile apps on the Mac: What basically sounds practical, it is, but still has a few quirks when it comes to operation. A new open source tool should now help to at least improve the look of such programs and display the resolution correctly.

Apple made it possible to run iOS and iPadOS applications on the desktop with the appearance of the first Apple silicon machines, which, like the iPhone and iPad, are based on ARM technology. This is possible with most programs if the developers have not explicitly blocked this procedure. Unlike Mac Catalyst apps, which are typically customized for macOS, developers don’t have to do this here—instead, what you see on the Mac is a kind of emulation mode, where touchscreen controls are replaced with mouse pointers and mouse gestures.

That can be tolerated so far. However, there are often problems with readability, since the resolution is not implemented correctly by Apple. This is where the Pixel Perfect tool from developer Tyshawn Cormier from North Dakota comes into play. The app hosted on GitHub can correct iOS and iPadOS applications on the Mac desktop accordingly. It runs on Big Sur (10.11), Monterey (10.12) and Ventura (10.13), which are all Mac versions that support mobile apps.

Pixel Perfect ensures that the scaling is corrected. “iPhone and iPad apps run at 77 percent scaling on your Mac by default,” Cormier writes. “For some apps, this can result in small and blurry text.” The tool therefore allows you to switch the scaling to pixel accuracy. This means that images and text are displayed in their native resolution, as you would see them on iPad and iPhone.

The app displays all found mobile apps in a menu. Here you can then decide whether you want to activate Pixel Perfect in general or only do this for certain applications – because scaling is not always a problem. Pixel Perfect also continues to scale Mac Catalyst apps (which should scale correctly, but aren’t always). These programs can be added manually and their scaling adjusted. The tool is free and the source code can be viewed.

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