How to change font smoothing level in macOS Monterey & Big Sur

Welcome to the wonder post, today we will be guiding you on how to change font smoothing level in macOS Monterey & Big Sur. Notice that the text on your Mac’s display is blurry? This is especially noticeable in the navigation menu and applications. Users started noticing this issue after upgrading to macOS Monterey or Big Sur, and on non-retina monitors. This is due to the inclusion of font smoothing, which some may not like as it results in blurry fonts in menus and applications. Blurring fonts in macOS can be turned off completely or adjust the degree of anti-aliasing.

Prior to the release of macOS Big Sur, there was an option called “Use font smoothing when available” found in System Preferences under General. If you have previously used it, you may have noticed that it is no longer there, Apple removed it for some reason. If you’re using macOS Monterey or macOS Big Sur on a regular non-retina display, you might also notice blurry text when font smoothing is turned off. Although the switch to enable/disable font smoothing is no longer available, it can still be accessed at the system level using the command line.

Want to make text clearer by turning off or adjusting the level of font smoothing in macOS? Read our instructions.

How to disable font smoothing in macOS Monterey & Big Sur

Since this feature is still available at the system level, it can be accessed using the Terminal app and commands.

    1. Open the Finder app located in your Mac’s dock.
    2. Now click “Programs” in the left pane and navigate to the “Utilities” folder to continue.
    3. In the Utilities folder, you will find the Terminal application. Double click on it to launch the Terminal on your Mac. Alternatively, you can open the Terminal with Spotlight search by pressing Command + Spacebar.
    4. Now type the following command and press Enter:
      defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 0

      1. disable-font-smoothing-macos-big-sur-4
    5. Exit the Terminal and click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen. Select “Restart” from the dropdown menu and restart your Mac.

That’s all. As soon as your Mac boots up, you will notice that the text is clearer. This can be noticeable, especially on non-Retina displays, for Mac users with Retina displays, this change will be almost imperceptible.

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How to change font smoothing level in macOS Monterey & Big Sur

The command we mentioned above is for turning off anti-aliasing completely, but if the text is still blurry, you can adjust the font anti-aliasing level by modifying the command slightly. There is one digit at the end of the command, change this value to “1” if you want light anti-aliasing, “2” if you want medium anti-aliasing, and finally “3” for strong font anti-aliasing. Thus, in the Terminal you should use commands like this:

defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 1
defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 3
Turned off:
defaults -currentHost write -g AppleFontSmoothing -int 0

If you’re already using a high-resolution Retina display and you’re seeing blurry text, turning off font smoothing can help. Some of this is entirely up to the user’s preference, because for some users, the text may look crisp, while for others it may look blurry.

We’re guessing that Apple has removed the font smoothing option from System Preferences since they no longer sell non-Retina Macs. In fact, the 2017 MacBook Air was their last Mac with a low-res display. Whether or not you need font smoothing will depend entirely on your Mac’s display or the external monitor it’s connected to, as well as your specific preferences.

With the above post on How to change font smoothing level in macOS Monterey & Big Sur I believe we have given you solution if your Mac has this issue.


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