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How to change your display's refresh rate on Mac

Useful at times

Pro Display XDR
(Image: © Future)

Most folks don't need to change the default refresh rate for their Mac's built-in or separate display. Those who do typically work with movie files and edit videos and may want to set the display refresh rate to match the frame rate of the video.

The refresh rate of a display refers to how many times per second it's able to draw a new image. This is measured in hertz (Hz). 

Changing the default refresh rate isn't even possible on most Mac models. And yet, some external displays do offer this option, including the Apple Pro Display XDR, so it's important to know how to make a change when necessary. 

Available options include 60 hertz, 59.94 hertz, 50 hertz, 48 hertz, and 47.95 hertz.

Refresh rate on support macOS

(Image credit: Apple)

To switch between refresh rates on your supported MacBook or display, click on the Apple menu at the top right of your device. Select 'System Preferences' followed by 'Displays'. Press and hold the 'Option' key and select the 'Scaled' button. The refresh rate menu appears. Click the 'Refresh Rate' pop-up menu and choose a refresh rate.

When you're done viewing or editing the video content, Apple advises changing your refresh rate back to the default of 60 hertz to ensure smooth performance in macOS, such as when you minimize a window.

Unsupported Macs won't show the refresh rate menu.

Make sure you check out our guide to the best monitors for Macs and MacBooks.

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 14-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!