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What is a Retina display? Apple Screen Technology Explained


If you’re looking for a new iPhone, MacBook, or Apple Watch, you may have come across the term Retina Display.

But what is a Retina display and where can you find one? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Retina, Liquid Retina, Super Retina XDR, and all the other Retina screens that Apple has released over the years.

What is a Retina display?

Retina is a trademark that refers to any IPS LCD or OLED display with a pixel density high enough for Apple to determine that your eyes cannot distinguish those pixels at a certain viewing distance.

The goal is to bring to market a smoother, more natural screen than non-Retina alternatives on other devices.

“The pixel density of Retina displays is so high that your eyes can’t detect individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. This provides incredible content detail and greatly enhances the viewing experience,” Apple explains on its website.

Over the years, Apple has released several variants of the Retina name, including Retina HD, Liquid Retina HD, Liquid Retina XDR, Retina 4K, Retina 4.5K, Retina 5K, Retina 6K, Super Retina HD, and Super Retina XDR.

While these labels may seem confusing, they are simply Apple’s way of distinguishing between different generations of Retina displays with different criteria and resolutions.

Where can you find Retina displays?

You can find Retina screens in many of Apple’s product lines, including laptops, computers, phones, watches, and tablets.

The list of Retina-enabled Macs includes:

You can also find Retina displays on smaller Apple devices such as iPhone (2010 and newer), iPad (2012 and newer), iPod Touch (2010 and newer), and Apple Watch (2015 and newer) .

While all of the above features support Retina displays, they vary in resolution and the number of colors supported, meaning it’s important to check the exact specifications before purchasing.

What about non-Apple products?

Because the term “Retina display” was coined and owned by Apple, you won’t see it on any non-Apple products, which can make it difficult to compare these displays to competing screens. It also means that a Retina display isn’t necessarily the best option.

You can look at factors such as the size and pixel density of other LCD and OLED screens to see how they compare to Apple screens, but the easiest way to determine which one is best for you is to look at them yourself.


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