Macbook Pro 15 Inch

Top 5 Macbook Pro 15” Tips

The 15 inch Macbook Pro is a slim yet powerful top of the line laptop with a gorgeous retina display.  It also costs a pretty penny comparatively to other laptops on the market.  To maximize your investment and experience, here are my top 5 tips for the Macbook Pro 15 inch with retina display:

Tip 1: Add a shell

You didn’t spend all that money on a new Macbook Pro just to get it scratched up.  The Macbook’s aluminum unibody is sleek and durable but not scratch proof.  Get yourself a Speck SmartShell or equivalent shell from Speck Products.  Not only are they ultra thin and will protect your Macbook, but they look great.

Macbook Pro SmartShell

Note: There are a lot of cheap imitators and even counterfeit shells available for sale.  These can have sharp edges, an incorrect fit, block critical openings, crack, discolor, and more.  Do yourself a favor, buy only from reputable places like Apple or Best Buy.  A good shell costs around $50.

Tip 2: Change your resolution

Your crystal clear 15 inch retina display is preconfigured to an effective resolution of 1440 x 900.  Font sizes and graphics are pretty large at this resolution, limiting how much you can display on the screen at once.  Applications like Photoshop and Lightroom seemed squished at best.  You can increase the resolution significantly, gaining more screen real estate while keeping crisp text and graphics, by turning on resolution scaling and selecting a larger resolution.

Macbook Change Resolution

To change your resolution:

  • Open System Preferences
  • Click “Displays”
  • Set “Resolution” to “Scaled”
  • Click one of the 5 resolutions between “Larger Text” and “More Space”

Tip 3: Turn off automatic graphics switching

If your Macbook Pro has multiple graphics cards then it is preconfigured to save battery life by using the low powered graphics card by default and only switch to the high-performance graphics card when needed.  If you’re not concerned about saving battery life (ex. your Macbook is typically plugged in), then you can ensure a graphical performance boost by turning off automatic graphics switching.

Macbook Pro Automatic Graphics Switching Power Adapter

To turn off automatic graphics switching:

  • Open System Preferences
  • Click “Energy Saver”
  • Uncheck “Automatic Graphics Switching”

Note: While you can set certain energy saver settings for when you are on battery vs. when you are plugged in, this does not apply to automatic graphics switching.

Tip 4: Get a lap tray

The Macbook Pro has always had a history of getting hot.  Combine a high end processor like a core i5 or i7 with a high end graphics card like an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M driving a large 15 inch retina display, place it on your laptop, and watch your skin quickly cook.  To avoid some nasty burns, use a sturdy lap try like the Belkin CushTop.

Belkin CushTop

Note: You can also buy lap trays with built in fans that draw power from the Macbook’s USB port.  While these seem like a good idea, they may be more trouble than they are worth.  Besides sucking some of your laptop’s battery, these devices can be noisy, temperamental, and even cause your laptop to overheat.

Tip 5: Turn on Find My Mac

Find My Mac is a free, easy to use OSX feature that can help you find your Macbook if it becomes lost or stolen.  You simply need to enable iCloud and turn it on.

iCloud Find my Mac