ultrawide monitor with macbook pro the display is streeeetched
August 13, 2023 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to become one of those people who cries over tech. I bought a Dell P3421W ultrawide monitor to use with my Macbook Pro. Everything is hooked up and plugged in, but the display is stretched really badly and I can't figure out how to fix it. I've googled and searched Dell's site and apple discussions to no avail. Please help me I'm at my wit's end.
posted by tzikeh to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
What version of macOS are you running? (Apple menu -> "About This Mac")

What steps have you already tried?

If you go to the Apple menu, choose "System Settings" or "System Preferences", then select "Displays" and click on your external monitor, what settings are currently enabled?

If it is set up to "mirror" the main display, you should disable mirroring and then make it either a "Extended Display" or "Main Display". Then you should be able to access settings to change the resolution, if necessary. If it's not clear which settings to choose, let us know which settings are available, and what happens when you select them.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:55 AM on August 13, 2023

Response by poster: Running Monterey 12.6.8
MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
Processor 2.9 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5

Scaled (other option is "default for display', which I tried, and it doesn't change anything)
2560x1440 chosen

many many more options available

Color Profile DELL P3421W

I can't find where you choose mirror or extend, but I'm certain it's extended because I've been using it with an external display for years and using the laptop screen as a second monitor.
posted by tzikeh at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2023

It looks like the resolution for that display is 3440x1440, so if you currently have it set to 2560x1440 that would explain why it's stretched. Can you try changing that resolution?
posted by firechicago at 10:09 AM on August 13, 2023

Response by poster: I don't have 3440x1440 available in the display menu
posted by tzikeh at 10:11 AM on August 13, 2023

Best answer: Is there something with that same ratio? (like 2560x1080 or 1720x720)
posted by firechicago at 10:24 AM on August 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

What kind of cord are you using to plug your monitor in? I've been through this a bit with my MBP and an external monitor, and I found that I got different options depending on which cord used.

To be completely honest, I hadn't realized that there were significant differences in HDMI cords until the one I'd been using started dying and I tried to temporarily use one we had lying around. The image got very fuzzy and my options for resolution were completely off from the actual monitor size.

I also had a bunch of weirdness when I tried to use a USB-C adaptor to use an HDMI to HDMI cord. When I switched to using a USB C to HDMI that supports 4K 60Hz, everything worked the way I expected. YMMV on the exact cords since this is with an M1 Mac, but trying different options may help.
posted by past unusual at 10:27 AM on August 13, 2023

Response by poster: I'm using a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cord (USB-C). It does double-duty as a charger and as a display output.
posted by tzikeh at 10:28 AM on August 13, 2023

Response by poster: firechicago: Is there something with that same ratio? (like 2560x1080 or 1720x720)


(I have no idea why just... finding a proportional ratio didn't occur to me).

Thank you so, so much!

(Next step is buying a new Macbook Pro, but at least now I can put that off a little bit)
posted by tzikeh at 10:31 AM on August 13, 2023 [3 favorites]

You may benefit from a program that lets you punch in custom resolutions - I use SwitchResX but BetterDisplay seems to have similar capabilities.
posted by doomsey at 11:31 AM on August 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

On some versions of macOS you could hold down the Option key on the keyboard to see additional screen resolutions. I think that still worked in Monterey 12.x
posted by soylent00FF00 at 2:16 PM on August 13, 2023

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