The inclusion of the 120Hz ProMotion display in the 2021 MacBook Pro models was, firstly, introduced as a last-minute leak and later unveiled at the October 18 event was a big surprise for Apple fans. The higher refresh rate, in oppose to 60Hz, automatically adjusts the refresh rate to match the motion of onscreen content to save battery and make tasks “more fluid and even more responsive to improve watching, gaming, and video editing experiences on the new pro notebooks.
However, users are complaining that the new display tech is not supported by macOS and several Mac apps are not compatible with 120Hz ProMotion.
Everyday Mac app, including Safari, do not support smooth scrolling on the 120Hz ProMotion display of 2021 MacBook Pro models
9to5Mac reports that everyday Mac apps including Safari do not offer a smooth scrolling experience on the new 120Hz ProMotion display of 2021 MacBook Pro models. The inconsistent support of the higher refresh rate on macOS is underwhelming.
Based on testing with the new MacBook Pro, Catalyst apps generally run at 120Hz as you would expect, as they appear to inherit the iOS behaviors directly. Full-screen games and Metal apps can also render at the full 120Hz. The OS itself runs smoothly so switching between spaces and dragging windows around is delightful. The problem is day-to-day standard Mac apps mostly do not … or at least some parts do and some parts don’t.
In particular, the smooth scrolling that ProMotion can deliver is not being utilized in many applications. The most noticeable offender is Safari, an app that Apple specifically called out in the ProMotion section of the event presentation for taking advantage of the new display’s high refresh rate.
It is also noted that when issues were raised with 120Hz display support on iPhone 13 Pro models, Apple published support documentation for developers to adopt the feature and released a software update. However, for the 2021 MacBook Pro models, the company has not followed up with any additional documentation for developers.
Ultimately, there’s a gap in the software stack that Apple needs to close to enable consistently smooth interactions across its own apps and third-party programs. Hopefully, software updates addressing these issues are coming soon. The hardware is certainly capable of driving a smooth 120Hz experience.
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