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I'm using a Core2Duo Mac mini with the latest OS X 10.6 version. Though the option "Use LCD font smoothing when available" is selected in the System Preferences, Appearance page, when I take a screenshot and zoom-in only gray text is shown, no colored borders on the fonts.

How I can activate LCD sub-pixel antialiasing on OS X 10.6?

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Do you actually have an LCD connected? Do you have subpixel anti-aliasing when zooming into the GUI by using Ctrl-Scrollwheel? – Daniel Beck Jun 29 '11 at 18:12
Sure, I have an LCD connected. No, subpixel anti-aliasing is not active when zooming in. – Mike L. Jun 30 '11 at 5:56
Strange. My is on, and it works, but if I turn it off, it is still there. Perhaps this is a setting that takes affect after you logout and back into your account? You hadn't stated so, but perhaps just logging out of your account then back in will fix it? – mkoistinen Jul 2 '11 at 22:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

OK, I've found the solution at welp's blog: just execute following command

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
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Actually I don't see a difference neither: With LCD smoothing turned on: Turned on

With LCD smoothing turned off: Turned off

If you look at the 'y' you clearly see that the subpixels have all the same brightness. Thus they are just shades of grey.

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When I get some spare time, I might recheck that and compare it to ClearType – Max Ried Jun 29 '11 at 15:02
Don't need to take a photo of your monitor. Just make a screenshot of, e.g., the Preferences dialog and zoom in. If the text of controls is shown only in gray scale, it is no sub-pixel anti-aliasing, if it appears somehow colored at the borders, sub-pixel anti-aliasing is active. – Mike L. Jun 29 '11 at 17:16
Not necessarily! There can be a difference between the frame buffer and the screenshot rendering. And also, I understood you as if you asked about LCD subpixel antialiasing and that's what I tried to answer with that post. Beside all that, a photography of the monitor is as good as a screenshot. Actually it is more a screenshot than a screenshot is!? – Max Ried Jun 29 '11 at 17:45

Sub pixel anti-aliasing is a technique applied at the time of rendering, but it is not part of the original source data.

It is intended to provide a better visual approximation of the source material.

There is more information on the Wikipedia page, but you'll note especially that the non-idealized screenshots at the bottom of the article are taken using a digital camera.

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I know what sub-pixel anti-aliasing is. I just want to know how I can activate it on OS X. – Mike L. Jun 29 '11 at 17:15

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