Text occasionally becomes very blurry (Mac)


Atom’s text occasionally becomes extremely blurry.

It looks fine and crisp, and then suddenly snaps to become very blurry. If I quit and re-open Atom, the text is again crisp. Atom is the only app with this problem — all other apps look fine, leading me to believe it’s a problem with Atom itself rather than with my OS.

Here are a couple screenshots which clearly demonstrate the issue. (Click for bigger).

  • Left (Blurry): Taken moments after the text became blurry.
  • Right (Crisp): Taken after restarting Atom.

(The forum won’t let me post more than one link / image so I’ll try to post the full-resolution images in the comments).


  • Atom Version 1.0.19
  • Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)

(I’ve found some similar topics but none that I would consider a duplicate of this.)


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Have you tried launching Atom in Safe Mode by completely exiting Atom and launching using atom --safe?


I haven’t — I’ll give that a try.

Because the issue is sporadic it will be hard to know if this fixes the problem, or if the problem simply hasn’t occurred again.


I suspect what’s going on is there is some form of transparency somewhere that is causing the subpixel antialiasing to fail.


I’ve been having similar trouble, it seems to be intermittent for me. Atom will be blurry briefly (maybe a minute at most), and then return to normal.


@caffiend — what operating system, etc. are you using? Does it automatically return to normal or must you restart Atom?

@leedohm Interesting. Any guesses why it would work most times, and then occasionally become blurry? I have read some suggestions to play with the “Use LCD font smoothing when available” preference in OS X, but I highly doubt it’s related to any kind of system setting.


As I stated, it’s generally because of some transparency disabling the subpixel antialiasing. If you take a look at the bugs on atom/atom, you’ll find references to things that have done it in the past. I think all of the main sources have been corrected by v1.0.19, but I could be mistaken.


Completely forgot about this thread!

I’m on OSX 10.10.4, with Atom v1.0.19.
I’ve never tried restarting to fix it, I just live through it and it stops after a couple of minutes, and some switching through my Chrome tabs…


this happens to me when i unplug my large screen. it doesn’t re-render with the new resolution


I also see this issue, but I also see it with Chrome Stable.

This is on OS X 10.10.5

I find it occurs mostly when unplugging or plugging in an external monitor. It generally is fixed for me by resizing the window.


I think you’re totally right — it seems to happen when I have Atom open & displayed on my external monitor, and then unplug the external monitor. I’ll test a bit more tomorrow when I’m at the office.


Yep, I just tried resizing the window and it fixed the issue for me.


It’s not that kind of blurry, it’s the application not re-rendering when the display scaling changes. I’ve also seen it when unplugging an external 1080p display and switching to built-in retina. It seems to be a Chrome thing more than anything to do with Atom.