Avid gamers are probably already familiar with monitor refresh rate settings, but to the common computer user, it might sound like something from an alien world.
If you learn how to change the monitor refresh rate, you can have better control over the quality of the motion that shows on your screen. Your computer is supposed to select the best refresh rate for your monitor automatically, but there are times when you might need to do it manually.
Changing your refresh rate is easy, but how you will do it will depend on the device you’re using, and the OS it has. Typically, you will have to access the Advanced Display Settings and select your desired rate.
Read on to find out how to change monitor refresh settings and how to troubleshoot screen flickering problems!
What Is Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate of your display is the frequency at which that the image refreshes on the screen. It’s measured in a number of times per second and expressed in hertz (Hz). So, a 60Hz display, which is the default rate setting, will update the screen 60 times per second.
In simple terms, the refresh rate impacts how smoothly motion appears on your screen. Thus, the higher the refresh rate, the more stable motion looks on your display. Monitors with low refresh rates can cause your screen to flicker, and lead to eye strain and headaches.
Low refresh rates can be a headache to deal with (quite literally sometimes!), whereas a higher refresh rate can reduce battery life because it uses more power… So, how do you choose the right rate for you?
Well, it all comes down to what you’re going to be using your device for.
For daily computing tasks such as editing documents, working on spreadsheets, or just browsing on the internet, the ideal rate is 60Hz. However, visually intensive tasks like gaming or using a digital pen to draw can greatly benefit from higher rates such as 144Hz or 240Hz to improve the experience.
How to Change Refresh Rate in Windows 7
This is how you can change the refresh rate in computers that run Windows 7 and older versions of the OS:
- Right-click on any blank area on your desktop.
- Select Display settings from the pop-up menu that will open.
- Alternatively, you can can access this by pressing the Windows key, then going to Settings > System > Display.
- Select Advanced display settings. You will find it on the right side of the window, towards the bottom, under the Multiple displays section.
- Choose the monitor that you want to configure from the drop-down menu in the Choose display section.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on Display Adapter Properties.
- Click on the Monitor tab in the new window that will open.Windows will open the Adapter tab by default, you will find the Monitor tab right next to the Adapter one at the top of the window.
- Select a refresh rate from the Screen refresh rate drop-down menu. You will see your current refresh rate under the Monitor Settings section.
And that’s it! If you’re running a newer version of Windows, see the section below.
How to Change Monitor Refresh Rate in Windows 10
In Windows 10, changing the monitor refresh rate is even easier with the new Settings app.
Here’s how to change the monitor refresh rate in Windows 10:
- Start by right-clicking on any blank area on your desktop, and selecting Display settings from the pop-up menu that will open.
- Alternatively, you can can access the display settings by pressing the Windows key, then going to Settings > System > Display.
- Scroll down, and click on “Advanced display settings.”
- Locate the Refresh Rate section, and select the refresh rate you want to use from the drop-down menu.
- Windows will test the new refresh rate for about 15 seconds. If everything looks alright, click on Keep. Otherwise, you can either click on Revert or wait until the countdown finishes so that the monitor will automatically switches back to the original refresh rate setting.
Once you’re happy with your refresh rate setting, just close the Settings window and enjoy!
How to Change Monitor Refresh Rate on Mac Displays
For the latest MacBook Pro 16″ and newer models, and the Apple Pro XDR display, you can adjust the Mac refresh rate settings as follows:
- Pull down the Apple menu, select System Preferences, then click on Displays.
- In macOS Catalina and macOS Big Sur, make sure that you’re under the Display’ tab (it should open by default), and hold down the OPTION key and click on the “Scaled” button to display the “Refresh Rate” options.
- Click the Refresh Rate pop-up menu and choose your desired refresh rate.
You’ll see that the default option in Apple devices is 60 hertz for most displays, just like with Windows-based computers.
Troubleshooting Screen Flickering Issues
In most cases, changing the monitor refresh rate setting will fix any flicker, smoothness, or frame tearing problems you might be experiencing. However, there are some cases in which the issues are caused by something else.
Learning how to how to change monitor refresh rate sometimes isn’t enough, so you need to do a little troubleshooting.
It happens often that you can’t find the maximum monitor rate setting in the drop-down menu even though you know that your monitor supports it. In such cases, you might have a problem regarding the hardware.
Make sure that your monitor cable can support the bandwidth that’s required for the higher refresh rate, especially if you have a high-resolution 4K monitor. It’s recommended that you use the right HDMI cable for formats up to 1080p@120 Hz or 4K@60 Hz, or an Ultra High-Speed HDMI cable for 4K@120 Hz or 8K.
Sometimes, it can be your graphics card that’s causing the refresh rate issues. Start by upgrading your drivers to the latest version to resolve the problem. If it still persists, check if your graphics card can actually match your monitor’s refresh rate.
If nothing has worked to fix your monitor flickering problems so far, you can change your game’s settings as a last resort. There are some cases in which the game doesn’t recognize your monitor’s actual refresh rate, so it uses a default, lower option instead. Picking your desired Hz settings should solve the issue.
Learning how to change monitor refresh rate in Windows and on Mac displays is very useful is you’re running visually intensive tasks like gaming or video editing. It’s simple and quick to do, but sometimes it can be tricky to know just how to access the necessary display settings.
Luckily, we’ve put together this short guide to guide you through the process so that you can enhance your computer’s visuals in just a few minutes!