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How To Tell if Your Monitor Is 4K

4K Monitor

Did you just go to your nearest Best Buy and buy a 4K monitor for yourself but are unsure why the image looks the same as in your previous High-Definition(HD) monitor? Unfortunately, you sometimes can’t tell the difference until and unless you are playing 4K footage on both of the monitors. So you can either do that or simply check your monitor’s resolution.

4K resolution is defined as 3840 x 2160. It is called 4K because it is approximately 4000 pixels hence the term “4K”. On the other hand, the movie industry defines it a little differently, where the 4K resolution is 4096 x 2160 — having either one as your display resolution means that your monitor has a 4K resolution.

With high-end cameras and graphical components capable of rendering imagery of such high resolutions, 4K monitors and televisions are becoming increasingly common. 

Read on to find out exactly how you can find out if your monitor is 4K without having to call the customer service representatives at the store!

Quick Answer

You can easily check resolution using your operating system. For Windows: Go to “Display Settings” by searching in the search bar and then check the “Display Resolution” setting. For Mac: Go to “About this Mac” and click “Displays.” The resolution and size of the screen will be written below the display on your screen. If you have connected external displays, you will also see their name and resolution on the same screen.

Is Your Monitor 4K?

4K monitors are now quite common. So on a good Black Friday deal, you might find yourself a monitor under $300, which has 4K resolution and should be able to fulfill all your gaming and binge-watching needs.

But right out of the box, it might be difficult to recognize whether the resolution is 4K. When you connect your monitor to your computer, your computer might not even display the screen at 4K resolution; instead might show the display 1920 x 1080 resolution or the resolution your previous monitor was on.

Another reason not to notice the difference is that the content on your screen will usually not be in 4K. For example, if you are browsing the internet looking for the best brownie recipe, the webpage will not magically appear in 4K. Instead, it will look exactly how it looks on any other screen.

Below are steps that you can take to find out if your monitor is 4K.


Windows is a fairly user-friendly operating system. Such operating systems usually allow easier access to information without having to go through hard-to-follow tutorials to find essential information.

Using the steps to determine screen resolution, you can easily check if your monitor is 4K by checking the maximum resolution present in the list of resolutions available.

Follow the steps below to determine screen resolution:

  1. Go to “Display Settings” by either right-clicking anywhere on your desktop and clicking on “Display Settings” or by navigating your Windows search bar and typing “Display Settings.”
  2. Scroll down to “Display Resolution.”
  3. Check your resolution.

If you have multiple monitors connected, you will notice multiple boxes with numbers written on the top of the screen. The monitor that you are opening the settings from is usually the one that is colored in. You can click on the boxes and then scroll down to the “Display Resolution” setting, where the resolution will be displayed for the particular monitor.


Mac has a really simple and straightforward way of finding the resolution of its own display and an external display you have connected to.

Follow the steps below to check the resolution of your monitor to determine whether it’s 4K:

  1. Click on the Apple icon on the top left of your screen.
  2. Go to “About This Mac.”
  3. Click on “Displays.”
  4. Check the resolution written under the display shown on the screen.

macOS, by default, selects the best possible resolution for your screen. If your monitor is 4K and it is not shown, the graphics card probably does not support the resolution. You can scale the resolution in the settings to take advantage of your 4K screen; you can scale the resolution in the settings.

Since macOS selects the resolution for you, there is a possibility that you might not be able to determine whether your monitor is 4K. Unfortunately, in this case, you’ll have to refer to the monitor’s model number and check online regarding the maximum resolution the monitor supports.


Using the steps described above, you can easily find the resolution of your display on your system and figure out if your monitor supports 4K by checking the maximum resolution your device is allowing you to select.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change the resolution on my monitor?

Yes, you can change the resolution on your monitor, but you cannot change it to 4K if your monitor does not support a 4K resolution. If your monitor does support 4K, then you can follow the steps below to change it:

For Windows:
1) Go to “Display Settings.”
2) Click on the drop-down list under “Display Resolution.”
3) Select the highest resolution.

For Mac:
1) Go to “System Preferences.”
2) Click on “Displays.”
3) Click on “Scaled” and then select one of the options.

Can I watch 4K content on my monitor that does not support 4K?

Yes, you can watch all 4K content on your monitor, which does not support 4K. You can do this because the content’s resolution is down-scaled to your current resolution. In simpler words, it is made to fit your screen. 

As a result, you’ll notice a much sharper image but will be missing details that you can easily notice with a 4K display.

Does my graphics card limit my 4K resolution experience?

Yes, it absolutely does! While watching television shows or movies, you will not be able to feel your graphics card bottleneck your resolution. But when you are playing video games or doing graphically intensive tasks, then your display might start to feel as if it’s lagging and will not be able to perform well. 

It will display your screen in 4K, but the experience will not feel smooth.

This problem is particularly frequent while playing video games, so Nvidia has introduced DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) to help achieve better framerates on 4K displays.

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