How to Make Your Photos Look Like 1-Bit B&W Images from the Original Macintosh

Posted in Apps, How To, Mac on 10/07/2017 by Chris Hauk


OK, to be honest, this really isn’t a traditional “how to” article, but this is so cool, that we had to share it with you. Old school users of the original Apple Macintosh may remember that images were displayed using 1-bit black & white dithering.

How to Make Your Photos Look Like 1-Bit B&W Images from the Original Macintosh

Developer Tinrocket offers a free utility via the Mac App Store that can covert any color or greyscale photo into a 1-bit black & white image. Just the thing for nostalgia night at the Macintosh Computer Club. (Does the club still meet in the church basement on Saturday nights? Asking for a friend.)

From the HyperDither website:

In the early 1980s, while developing the graphics technology for the first Macintosh, Bill Atkinson (HyperCard, QuickDraw, MacPaint) discovered a very elegant filter to convert greyscale image data for display on the Mac’s 1-bit black-and-white screen.

Later, this graphics routine was implemented as an option in Apple’s HyperScan software, connecting early Macs to flatbed scanners, and nowhere else. HyperScan, and the excellent Atkinson dithering routine, were subsequently unavailable for many years—but not forgotten! We emailed him to inquire about the details of the algorithm and he was kind enough to respond with a brief write-up of the routine that is now available in HyperDither.

HyperDither Offers These Features:

  • Turn your images into velvety black and white
  • Multi-window support
  • Batch image processing
  • Sharpen and Contrast options
  • Optimized PNG export

HyperDither is available for the Macs running OS X 10.9 or greater, and is available free in the Mac App Store. [GET IT HERE]


Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 9 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, a number of iPads, iPhones, and multiple Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine and the Internet.