I have a few quick little map websites that run straight off TileMill, without pre-exporting. They usually have code like this:


How do you make this take advantage of a Retina type high resolution display, without just making everything (especially text!) tiny?

2 Answers 2


It turns out to be really simple, because TileMill supports scaling features.

    + (L.Browser.retina ? '&scale=2': ''), 
    {  detectRetina:true

There are three parts:

  1. L.Browser.retina tells you there is a retina display, which you use to...
  2. request scaled map tiles from Tilemill with &scale=2, which...
  3. Leaflet renders physically smaller with detectRetina:true

Similar logic would be used for pre-exported tiles. You'd export two sets, one at scale=2, and then point Leaflet at whichever is appropriate.

It looks like mapbox.js used to have a special option for this.


I found this question when I tried to find out how to get retina working with vanilla Leaflet and Mapbox. If others end on the same trail, this is how I made it work:

var url = 'https://api.mapbox.com/v4/mapbox.streets/{z}/{x}/{y}';
    url += (L.Browser.retina ? '@2x.png' : '.png');
    url += '?access_token=my-token';

No need to use detectRetina!

This is basically what mapbox.js does internally

  • Maybe detectRetina: true is the default now. Previously, if you didn't set it, you'd just end up with double-sized tiles. Apr 1, 2016 at 0:50
  • Exactly what I was looking for: a way to use raster Mapbox tiles in a mobile-friendly Leaflet map.
    – kontextify
    Dec 27, 2016 at 10:07

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