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Apple Wiki

Quartz is the graphics layer that sits on top of the Darwin core of Mac OS X, sometimes also referred to as Core Graphics. Quartz directly supports Aqua by displaying 2D computer graphics to create the user interface, including on-the-fly rendering and anti-aliasing with sub-pixel precision.[1]

There are two components that make up Quartz:

Quartz 2D icon

Icon of Quartz 2D

  • Quartz Compositor - A compositing windowing system that manages and composites off-screen window bitmaps to create the Mac OS X user interface.[1]
  • Quartz 2D - A graphics library which uses the PDF document format to draw two-dimensional text and graphics.[1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Graphics & Imaging Overview, Apple Developer Connection. 2004-09-08. Archived 2004-09-17.
  2. NeXT: Apple’s Right Choice by Jonathan Ploudre, Low End Mac. 2001-05-07.

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