How to Maximize Game Performance on macOS

By | March 9, 2022

Imagine a smooth, non-stressful, relaxing gaming session. Then this perfect dream hit a roadblock. Your computer suddenly can’t handle everything on the screen, and the game becomes unplayable.

You bought a game and your specs don’t match the exact requirements. It doesn’t seem fair to have to experience a drop in FPS, or a drop in performance. Why not remedy this situation with some optimizations to relieve stress?

If you want to play games on your macOS device without frustration, it just takes a little time and knowledge. Here are some tips and tricks to speed up macOS performance while gaming.

Learn to Use the macOS Activity Monitor

When first learning to manage your system for gaming, you need to know your system. Games tend to be more CPU-bound nowadays, and it can be useful to keep track of them and take control. As a result, macOS Activity Monitor serves as a very useful addition.

Activity Monitor gives you access to CPU, memory, energy, disk, and network usage. For gaming, CPU and memory usage serve as the most fundamentally important categories. Other categories provide additional information, but we will not discuss it here because they are not essential. With this note in mind, let’s talk about what you really need to know.

Opening Activity Monitor

To access Activity Monitor, we’ll cover two different approaches. You can open the program by navigating to the Go menu in the Finder and selecting Utilities. You can also open Utilities via a shortcut combination of Command, Shift, and U. Once the list of utility programs appears, click Activity Monitor.

Spotlight also opens Activity Monitor. Click the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the Finder to open Spotlight search. Type Activity Monitor to display the program and open it.

Once the software is launched with either approach, you can see the current status of the computer.

Researching CPU Usage

When looking at your CPU usage, Activity Monitor breaks it down by percentage. When trying to increase the speed of your computer, you want to close the biggest resource. If you see an unneeded process, close it. Just highlight the process and click the little x in the top left corner of Activity Monitor.

If you’re nervous about closing the missing active items list, note the user at the far right of the process list. If process user share your username then it’s safe to close. By following this rule of thumb, you can close all the programs that are consuming too much CPU without worrying about your system being unstable or exiting.

For quick reference, the bottom of the CPU tab breaks down the entire CPU load. If there is no idle percentage, and the user percentage looks high then consider closing some items.

If you want to continuously monitor CPU usage from the dock, you can right-click Activity Monitor and choose to display CPU usage via one of the options.

Checking Memory Usage

After viewing the CPU, the memory tab appears next. It looks almost identical to the CPU tab and functions pretty much the same. Instead of a percentage amount, memory uses megabytes. Once you’ve identified the large memory drainer, close the process via the same x button in the top left corner.

For more visual individuals, memory also uses color coding to display the current state of health. If you are in the green or yellow range then your computer does not need additional memory. For anyone with red results, close some apps or consider installing more RAM on your device.

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Storing Activity Monitor in your dock allows easy access to these values. Once you have a solid understanding of this, optimization can proceed with further tweaks.

Free Up More Hard Drive Space

An under-remembered problem boils down to hard drive space. A full hard drive image usually conjures images of older devices that have spent a lifetime collecting data. However, with the increasing demand for game data and file sizes, space issues can occur more quickly. Please see our article Tips on How to Free Up Space on Mac

When a hard drive becomes too full, the extra pressure and lack of space to write can create a slowdown. To make your computer life easier, always have extra space available. The number requires changes based on different requirements, but it’s a good rule of thumb to keep it as free as possible.

If you experience additional slowdown, try removing junk data and unneeded programs from your computer. You can use a third-party program like CCleaner to analyze and detect all junk data from your apps, browsers, and system files before deleting it. Also, uninstall apps with CCleaner to speed up your cleaning.

Disable Startup Apps

If you’ve ever tried to jump right into the game right after the start, it could easily go awry. An unprepared system consists of multiple applications competing for resources. Disabling some of these start-up programs with CCleaner can lighten your load.

Just navigate to the Tools section of the application and select startup. You can then remove or suspend a number of background programs and utilities. If you prefer to uninstall the program without the application, you can also disable or remove the non-hidden variety via System Preferences.

Disable macOS Notification Center

As a last resort, disabling notifications can provide a bit of a boost. To disable notification center for the day, follow these steps:

While holding down your Option key, click the icon at the very top right (It looks like a bullet list icon).

  • The icon should now be gray.
  • Click the icon to open the notification center.
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb if you haven’t already.
  • You can now click on the notification center.
  • Enjoying Your Optimized macOS Machine

By monitoring the background sections of your Mac, you can stop any issues ahead of time and move on to trouble-free gaming. For anyone looking to improve their gaming experience after an operating system change, consider these tips to improve your Mac gaming experience.

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