How to Optimize Mac for Gaming

We may not think of gaming when it comes to Mac. But nowadays, there are a whole bunch of games for such devices. In fact, some of the most popular PC games are now available for OS X.

Macs are simply great as gaming devices. However, keep in mind that even such quality devices require maintenance in order to stay conditioned.

Now, in this article we will see how we can optimize mac for different kinds of games. We will guide you on how to do some hardware and software adjustments so you can keep your Mac as optimize as possible even in long period of gaming time.

So, without further ado, let’s get this on!

Understanding Your Graphics

You might not really think about it since OS X does most of the device’s tasks in terms of handling your system’s drivers, graphics, and other settings. But the thing is, you can do certain stuff to understand how your Mac device manages settings and how you can further enhance it.

Even though you can’t simply go and install your very own drivers, the GFX Card Status provides you some familiarity about if your Mac is utilizing integrated graphics, as well as if it is switched over to a dedicated card. Moreover, you can even force OS X to utilize one card or another by using the program.

In addition, you will be able to make wiser configuration to your games’ graphics settings if just get familiarized with all those options and toggles.

After understanding each option, you will most likely be more comfortable making changes and configuring certain things in your games in a way that significantly enhances the performance of your Mac during gaming time without compromising the quality.

Try Full-Screen Mode vs. Windowed Mode

As simple as it sounds, this trick can help you optimize your mac for gaming. For the most part, configuring the graphics settings for your game is one of the most ideal approaches to ensure that it will operate a little more seamlessly.

However, you can also try switching between windowed mode and full-screen mode. You see, even windowed mode taking up your Mac device’s entire screen can effectively smooth things out. In addition to that, which one works best for you will most likely depend on how heavy your games are.

Keep Your Other Applications Closed

Macbook pro slow startupKeep in mind that regardless if your Mac device boasts plenty of RAM and a massive SSD, storing a bunch of unnecessary programs operating in the background while you’re playing a full-screen game won’t do any good at all.

If you tried playing on Windows, you are most likely used to the performance trade-off of keeping other applications running while you’re playing, that’s why you must also be ready for it in OS X.

This is particularly true for some heavy web browsers and applications out there that tend to consume more system resources the longer they have been running. To get the most out of your gaming sessions, try closing Chrome or Firefox.

Java and Flash are some of the types of heavy plugins for web content that is worth disabling while you’re playing. Such plugins tend to drag down your device’s system resources while you are playing full-screen games.

You can simply get rid of Java and Flash completely, or you can install Flashblock for Chrome or Firefox, or ClickToFlash for Safari in order to halt them from loading until you need them.

Installing Windows

Do you know that you can always install Windows on your Mac device?

Regardless if you utilize Boot Camp to dual-boot or give up on OS X completely, you can operate Windows as well as your favourite Windows games and applications on your Mac hardware.

In fact, it is one approach to get your game on in a way you are most likely familiar with. And utilize all of the tools and configurations you know. In addition, if you are operating Windows, you need a boarder range of games available for you to game.

For the most part, a Mac device actually makes a great Windows computer. And even though it is not primarily engineered for gaming, most units separate graphics, which make them pretty great for the task.

Clear Up System Clutter and Some Disk Space

For all you know, one of the most ideal approach to keep your device in top shape is to simply clear up your uninstall unnecessary programs, hogging start-up applications, and program clutters.

You see, some of the Mac games you want to play may acquire some disk space for scratch while you are playing. And for sure, if you’re sure of disk space, you’ll feel the negative impact.

This is particularly true if you are playing Steam games. So, in this instance, you would want to cut Steam off from the main disk space and transfer it on another hard disk so your primary space won’t get affected, and ultimately you’ll have a seamless gaming experience.

In addition, you can also use some clean-up programs to make things more efficient such as Onyx and iBoostUp. CCleaner for Windows will also work great for OS X.

Turn-off OS X Features You Never Use

Notification Center and Dashboard are some of the OS X’s features that you might never actually be using. The thing about such features is that they consistently operate in the background, which ultimately affects your gaming experience.

Notification Center

So, with that said, here’s the tutorial for turning off Notification Center:

  • Simply open a Terminal Window (i.e. Applications, then Utilities, then Terminal).
  • After that, you should enter this command to halt Notification Center from launching again:

launchctl unload –w


  • After that, enter this command to completely halt the feature:

Kiall NotificationCenter

  • Following these steps must immediately stop the Notification Center.
  • Now, if you want to use Notification Center again, simply open a terminal window again and enter this:

launchctl load –w


  • After that, go to finder and press Command, Shift, and G, then you must type in /System/Library/CoreServices/. Just search for the Notification Center and launch it again.


And that sums up for disabling Notification Center. Let’s now proceed on turning off Dashboard:

  • Just open a Terminal Window again (i.e. Applications, then Utilities, then Terminal).
  • After that, input this command to turn off the Dashboard:

Defaults write mcx-disabled –boolean YES

  • Then input this command to restart the Finder:

killall Dock

  • The Finder will just automatically restart, with the Dashboard completely turned off.

Since both Notification Center and Dashboard operate consistently in the background, you can clear up some storage space for your Mac games so they can run more smoothly

Final Thoughts

After trying or implementing one or two of the suggestions we mentioned above, your gaming sessions should be more smoothly. Similar to many systems out there, you need to tweak the graphics settings of your Mac device in order to ensure that everything is perfect.

But simply because you are playing on a Mac device doesn’t necessarily imply that you need to be okay with the performance you have.

Remember that similar to a Windows computer, hardware comes with a crucial role, and there is a lot you can do to utilize it and significantly enhance the performance of your device before hitting the natural ceiling. For sure, you won’t be able to configure or control everything out there. However, there are certain things you can perform in order to boost your play time.

How about you? Do you know any optimization tips for Mac gaming that we weren’t able to mention? If so, kindly share them in the comment box below!


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