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Maximum Gameplay: How to Optimize Mac for Gaming

Are you trying to get the most out of your mac for gameplay? Read this article to learn more about how to optimize mac for gaming.

Mac gamers are a dedicated bunch. For years, they’ve had to compromise on game performance, a lack of accessible titles, and burdensome caveats. (Sure, you can play Battlefield 2142 – if your Mac has an Intel processor.)

The inconvenience never ends. Now, with the recent macOS Catalina update, Mac users have opened their Steam libraries to find many of their favorite games are incompatible.

But if you’re still dedicated to your Mac, there are plenty of ways to up your game — even if the conditions aren’t ideal. You may still be able to access those old titles, too! Here’s how to optimize Mac for gaming.

 

  1. Tidy Up Your Hard Drive

Gamers are in a constant battle between available hard drive space and convenience. Modern game releases tend to reach sizes upward of 50 GB. If you aren’t diligent about deleting games when you’re done with them, you’ll run out of disk space before you know it.

And that can cost you even if you have enough room to squeeze another title onto your Mac. When your HDD is at capacity, you’ll notice hiccups like extended loading times and sudden frame drops. Your Mac needs that space to move temporary files and store data without time-costly fragmentation.

Aim to have at least 20% of your hard drive empty to facilitate seamless gaming. You can do so by searching your games library and deleting old titles you aren’t going to revisit.

If you still need additional space, access your Storage Management panel for a breakdown of your current storage use. This can help you determine what needs to go. Otherwise, get your hands on an external hard drive or subscribe to a cloud service, such as Apple’s iCloud.

 

  1. Clear Your Desktop

macOS stores every desktop icon and preview in its random access memory. This may seem like a trivial burden — and it normally is. However, if your desktop wallpaper is buried under file icons, you’re putting a real hamper on your Mac’s limited resources.

It’s easy to clean things up. Create new folders or use the existing presets that come with your Mac.

Avoid leaving these stuffed folders on the desktop, too. Just like with icons, they’ll consume memory and slow things down.

 

  1. Restart Often

Want to know how to make your Mac run games faster? Try turning it off before you hit the hay.

macOS devices rely on swap files to mitigate RAM usage. This form of virtual memory occupies space on your hard drive, caching data for all your apps. Thing is, these apps continue hoarding RAM and swap files until you reset your Mac.

And if you never do, you won’t have enough RAM to run an internet browser, let alone a game. Restarting can also fix a host of other issues and bugs that take root from time to time.

For example, maybe your Mac’s built-in camera has stopped working. It’s enough to make you wonder if you ever knew how to turn on camera on Mac devices anyway.

Nowadays, there’s no reason to keep your computer running 24/7 or resting in sleep mode. Starting a computer used to pose a risk to hard drives back in the early 90s. 30 years later, you can restart to your heart’s content.

 

  1. Routinely Inspect the Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is Apple’s version of the Task Manager. This tool gives you a comprehensive overview of your Mac’s resources. From here, you can see how much power individual apps are demanding and may discover some culprits slowing your machine down.

You’ll find the Activity Monitor in your Utilities folder. Click the % CPU category to organize your processes in descending order. Now scrutinize some of the names near the top.

The results may surprise you. For example, you may discover that your internet browser consumes more power than you had intended. In that case, it makes sense to avoid searching the internet while you game.

More importantly, some apps can go awry, demanding an unusual amount of resources. For these reasons and more, access the Activity Monitor if you ever feel your Mac isn’t performing its best.

 

  1. Upgrade RAM

You can’t optimize your Mac for gaming in the same way as a PC. Since Apple controls the manufacturing of all its devices, third-party upgrades are impossible.

Except for RAM. Most iMacs and Mac Pros allow you to add or update RAM. If you see your memory maxing out on the Activity Monitor, upgrading your RAM can put an end to the bottleneck and increase your in-game performance.

The process varies based on your particular device, so refer to the instruction manual to get the job done. In most cases, swapping RAM is a simple job even for an inexperienced computer user.

 

  1. Download BootCamp

BootCamp is a storied tool that partitions your Mac’s hard drive in two. One half contains macOS and the other contains Windows.

For Mac users recently deprived of their Steam library because of Catalina, BootCamp will restore access to all your old games. But that’s not all.

Most of the time – but not always – games run faster and better in BootCamp. That’s because game developers optimize their creations for PCs first. Older Mac ports also relied on Wine wrappers, which dramatically limit game performance.

So long as you have the disk space to handle the partition, BootCamp is a must-have for Mac gamers.

 

How to Optimize Mac for Gaming

Macs don’t provide the ideal gaming setup. But hey, we get it: Macs have other advantages. You can still make the most of your computer and have a pretty darn good experience, too!

Now that you know how to optimize Mac for gaming, what are you waiting for? Clean up the disk, keep an eye on your apps, and give BootCamp a try if you have the luxury.

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