Windows PC has a game mode and Xbox settings to optimize your gaming experience. As of macOS 13, Apple did not offer any game mode for Mac as many users do not use Mac for playing games. However, with Vision Pro, Apple is eyeing on desktop gaming world and added a minor Game Mode feature in macOS version 14 (called Sonoma) to all supported Mac models. Here is how you can use it to play games in Mac without lagging and disable Game Mode if you do not need.
Using Game Mode in Mac
There are no separate settings to enable Game Mode in macOS. All what you need is to simply maximize the game app’s window and Mac will automatically enable game mode for you. However, make sure you have macOS version 14 or later for the Game Mode to work.
- Find and open your game app.
- Hover over the green dot on top left corner of the app window and select “Enter Full Screen” option. Alternatively, go to “View > Enter Full Screen” menu or press “Globe/Fn + F” shortcut keys to open the app in full screen window.
- Mac will show a notification that Game Mode is turned on.
- When the Game Mode is automatically turned on in full screen mode, you will see a game controller icon on the top menu bar.
Now, you can start playing the game with optimized system performance.
What Game Mode Does?
As you can see in the notification, Mac will prioritize system’s performance when you open game apps in full screen mode. Here are some of the things happen on your Mac in Game Mode.
- All background activities by other apps and system services will be reduced to release CPU, GPU and RAM for the game app.
- Network activities will be reduced to improve the wireless connection between your Mac and game controllers or AirPod.
How to Disable Game Mode in Mac?
First thing is Apple has very less desktop games for Mac compared to Windows. Though Apple claims more games are coming soon with macOS Sonoma, it will not be in near feature. With that fact, you do not need to optimize Mac when playing small games like cards, snooker, chess, etc. So, unless you play heavy HD graphics game, you can simply turn off the Game Mode.
Other problem is that Game Mode will be still on even you exit full screen and play game in smaller app window. Since network and background activities are reduced, other actions like fetching emails and downloading content in Safari will be slowed down when playing games.
Here are the options to turn off Game Mode in Mac.
- Simply quit the game app after playing and make sure the game controller icon on top menu bar is removed. Remember, you should close the game app with “Command + Q” shortcut and not just minimize to dock.
- Mac will automatically pause Game Mode when you switch to another non-gaming app. You will still see the game controller icon on top menu bar and click on it to see “Game Mode: Paused” status.
- When the game app in full screen or after switching to another app, click on the game controller icon and select “Turn Game Mode Off” option.
Anytime, you can click the game controller icon and then turn on the game mode again if you need. Mac will also automatically turn it on later when you open any game in full screen mode.