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macOS 14 Sonoma: how to use Game Mode

macOS 14 Sonoma

macOS 14 Sonoma, available for several days now, offers a new feature that is attracting the attention of Apple users, namely Game Mode.

If set correctly, this is activated automatically when a game is started to offer maximum priority to the same as regards CPU and GPU.

In this sense, the function also allows you to optimize the connectivity of wireless devices, reducing the latency of AirPods and other accessories. This shows how macOS can also be an appreciable platform for gamers.

In this article we will learn more about this method, trying to understand how to make the most of it.

What is macOS 14 Sonoma Game Mode?

Modern games require enormous hardware resources. Some components that we have already mentioned, such as the processor and graphics card, are therefore potentially put under great stress during gaming sessions.

While Macs are powerful devices, at least until recently they offered few features that would entice gamers to use them. The introduction of Apple Silicon chips, however, changed this view.

Although compared to a gaming PC these devices do not offer room for upgrades, given their power they are still interesting in this context. The powerful processors proposed by Apple allow you to manage high framerates and facilitate the work of the GPU.

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Add to this a feature capable of routing resources even more intensively on graphics processing and connectivity, and it’s easy to see why Game Mode is so interesting.

How can you achieve better performance?

When this mode is active, the running game gets the highest priority over any other process. All apps running in the background are almost “frozen”. Additionally, the Bluetooth sampling rate is doubled, so there is better response when it comes to headphones or controllers.

To get an idea of ​​how priority works, a Geekbench 6 test was performed on a MacBook Pro M1 Pro running Resident Evil: Village and running with Game Mode enabled.

The running title wasn’t affected at all when Geekbench was doing its work in the background; the game ran smoothly and no hiccups were noticed due to running Geekbench

How do I activate Game Mode?

The mode activates automatically when you start a video game, complete with a notification to inform you of the activation.

A game controller icon appears in the menu bar and, when clicked, confirms whether or not that feature works.

Please note: To run Game Mode, a game must be in full-screen mode.

To deactivate it, just click on the icon mentioned above and look for the item to deactivate the mode. Please note that if you deactivate Game Mode and exit the software that uses it, the feature will not activate when you reopen the title (in which case, you will have to reactivate it manually).

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Are there any particular settings to manage?

Whether you consider it a limitation or not, the answer is no.

Everything works by activating and deactivating the mode, with macOS managing the settings for the appropriate optimizations independently.

Which titles benefit from Game Mode?

According to Apple, “ Game Mode works with any game, including all recent and upcoming Mac games .” When Sonoma was in Beta, not all titles were compatible with this feature. An example, in this sense, is Civilization VI.

In the later stages of the operating system, however, the aforementioned title (as well as probably many others) enjoyed compatibility with this macOS function.

During the macOS Sonoma presentation, Apple mentioned several new games coming to Mac, including interesting names such as:

  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut ;
  • Dragonheir: Silent Gods ;
  • Humankind ;
  • World of Warcraft: Dragonflight.

And these are just a few examples.

iPhone and iPad games that run on your Mac can also use Game Mode.

macOS and gaming: two realities that are not so distant

Until now, gaming products have seen the Mac environment as a secondary context. The introduction of functions such as Game Mode can help reverse this trend and push more and more manufacturers to focus heavily on compatibility with macOS.

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In this sense, another very clear signal is the new Game Porting Toolkit proposed to video game developers by Apple. In this way, already in the immediate future, it should be easier to see important titles running smoothly on a Mac.

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