13 Steps to Optimize Gaming on a MacBook

Gaming on Macs can be an enjoyable experience and an excellent way to pass the time. 

However, if you’re looking to get the most out of your gaming sessions, it’s important to optimize your device for maximum performance.

Below, we will cover the necessary steps to ensure that you get the most out of your MacBook when playing video games.

How to Optimize Gaming on MacBook:

Update to the Latest MacOS Version

Ensure that your Mac is updated to the latest version of macOS. 

This will help you have access to all the recent updates and fixes from Apple which can improve performance and stability.

Clean Your MacBook

A dirty MacBook can cause overheating, which can lead to performance issues when gaming. Make sure to clean your MacBook regularly to avoid this problem.

An easy way to clean a MacBook is to spray the vents with a can of compressed air.

Lower Graphics Settings

Change display preferences, such as resolution and color depth settings, in order to maximize graphics output while minimizing resource consumption.

This should result in better visuals with less consumption of resources during intense gaming sessions.

Add Extra RAM

Add extra RAM if necessary. Additional RAM can greatly improve game performance by allowing applications more room to run without having to use virtual memory. 

Apple Silicon Macs no longer use individual RAM slots, so upgrading the RAM is only an option on older models.

Add an SSD

An SSD can dramatically improve the load times of games on Macs. Most Macs these days use NVME drives, but some older models are still using spinning disks.

Upgrading from an HDD to an SDD can breathe new life into an old Mac or laptop.

P.S. It’s possible to upgrade some parts of the Mac Mini.

Use Performance Mode

Adjusting your MacBook’s energy saver settings can help improve gaming performance. By setting your MacBook to “Performance” mode, you’ll be prioritizing performance over energy efficiency.

Use an External GPU

If you’re serious about gaming on your MacBook, investing in an external GPU can help take your gaming experience to the next level.

External GPUs can significantly improve gaming performance and allow you to play games at higher resolutions.

Take a look at the  Razer Core X enclosure for Macs. 

Optimize Steam

Make sure that Steam on MacBook is set up to run optimally during gaming sessions (this includes ensuring Steam Cloud is enabled so that data is backed up regularly).

Use a Fan Control App 

Install a powerful cooling solution such as Mac’s Fan Control

These tools can monitor and control the fan speed on your machine, helping to keep it cool while providing extra airflow for improved performance during gaming sessions.

While it will make your Mac a little louder, it will prevent the Mac from throttling performance due to high temperatures.

Disable Unwanted Startup Apps

Apps like Dropbox or Google Drive can be a major drain on system resources. It’s best to turn them off until after you’ve finished playing (or just disable them altogether).

Use a Declutter App

Utilize an app like CleanMyMac X in order to perform regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning out junk files, optimizing startup items/apps, and deleting large & old files.

Regular maintenance will help improve overall system health & stability while freeing up more storage space for games & applications.

Use an External Monitor

Using an external monitor can significantly improve your gaming experience. It will allow you to play games at higher resolutions, and with a larger screen, you’ll have a more immersive gaming experience.

Utilize Gaming Apps such as Parallels or Crossover

Parallels Desktop allows you to create a virtual machine on your Mac and install Windows on it. Crossover is a compatibility layer designed by CrossOver that lets you run many Windows-specific games on Mac.


Following these steps should give gamers an excellent head start toward getting their Mac set up for gaming sessions. 

However, it’s always best practice to regularly monitor any changes made while keeping track of system resources. 

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