How Apple Game Mode works in macOS Sonoma

Apple wants the Mac to become a gaming platform and believes Game Mode will make this possible

If you're a gamer, the new Sonoma game mode in macOS could completely change you – — but Apple only provides very basic ways to control it and no way to customize it. Here's how it works.

Gamers want the ability to customize everything, and also know that the Mac has historically and traditionally not been a good platform for gaming. Apple wants to change the letter — without prejudice to the first.

So, if you've been Googling “how to use Game Mode”, the short answer is no. Apple's macOS Sonoma decides when to turn this feature on or off.

This is also very specific. Obviously you need to play the game, but that's not enough.

For macOS Sonoma to enable Game Mode, you must run the game in full screen mode. Until then there are no controls or options.

Once the game opens in full screen, a game controller icon will appear in the Mac menu bar. You will receive this icon regardless of whether you have a real game controller connected.

The app's menu bar menu includes the name of the game being played in full screen mode, and then the only control available is simply Turn off Game Mode.

Apple's Jeremy Sandmel, Senior Director of GPU Software, at WWDC 2023

In practice, we didn't notice much difference in gameplay when Game Mode was on versus when it was off. However, it is still early, and optimizations are likely to come.

Find the Difference

If there is nothing in the menu bar except the game controller icon, it is &mdash ; or should it be — changing how well the Mac plays the game.

“This year, macOS further enhances the gaming experience with Game Mode,” said Apple's Jeremy Sandmel, Senior Director of GPU Software at WWDC 2023, “giving gamers an edge when performance is measured in precious milliseconds.” . ensuring the game receives the highest CPU and GPU priority, reducing the load on background tasks and delivering an optimized gaming experience with even smoother and more stable frame rates.”

And Game Mode makes gaming on Mac even more immersive,” he continued, “by significantly reducing audio latency with AirPods and significantly reducing input lag from Xbox and PlayStation controllers by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate for responsive gaming , which you can really feel.”

You can't customize Game Mode, but you can turn it off

Sandmel also mentioned the game series and announced that Game Mode “works with any game, including all these recent and upcoming games for the Mac.”

Any game played on macOS Sonoma automatically enters Game Mode. But Apple would like developers, especially Windows developers, to achieve greater productivity by creating their own versions for Mac.

This means using Apple's new set of game porting tools. However, since this will require at least a little work on the part of the developers, it is likely that it will be some time before we see the best that macOS Sonoma has to offer in gaming.

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