gfxCardStatus Allows Easy Control of MacBook Pro Graphics Cards

gfxCardStatus allows users to control which graphics card is enabled -- integrated or discrete -- on MacBook Pro models with multiple graphics cards. By more precisely controlling when each graphics card is enabled, users can improve system performance or battery life. gfxCardStatus is a menu bar application for OS X that allows MacBook Pro owners to view which GPU is in use at a glance, and switch between them on-demand.

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Ars Technica has much more, including the fact that the Retina MacBook Pro can be pushed to nearly 10 hours of battery life with some minor battery saving techniques:
I was consistently able to get between 8 and 8.5 hours of continuous use from the Retina MacBook Pro when running integrated graphics only. Turning down screen brightness to just two "dots," a technique I often use to maximize battery life when using a MacBook Air during conferences, caused OS X to report potential battery life as high as 10 hours. I simply didn't have the stamina to test that claim, but I did make one nine-hour run with OS X reporting a nine percent remaining battery capacity.
gfxCardStatus is a free download from creator Cody Krieger's website.

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30 months ago
I'll try this out on my mid 2009 mbp, where you have to log out, back in to switch cards... not hoping for much, but it'd be very nice!

edit: Wow! It works! Or at least claims to, will have to do some testing. Why can't apple make it work this easy??????
Rating: 4 Votes
30 months ago

Why can't apple make it work this easy??????

Because switching-on-the-fly was the main new feature of the next model...
Rating: 3 Votes
30 months ago
This app saved me when by 2010 MBP with the 330GT graphics card's display kept turning black only solved by a reboot. The problem didn't appear on the Intel chip so I used this program to keep it on Intel until I had the chance to go to the Apple store to replace the logic board.
Rating: 2 Votes
30 months ago
I have been using this for a while now on my early 2011 MBP. It works good, i only wish it could somehow force the integrated HD3000 when connected to an external display. Because now it always goes to the discrete with an external display.
Rating: 2 Votes
30 months ago


Makes sense too, as if your at a desk your likely to be plugged in to the mains so why does it matter the dGPU is running or not?


Because most of the time the dGPU runs hotter than the integrated GPU hence my computer spends more time sounding like a jet engine.
Rating: 2 Votes
30 months ago
I installed this program about 2 months ago. Love it when traveling as it helps to ensure that I save battery life!
Rating: 1 Votes
30 months ago
Just installed it on my late 2008 MacBook Pro. Works perfectly! It was so frustrating before being in the middle of work, finding the battery was getting low, and having to log out to switch!
Will be sending a donation today for sure!:)

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I sure hope that this application is mountain lion compatible. If not, I won't be upgrading to mountain lion until this application is compatible. That shows you how much I love this application.


According to the Website, the latest version of this app IS Mountain Lion compatible! :D
Rating: 1 Votes
30 months ago
Been working great for me for the past year, I get around an hour longer with the integrated 9400m compared to the 9600m GT. Saves me from stupidly logging out and in that Apple's switching requires.
Rating: 1 Votes
30 months ago

For YEARS?
How many people have multiple graphics cards?

Haha... well, now that you mention it, I guess it's only been about 2 years :)
Most 15"/17" MacBook Pros sold since 2009, if I remember correctly, have 2 graphics cards - one discrete card that is very powerful, but somewhat power-hungry, and an integrated one that is much less powerful but draws less power.

Mac OS X automatically switches between the available graphics cards. When you connect an external display, load something up in Flash, start a game, etc. the OS will switch to the better graphics card, and when you're done, it will switch back to save power. But it's not perfect, and a lot of apps will inadvertently force the system to use the better graphics card. For example, Google Chrome and Skype, among many others. gfxCardStatus provides a lot of control over which card is in use at any given time, and can also just notify you when the system decides that you should be using a different graphics card, and shows you why exactly the switch was made (under "dependencies"). It's a great utility.
Rating: 1 Votes
30 months ago

Well when an external screen in hooked up, the GPU runs at max frequencies the whole time to keep stuff cool. My 15" 2010 hooked up to a screen and doing some work, over 4000rpm the entire time, fans sin up to 4000 within a couple minutes of plugging in the screen. Usually my fans are at max.
When u just turn the dGPU on and dont do anything with it then it wont need to ramp up the fans. No work to do = no heat, simple.


It doesn't run at full 3D clocks with an external monitor hooked up, it just doesn't.

It'll probably jump between 2D and low 3D clocks, neither of which suddenly produce the 10-20W of power required to continuously run your fans at 4000+ RPM.

Secondly, why are you assuming that your iGPU wouldn't be working harder than the dGPU and therefore using almost the same amount of power to drive the external display?

Having just plugged my 2560x1440 screen in for 10 minutes (whilst browsing), my fans are barely above 2000RPM :confused:
Rating: 1 Votes

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