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.

NewImage
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.

Top Rated Comments

yetanotherdave Avatar
118 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??????
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
toke lahti Avatar
118 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...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alphaod Avatar
118 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kockgunner Avatar
118 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skika Avatar
118 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AriX Avatar
118 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
youtube premium lite

YouTube Tests Cheaper 'Premium Lite' Subscription for Ad-Free Viewing

Monday August 2, 2021 3:22 am PDT by
YouTube is piloting a new cheaper subscription tier in Europe called "Premium Lite," which offers ad-free viewing minus YouTube Premium's other features. First spotted by a user on ResetEra and subsequently confirmed by Google, the "Lite" plan means users who aren't interested in offline downloads or background playback can still enjoy YouTube videos on web and mobile app without being...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...