Optimizing your macOS System for Music Production

Adjust your Energy Saving settings:

Go to the Apple menu > System preferences > Energy saver. You will find several options that might affect the performance of your system:

  • At “Turn display off after”, move the slider to “Never”.
  • Disable “Automatic graphics switching”.
  • Enable “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off”.
  • Disable “Put hard disks to sleep when possible”.
  • Disable “Wake for network access”.
  • Disable “Start up automatically after a power failure”.
  • Disable “Enable Power Nap”.

Audio MIDI Setup:
This is the native audio and MIDI utility app for macOS. Here you will find each connected device and some related settings (Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup).

  • Check the devices to include within the aggregate device: The inputs and outputs for each device will appear in the order you choose. Select and right-click on your audio interface on the left side.
  • You can configure your interface to work as main input/output for your Mac by clicking on “Use this device for sound input, output, and play alerts and sound effects through this device”.
  • Finally, match your buffer size and sample rate with the audio interface software and your Plug-In settings.

Disable Handoff:
Unintended connections with your Apple devices could cause performance drops.

  • Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > General. While on this window, uncheck “Allow Handoff between this Mac and other iCloud devices”.

Identify the processes that use the most resources:

Launch the activity monitor by going to your Applications folder (Applications > Utilities) or use Spotlight to open it by typing “Activity monitor”. In this application, you will find a list of processes and their impact on CPU performance. Look for applications that use too much CPU and close them.

Keep in mind that the percentage showed in the CPU column corresponds to the approximate utilization multiplied by each logical core of your system. This means that if your system uses a quad-core processor with hyperthreading (8 threads), the maximum utilization will be 800%.

Disable visual effects:

  • Go to System preferences > Dock.
  • Disable “Animate opening applications” and “Automatically hide and show the Dock”.
  • Click on “Minimize windows using:” and select “Scale effect”.

Repair disk permissions:

If you have an older system that has been slowing down over time, you may need to repair disk permissions manually to improve the performance of your device.

  • Open the disk utility (Click the finder icon at the Dock > Select “Applications in the “Places” section > Utilities > Disk Utility).
  • Select the hard drive at the left.
  • Click on “Repair Disk Permissions”.
  • Wait till it’s done and restart your system.

Please notice that if you use OS X EI Capitan or higher, you don’t need to manually repair your disk permissions.

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