💻 App Tamer, Fact or Fiction?

If you have a lot of open apps, and a lot of apps running in the background and menu bar, you might need App Tamer by St. Clair Software.

App Tamer is a tool designed to help control resource hungry apps, throttle background apps, and even shut down apps when they go idle. But, is such a tool necessary?

macOS does a fine job of managing and controlling apps. Apps that are native to the new M1 Apple Silicon should run great right?

On my system, an old Intel, Mac Pro, with a dozen apps open at any one time, plus another dozen in the menu bar, lots of things are trying to use resources when in the background. Some times it’s not the apps you think.

For example, if you push your browser to the background, should it keep using the same resources it did when it was in the fore? If you’re streaming videos yes, but if you’re reading an article, no. If you switch away from that tab, then probably not.

The same is true for background jobs like downloading a file or checking a web page for updates. What about indexing photos or documents? Should that keep the same priority while you work on something else?

For me, the answer is no. Indexing shouldn’t take priority over my regular work. Unless it’s a critical file transfer, that too can take an extra minute or two to complete. Same is true for graphics apps. They don’t need to keep processing while an image sits in the editor. However, you may need Postman to run like normal even if it’s in the background.

That’s where App Tamer comes in. When you have hungry apps, App Tamer can smooth and iron out those spikes. For a long running job, you can let the app run at full speed or dial it back. If needed, add it to a list of apps that can run full throttle all the time.

For example, I’ve added Katalon Studio, Postman and CrossOver to my exclusion list.

Additionally, you can control what happens when an app goes idle while in the background. Should it be closed or hidden after a certain amount of time? A very similar feature to Quitter, that I’m quite fond of.

If you only run a couple of apps at a time, you won’t see much benefit. However, if you have an app that prone to misbehave and hog resources, App Tamer might be able to get it under control.

On the whole, App Tamer works well for me and smooths out a lot of software spikes. I’ve noticed several apps that eat up CPU cycles while they don’t have focus. Not sure why they need 100% CPU, but they don’t get it while I work on something else.

It won’t make an overburdened system run like new, but it does allow you to see and control apps that have a tendency to spike your processors. Keep in mind, a poorly written app is still a poorly written app. App Tamer can’t fix that.

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