Archive for the ‘App Tamer’ Category

App Tamer 2.6.3: Better efficiency and compatibility

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Version 2.6.3 of App Tamer improves its own efficiency, as well as addressing a few issues that have been brought up by users. When collecting and managing CPU statistics of the processes running on your Mac, App Tamer now uses two additional strategies to reduce its own processor usage. And on Apple Silicon-powered M1 Macs, its helper application (which is in charge of managing the CPU usage of other apps) schedules its work on the M1’s “efficiency cores”, which use less power than the CPU’s “performance cores”.

On top of that, several bugs and user interface issues were corrected to prevent settings for critical processes from being changed to values you really don’t want (trust me 😁), and fixing a rare issue with Amazon Photos.

The full release notes and download links are on the App Tamer Release Page.

App Tamer 2.6.2: Quick UI Fixes and an Experimental Assassin for Runaway Processes

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Version 2.6.2 of App Tamer is available, fixing a couple of user interface bugs that could trip up new users. When newly installed, the size of App Tamer’s window was much smaller than it was supposed to be, making it hard to see the list of tamed processes. Compounding this was a change in version 2.6.1 that resulted in the mouse cursor not turning into a little arrow when you hovered over the edges of the window, so you couldn’t tell it’s resizable.

Another glitch, a result of changes that Apple made in Big Sur, could result in the names of processes being truncated in the process list. That’s been fixed as well.

You can find the full release notes and download links to App Tamer 2.6.2 on the App Tamer Release Page.

An experimental feature for a very specific system problem:

And now for the geeky, experimental feature: It’s come to my attention that some people are living with bugs in macOS that can result in essential background processes (like lsd and pkd) suddenly consuming tons of CPU time and bringing their Mac to a standstill. Despite chasing around to try and find the culprit, they often can’t resolve the problem without completely reinstalling the system. And apparently, App Tamer’s process throttling can’t limit the CPU usage without effectively disabling whatever function those processes are supposed to be performing.

So I’ve added a “runaway process assassin” to App Tamer. You specify which processes to watch, and if the CPU usage of any of them stays above a specified limit for a certain amount of time, App Tamer just kills the process. This certainly isn’t ideal, but works fine for system daemons that macOS will automatically relaunch whenever they’re needed. This feature is probably only useful to a few people, but because it isn’t something that’s easy to code up with an AppleScript or shell script, I figured I’d just add it. App Tamer is already collecting the CPU statistics anyway.

To configure this, you have to use Terminal. Paste in these commands, hitting the Return key after each one:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 1
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessCPULimit 50
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessTimeLimit 20
defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer runawayProcessList "lsd pkd"

Here’s what’s going on with the commands:

  • The first command turns on the killRunawayProcesses feature. 
  • The second sets runawayProcessCPULimit to 50. You can set that to whatever CPU percentage you want.
  • The third sets runawayProcessTimeLimit to 20. This is how long (in seconds) the process has to be above its limit before App Tamer kills it.
  • The fourth sets runawayProcessList to watch lsd and pkd. You can add as many processes as you want here, separated by spaces. For full-fledged applications, use the app’s bundle identifier.

When App Tamer kills a process, it will put up a notification to let you know. You’ll probably want to make sure you’ve allowed App Tamer to display notifications in System Preferences > Notifications.

To turn the whole thing back off, just use:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer killRunawayProcesses 0

WARNING: Don’t turn this on unless you have a real need for it! You could potentially kill a service that’s necessary for your Mac to operate correctly. However, if you do need and make use of this feature, I’d appreciate hearing from you in the comments or at support@stclairsoft.com.

App Tamer 2.6.1 delivers compatibility and bug fixes

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Version 2.6.1 of App Tamer is now available! This maintenance release of our app for taking control of your Mac’s CPU and battery delivers a number of bug-fixes. It works correctly with the Origin game launcher, as well as with processes that are launched using ‘sh’ and ‘tcsh’ shell scripts (which some ‘normal’ applications do under the hood).

App Tamer 2.6.1 also prevents you from completely stopping apps that are distributed via the Setapp subscription service because that can cause issues with Setapp. If you want to reduce the CPU usage of those apps, simply have App Tamer throttle them to 1% CPU rather than completely stopping them.

And finally, this release allows you to make App Tamer’s process window smaller than its default size and keep it that way. Previously, it’d insist on enlarging the window back to its default size when you closed it and opened it again. Oops 🙄

The full release notes and a download link are on the App Tamer Release Page.

App Tamer 2.6: Ready for Big Sur

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

App Tamer 2.6 is available, supporting macOS 11.0 Big Sur. This release updates App Tamer’s application icon and preference icons to conform with Apple’s latest UI makeover on Big Sur, while also adding native support for the Apple Silicon processors coming soon to Macs near you.

It also corrects a bug that could result in App Tamer slowing down some Spotlight searches, and fixes issues with it repeatedly showing notifications when an app fails to quit or hide when App Tamer tells it to.

Full release notes and download links are on the App Tamer Release Page.

And yes, there are still a couple more Big Sur updates coming!

App Tamer 2.5.2 supports Big Sur and Do Not Disturb, gives insight into background processes

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Version 2.5.2 of App Tamer is now available. It smooths out a few rough edges on Big Sur. It also respects the Do Not Disturb setting in Notification Center when it comes to warning you about apps using too much CPU.

Of interest to the curious: This release offers a new “Get Info” icon in the settings popup for many macOS system processes like WindowServer, trustd, iconservicesagent and bluetoothd.

Clicking the icon will show a system-supplied description of the process, which may help you understand what that process does, why it might be using a lot of CPU, and whether it’s safe to slow it down. Or it might not, since some of the descriptions themselves are pretty cryptic. Please remember that this information is supplied by the system, not by App Tamer, so I probably can’t help explain what an “SDP transaction” is 🙂

App Tamer 2.5.2 also contains a few bug fixes and some changes in terminology that make it clearer which processes are displayed in App Tamer’s process lists. Full details and download links are on the App Tamer release page.

App Tamer 2.5.1 adds more AppleScript support, fixes issues

Monday, May 18th, 2020

Version 2.5.1 of App Tamer is available now. Among other things, it includes fixes for a couple of complaints with the “using too much CPU” notifications that App Tamer puts up when a process is – you guessed it – using too much CPU. It will no longer notify you if you’ve already throttled an app, even if the app is still over the warning threshold. It also provides a method of making the “Let it continue” button suppress the high-CPU notifications for longer. The default is now 10 minutes (instead of 5) before you see another warning, and you can change that by using this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.AppTamer notificationMuteTime XXX

where XXX is is the number of seconds to silence notifications.

And for those folks that want to automate control of their apps, a new “manage” verb in App Tamer’s AppleScript dictionary lets you create scripts so you can change settings on a schedule, change an app’s settings with a keyboard shortcut, or something AppleScript-y like that. Here’s an example:

tell application "App Tamer"
manage "Safari" slow yes slowCPU 2 hide yes hideDelay 10
end tell

That will slow Safari to 2% CPU usage when it’s in the background and will hide it after it’s been idle for 10 minutes. To see all of the options, open App Tamer’s dictionary in Script Editor.

This scripting ability is being used by some users to change settings for backups so they run with different CPU limits at night vs. during the day, and throttling background apps more aggressively during video calls. As they say, the possibilities are endless!

App Tamer 2.5.1 also includes a number of fixes for infrequently encountered bugs, such as incorrect behavior when the stats update frequency is set to “never”, and processes not appearing when they’re run from the Terminal using ‘sudo’ or ‘su’.

For a full list of changes and download links, visit the App Tamer release page.

App Tamer 2.5: The Browser Edition

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Version 2.5 of App Tamer is available, addressing a number of issues with different web browsers.

It adds default settings for Microsoft Edge, throttling Edge to 2% CPU when it’s not in the foreground.

It also fixes issues with Chrome apps that run as separate processes (created by saving a Chrome Shortcut with the “Open as window” checkbox turned on), making sure that Chrome is left running at full-speed when a shortcut app needs to run unhindered.

Performance problems have been resolved when site-specific browsers created with Epichrome are running. Previously, their reliance on frequent, repeated calls to shell commands was causing App Tamer itself to use too much CPU.

And finally, site-specific browsers created with Coherence Pro can each have their own settings in App Tamer, rather than all being managed with the settings you’ve given to Chrome.

Full release notes and download links are available on the App Tamer release page, or by choosing “Check for Updates” in App Tamer if you’re already running it.

App Tamer 2.4.9’s high-CPU-usage alerts won’t interrupt your typing

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

While App Tamer‘s high-CPU-usage alerts are very helpful, they could occasionally be annoying because they’d interrupt keyboard input when they popped up.

They’ve now been rewritten so that you can continue typing until you’re done doing what you’re doing, then deal with the alert.

Version 2.4.9 also adds an option to automatically download and install updates as they become available, and the settings for App Tamer’s appearance preferences are now more clear about how things work.

These are fairly minor changes (because the core functionality already works really well ?) but they take care of a few unnecessary pain points.

As always, download links and details are available on the App Tamer Release page.

An Excellent Introduction to App Tamer on Podfeet Podcasts

Friday, December 6th, 2019

If you’re interested in App Tamer, Podfeet Podcasts just posted a great write-up about it. The article goes into more depth than our own App Tamer pages, and is a great introduction to its features and why you’d want them. It’s a few minutes’ read, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in getting the CPU usage of your Mac under control!

Get 25% Off for Black Friday!

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Get 25% off all of our products during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend! That includes Default Folder X, App Tamer, HistoryHound and Jettison. If you already own what you want, get gift licenses for friends and family to make their Mac-lives easier!

Just go to our web store and use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2019 when you check out.