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MacBook Pro: How to determine which graphics processor is in use

When using a Mac that supports automatic graphics switching, the system will switch to the best graphics processor (integrated or discrete) for the applications running on your computer. Some graphics intensive applications will always use the higher-performance discrete graphics processor.

Determining if the discrete or integrated graphics processor is in use 

OS X Mavericks

Open Activity Monitor and go to the Energy Tab. You will see what Application is using the higher performance discrete GPU.

As you can see in this example, Aperture is using the higher-performance discrete graphics processor:

 

OS X Mountain Lion and Earlier

MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) and MacBook Pro (Retina, Early 2013)

  1. Open System Profiler by choosing About this Mac from the Apple () menu. Then, click More Info.
  2. Select "Graphics/Displays" in the Hardware section. Two entries should appear under Video Card: "Intel HD Graphics 4000" and "Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.
  3. Click Intel HD Graphics 4000.
  4. Read the detail view under Displays.
    1. If the detail says Color LCD and Display Connector, you are in Intel HD Graphics 4000 mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected," you are in Nvidia GeForce GT 650M mode.
  5. Click Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.
  6. Read the detail view under Displays.
    1. If the detail says Color LCD and Display Connector, you are using in Nvidia GeForce GT 650M Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected," you are in Intel HD Graphics 4000 mode.

To update the information in the window, refresh the System Profiler screen by pressing Command-R.

 

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)

  1. Open System Profiler by choosing About this Mac from the Apple () menu, then click More Info.
  2. Select the "Graphics/Displays" item in the Hardware section. Two entries should appear under Video Card: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.
  3. Click Intel HD Graphics 4000.
  4. Read the detail view under Displays.
    1. If the detail says Color LCD and Display Connector, you are in Intel HD Graphics 4000 mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected," you are in Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.
  5. Click Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.
  6. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says Color LCD and Display Connector, you are in Nvidia GeForce GT 650M Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected," you are in Intel HD Graphics 4000 mode.

To update the information in the window, refresh the System Profiler screen by pressing Command-R.

 

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011) and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2011) 

  1. Open System Profiler by choosing About this Mac from the Apple () menu, then click More Info.
  2. Select the Graphics/Displays item in the Hardware section. Two entries should appear under Video Card: "Intel HD Graphics 3000" and "AMD Radeon HD 6750M" or "AMD Radeon 6770M".
  3. Click "Intel HD Graphics 3000".
  4. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in Intel HD Graphics 3000 mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected ", you are in AMD Radeon HD 6750M  or AMD Radeon 6770M Graphics mode.
  5. Click "AMD Radeon HD 6750M"  or "AMD Radeon 6770M".
  6. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in AMD Radeon HD 6750M  or AMD Radeon 6770M Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected", you are in Intel HD Graphics 3000 mode.

To update the information in the window, refresh the System Profiler screen by pressing Command-R.

 

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011) and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011) 

  1. Open System Profiler by choosing About this Mac from the Apple () menu, then click More Info.
  2. Select the Graphics/Displays item in the Hardware section. Two entries should appear under Video Card: "Intel HD Graphics 3000" and "AMD Radeon HD 6750M" or "AMD Radeon 6490M".
  3. Click "Intel HD Graphics 3000".
  4. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in Intel HD Graphics 3000 mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected ", you are in AMD Radeon HD 6750M  or AMD Radeon 6490M Graphics mode.
  5. Click "AMD Radeon HD 6750M"  or "AMD Radeon 6490M".
  6. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in AMD Radeon HD 6750M  or AMD Radeon 6490M Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected", you are in Intel HD Graphics 3000 mode.

To update the information in the window, refresh the System Profiler screen by pressing Command-R.

 

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)

  1. Open System Profiler by choosing About this Mac from the Apple () menu, then clicking More Info.
  2. Select the Graphics/Displays item in the Hardware section.  Two entries should appear under Video Card: "Intel HD Graphics" and "NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M".
  3. Click "Intel HD Graphics".
  4. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in Intel HD Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected ", you are in NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M Graphics mode.
  5. Click "NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M".
  6. Read the detail view under "Displays".
    1. If the detail says "Color LCD" and "Display Connector", you are in NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M Graphics mode.
    2. If the detail says only "Display Connector:  Status: No Display Connected", you are in Intel HD Graphics mode.

To update the information in the window, refresh the System Profiler screen by pressing Command-R.

 

Additional Information

Here are a few examples of Apple apps that use the higher-performance discrete graphics processor: 

  • iPhoto
  • iMovie
  • Aperture

  

Learn more about setting the graphics performance on MacBook Pro (Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (Early 2011) computers.

If your computer is an earlier model, you can learn instead about setting the graphics performance on MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008), MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009), and MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009) computers.

Last Modified: Jan 30, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jan 30, 2014
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