The more applications you have running, the faster the battery runs down on your MacBook. If processor cycles and RAM are at a premium, your desktop Mac will slow down if you have too many windows open. The only way to get back up to speed and save energy is to shut down some of the things you’re using. This is an inconvenience you just have to put up with. Unless, that is, you’re running App Tamer.

At first glance, App Tamer looks similar to OS X’s Activity Monitor, a bundled tool in your Utilities folder. While it’s true that both give you a list of running programs and processes, complete with a read out of central processing unit usage, App Tamer takes things a step further. It enables you to select the greediest applications and set them to automatically stop when idle or in the background.

Like Activity Monitor, you can order the application list by CPU usage, expressed as a percentage. If you’re curious about any of the items in the list, select it. You’ll see information including RAM usage appear on the right.

By default, App Tamer is configured to halt Safari, Chrome and FireFox when one is in the background for more than 15 seconds. When we tried it, App Tamer did its job quietly and without fuss. When bringing our browser back to the front it was ready to use. There’s little apparent impact on workflow and the only performance change should be a positive one.


App Tamer is useful too for switching off those applications OS X loads that you rarely need. You don’t have to worry too much about autostopping useful applications as App Tamer pops up a warning when you try to halt essential background processes.