Scrivener Causing Switch to Discrete Graphics

I’m using a 2011 MacBook Pro, and I’ve noticed that using Scrivener causes OS X to switch from integrated graphics (Intel HD 3000) to the discrete graphics card (AMD Radeon HD 6750M). It normally uses integrated graphics to save on battery life and only switches over to discrete graphics when you run things like video editing apps or games. None of my other text-oriented editors cause this to happen, but I’m new to Scrivener and was wondering if there was a reason that the program needed the extra graphics processing power?

FYI: The way I know which graphics subsystem is being used is with a little menu program called gfxCardStatus (, which tells you when a switch happens, and, in the case of a switch to discrete graphics, what application(s) caused the switch. I’ve also verified this with the System Profiler utility.

This is obviously not a big deal, and I’m not even sure how much more power the discrete graphics uses, but not having to plug-in as often is always nice…


The problem is buried in the QuickTime frameworks that Scrivener uses to display or playback multimedia. If I recall correctly, some of these frameworks in turn rely upon some 3D stuff that triggers those Macs with automatic GPU management into high-performance mode. So in essence the problem is buried in Apple’s libraries, and there’s no way to use those libraries without triggering the problem.

What you could consider doing is installing a tool that lets you control the GPU manually. I think I’ve seen one or two that are easy to run in the status menu bar. It makes it act more like an older MacBook Pro that required manual switching.

Thanks for the quick answer (on a Sunday night!). Since this is the first computer I’ve had with dual graphics, I wasn’t sure if it would mess things up to override what the system was doing, and possibly break the application somehow.

The same gfxStatus status menu app that I found can switch the graphics based on power source, so I can do that. And, definitely 5 stars for Scrivener customer service. :slight_smile:

Thanks again,

I’ve been meaning to log a bug report with Apple about this, actually, as it is odd that just by including the QuickTime framework (which we need to do to allow the viewing of videos and sound files), OS X automatically switches the video card settings.

Many thanks for the kind review on the App Store, by the way - much appreciated!

All the best,

Manually switching to integrated graphics only mode does not save any power, as the GPU remains powered on. More explanation here:

As I use Scrivener strictly for writing, and have never used it’s quicktime features, I would love to have a mode where it doesn’t trigger the discrete GPU. I do a lot of writing on my laptop in places where I don’t have power, and it’s disappointing that Scrivener actually drains the battery faster than Word due to features I don’t use.

Thanks for a great writing tool!


Unfortunately there’s no way around it - just by linking to the QuickTime framework at all causes this, so to avoid it we’d have to provide a different version with features stripped out, which is far from trivial.

Thanks for the kind words!

All the best,

And please write to Apple feedback about this. I have yet to run into anyone that actually cares about the MBP having more than one GPU, or the implications thereof, that doesn’t want to manually control it. The more people that put their opinion to words, the more chance Apple even hears about it.