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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store Apps
Keeping iTunes open doesn't use much in the way of processor power -- unless you've got the source selection set to 'iTunes Store.' You can reduce your processor consumption by simply keeping your selection on something internal (e.g., Podcasts or Music) instead.

I'm always trying to squeeze as much extra power out of my iMac as possible and keep a close eye on the processor usage with the iStat Menus widget. I frequently noticed a particularly high percentage of processor power being allocated to iTunes and couldn't figure out why; I wasn't playing music, downloading videos or using any other functions that could put a load on the processorů or so I thought.

After some experimentation I found that whenever the source (that list of items in the left-hand column) selected was the iTunes Store it caused a significant jump in usage. The only thing I can figure out is that the constant updating of the store's home page, revolving graphics and other real-time functions are using processing power whereas keeping the source selected to something more benign, like 'Podcasts' or 'Music' that accesses only locally stored content (i.e., already on your hard drive) doesn't have to do that.

I moved the selection from the iTunes Store to Podcasts and the percentage of processor use dropped from an average of 9% to 1.5-3.5% -- a fairly significant difference for a very small change.

If you, like me, are always trying to wring out the most power from an older machine, consider keeping something other than 'iTunes Store' selected in your iTunes application. It's a small change with a noticeable difference.

[crarko adds: You can see this hit in Activity Monitor as well. The iTunes 'Genius' function is another CPU-intensive activity that you should probably shut off if your trying to save cycles.]
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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store
Authored by: mmnw on Jul 18, '11 08:10:41AM

Good idea to post this as a hint. I had this problem in the past and figured out iTunes was the culprit, but it took me a two weeks to find that out.
In my case it wasn't the need for processor cycles. I just felt my laptop running pretty hot, despite doing nothing beside light web browsing (no flash). And in my case (on a MacBook Pro) it wasn't just 8%, it was more than 50% on a regular basis.

This hint might also save you battery time on your laptop. So remember to close the iTunes store when not needed.

Edited on Jul 18, '11 08:11:24AM by mmnw



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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store
Authored by: jrobert on Jul 18, '11 08:17:07AM

You can also stop the graphics and its CPU demand by minimizing iTunes to the dock or reducing it to the mini-player window.



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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store
Authored by: xhinter on Jul 18, '11 10:24:07AM

http://hints.macworld.com/comment.php?mode=view&cid=124313

You can still leave the source in iTunes set to the Store,
but avoiding those pages with scrolling images.



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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store
Authored by: afingal on Jul 19, '11 08:14:35AM

This general sort of thing can also be a security/privacy thing. I have had it in mind for a while to see about how to make a super secure configuration of OS X. Such a system would have everything removed that you don't actually use, especially background processes. For example, you may notice that there is always a process running which is called iTunesHelper even if you don't use iTunes at all.

In terms of performance, I suspect that the CPU time is less of an issue than the RAM taken by all these background processes. Of course, it is probably more true that RAM is the deciding factor on a multi-core system than a one or two core machine, which is where you would really care about optimizing performance.



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Save Processor Cycles By Avoiding iTunes Store
Authored by: DriverDan on Jul 19, '11 10:45:44AM

Good hint. I assume this is happening too in the Mac App Store?



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