The Task Manager For Mac

Similarly to the Windows equivalent, in the Apple Task Manager you can easily closeprograms that are frozen or hanging. But if you want more details about a problem, you’ll need to open the Mac Activity Monitor. This lets you kill unused or unresponsive applications, and consult statistics on CPU and memory load, and energy use. But how do you open the Task Manager on a Mac? And what information is shown in the Activity Monitor? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you out.

Task manager also defines how much memory consumed by system and hom much is left or available for use and not only memory it also says same story for CPU uses and Disk uses. In mac there is no particular task manager is there but yes similar like task manager there is Activity Monitor. The feature was first introduced in Mac OS X v10.3 release and was initially known as process viewer or task manager on Mac. It was later when the tool was revamped and got released as an 'Activity Monitor' with Mac OS X 10.9 release. The Mac Task Manager is a mini-version of the Activity Monitor. To open it, simultaneously press down the CMD + ALT + ESC keys on your keyboard. This will open a window containing a list of all currently opened programs and applications that are running in the background. Mac Equivalent of Task Manager. The Task Manger on a Windows Computer is used to quit applications, whenever an application or program gets stuck or freezes on a Windows Computer. Activity Monitor is the Mac’s version or the equivalent of Task Manager as found in Windows Computers. Similar to the Task Manager, Activity Monitor provides the.

  1. Mac Activity Monitor and CPU load

Force quitting programs using the Mac Task Manager

The Mac Task Manager is a mini-version of the Activity Monitor. To open it, simultaneously press down the [CMD] + [ALT] + [ESC] keys on your keyboard. This will open a window containing a list of all currently opened programs and applications that are running in the background. Select the program or application that has frozen and click on the “Force Quit” button to close it.

The Alt key is also referred to as the Option key. In fact, on some keyboards it is actually labeled “Option”.

Mac Activity Monitor and CPU load

Like the Task Manager, the Mac Activity Monitor also lists all of the processes that are running on the system. You can open it by going into Applications and selecting Utilities, or searching for it directly in Spotlight by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of the menu bar.

The Mac Activity Monitor is split into several sections: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, Network, and (in later versions) Cache. The list of processes includes user apps, system apps used by the operating system, and invisible background processes. You can choose which columns to display and filter the processes by going into the “View” menu. As well as the Mac Activity Monitor, you can also install other programs such as htop to manage system processes.

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CPU pane

The “CPU” pane shows how different processes are affecting CPU performance. Alongside the stats in the “Energy” pane, this information can help you work out what processes are affecting the performance, battery runtime, temperature and fan activity of your Mac. Just below the main window, you will see an additional section containing the following information:

  • System: Percentage of CPU capability currently being used by system processes.
  • User: Percentage of CPU capability currently being used by apps or processes launched by the user.
  • Idle: Percentage of CPU capability not in use.
  • CPU Load: Percentage of CPU capability currently being used by all processes (System and User combined).
  • Threads: Total number of threads used across all processes.
  • Processes: Total number of processes that are currently running.

When you open the Activity Monitor, you might notice that the CPU load for the kernel_task process is rather high, and also that the fan is working harder than usual. One of the roles of kernel_task is to regulate the temperature of the CPU.

Memory pane

The Memory pane of the Mac Activity Monitor tells you how memory is currently being used. The section at the bottom shows the following statistics:

  • Memory Pressure: This is a graph that illustrates the availability of memory resources.
  • Physical Memory: Total amount of RAM installed.
  • Memory Used: Total amount of RAM currently in use.
  • App Memory: Total amount of memory currently being used by apps and their processes.
  • Wired Memory: Memory that cannot be compressed or paged out to the hard drive and that must therefore remain in RAM.
  • Compressed: Amount of RAM that is compressed to make space for other processes.
  • Swap Used: Space that the memory management system of the OS is using on your startup drive.
  • Cached Files: Memory that was recently used by apps but is now available to other apps.

Energy pane

The “Energy” pane provides information on overall energy use and tells you how much energy is being used by each app. As in the other views, you can click the column headings to sort the processes according to the values measured. The bottom pane shows the following:

  • Energy Impact: Total energy used by all apps.
  • Graphics Card: Type of graphics card installed.
  • Remaining Charge: Percentage of battery charge remaining.
  • Time Until Full: Amount of time the Mac must be plugged into the mains before it is fully charged.
  • Time on AC: Time elapsed since the Mac was plugged in.
  • Time Remaining: Estimated amount of time the Mac can keep running on battery.
  • Time on Battery: Time elapsed since the Mac was unplugged.
  • Battery (Last 12 hours): Battery charge level over the last 12 hours.

Disk pane

The “Disk” pane shows how much data each process has read from or written to your disk. It also shows “reads in” and “writes out” (IO), that is, the number of times your Mac accesses the disk to read and write data. The information at the bottom of the “Disk” pane shows the total disk activity for all processes combined.

Network pane

In the “Network” pane you can see how much data your Mac is sending and receiving over the network. This allows you to identify processes that are sending or receiving the largest amounts of data. The information at the bottom of the “Network” pane shows the total network activity for all apps combined.

Cache pane

In macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later, the Activity Monitor has an additional pane called “Cache” (if Content Caching is enabled in the “Sharing” pane of System Preferences). This pane shows information such as how much cached content local network devices have uploaded, downloaded or dropped over time.

The information available in the Activity Monitor will depend on what Apple devices and macOS version you are using.

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By the virtue of being on Windows for many years, most users develop a muscle memory in hitting Ctrl + Alt + Delete when their PC acts up to open the Task Manager and restart a stalling process. It's just part of daily life. But what's the Mac equivalent of Task Manager?

Some say there's no need for the Apple Task Manager, as Macs run better and smoother than their PC counterparts. And while this is largely true, from time to time you absolutely need a way to force quit Mac processes to keep it in good shape.

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So how to get Task Manager on Mac? Easy! There's already an OSX Task Manager pre-installed (or rather the Mac equivalent of Task Manager) — called Activity Monitor, which you can find in Applications ➙ Utilities.

Activity Monitor Is The Apple Task Manager

Below is a guide for long-time Windows users in the process of onboarding to Mac and hence wondering, 'Where is Task Manager?' 'How to get Task Manager on Mac?' 'How to open Task Manager on Mac?' But Mac users who haven't used the MacBook Activity Monitor in a while will find the instructions on how to halt Mac processes useful as well.

What is Activity Monitor?

Activity Monitor is basically the OSX Task Manager, a utility that shows how much memory your Mac processes are using and which apps are currently active (even if they aren't open), letting you force quit stalled ones if you can't close them the usual way.

If you've never used this task manager for Mac before, it can be quite a lot to take in. But don't worry, here's a quick breakdown of all Activity Monitor's features.

CPU: The first tab in Activity Monitor lists all the processes that are currently taking up your Mac's CPU, displays the exact percentages of power they are consuming, and notes how long they have been running.

There's a process you might notice in the CPU tab called 'kernel_task' that could be taking a large share of resources. Don't panic and don't shut it down! The process simply ensures your CPU isn't working too hard by forcing other memory-intensive Mac processes out. As a result, it might seem like one of the heaviest processes on the list. Similarly, 'mds' and 'mdworker' help index files for the Spotlight search, which sometimes spikes their appetite.

Memory: The second tab reflects how much RAM every process is taking up, which could be the most useful indicator of all. RAM is directly responsible for the speed of your Mac, so getting rid of heavy users is the fastest way to speed things up.

Another interesting feature of the Memory tab is the RAM Pressure Gauge at the bottom. If the bar is green then your Mac's RAM isn't being taxed too much. But if it turns red — consider buying additional memory for your machine.

Energy: The middle tab comes handy when you're using your MacBook without plugging it in. Here you can easily find apps and processes that drain your battery and quit them to extend your screen time.

Disk: Even though this tab might not be the most useful one for daily use, it still shows how various processes interact with your hard drive, rewriting data. If you ever happen to install some malware, you might find its processes here as large outliers and quit them just in time.

Network: The last tab in Activity Monitor reflects the amount of data received and sent by every app you have installed. Again, it's generally good for spotting outliers that might send too much data online.

Cache: If you're running macOS earlier than High Sierra, you might see another tab in Activity Monitor called Cache. It basically lists how much data your network devices have cached so far and is only useful for those who know how to clean up those caches (read more on this below).

How To Open Task Manager In Mac

How to open Task Manager on Mac?

Unfortunately, there are no keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open your Mac process monitor, but launching Activity Monitor is still quite simple. Pick one of the three ways to do it.

Activity Monitor Mac

Open Activity Monitor from Spotlight:

  • Press ⌘ + Space to open Spotlight
  • Start typing Activity Monitor
  • Once Activity Monitor comes up highlighted, hit Enter or click on it

Open Activity Monitor from Finder:

  • Click on Finder in your Dock
  • Navigate to Applications on the sidebar
  • Choose Utilities in the Applications window
  • Double-click on the Activity Monitor icon

Open Activity Monitor from Dock:

If you've been having recurring troubles, setting up Activity Monitor in your Dock is absolutely worth doing. It's essentially a handy one-click Mac Task Manager shortcut.

But before you can open Activity Monitor from your Dock, you need to use one of the previous two methods first. Then, once Activity Monitor is active:

  • Right-click on the Activity Monitor icon in your Dock
  • Select Options
  • Choose 'Keep in Dock'

'Keep in Dock' should now have a checkmark beside it, which means it will stay in the Dock even if you quit the app — then you can launch it like any other program.

How to force quit an application?


If you're looking for answers regarding the Mac OS Task Manager, chances are it's because some app has stalled on you. There are two ways to go here.

From the Activity Monitor:

  • Navigate to either the CPU or the Memory tab and find the slow process
  • Click to highlight
  • Press the X icon in the top toolbar
  • Confirm that you're sure you want to quit the process

The other force-quit option is from the Force Quit Applications window:

  • Press ⌘ + Option + Esc
  • Highlight the program you want to quit
  • Click Force Quit

Check out: Mac startup programs

Are there better Apple Task Manager alternatives?


What Is The Task Manager For Mac Called

The Task Manager For Mac

While Activity Monitor is definitely the Mac equivalent of Task Manager, sometimes you want to monitor your Mac's processes a little more closely and get real time updates on your Mac's performance. iStat Menus will help you do that.

Keep your Mac controlled

iStat Menus is the single Mac monitoring tool you need for a great performance. Get updates on your Mac’s resources in a click.

iStat Menus gives you fast updates on what's using your Mac's resources at just a glance. Working hard right from the menu bar, the app displays graphs for nearly every function of your Mac, so you can instantly find out what's wrong or just notice how your Mac behaves in different conditions.

Task Manager Mac Shortcut

It's likely that if you need a Mac OS Task Manager it's because your computer is running slowly. But don't just address the symptom, address the cause. Instead of quitting processes, get your Mac to run smoothly overall with CleanMyMac X.

CleanMyMac X is an optimization software that's designed to improve your Mac's performance with just a few clicks. It removes user and system caches, protects against malware, uninstalls unwanted software — all to bring your Mac back up to speed. If there's an app constantly stalling or hanging up, it's probably due to a conflict with some other process — CleanMyMac X will clear it up right away:

  1. Open the app
  2. Navigate to System Junk ➙ Scan
  3. Review Details to see what might be wrong and hit Clean

Knowing how to use your MacBook Task Manager is essential to getting the most out of your Mac and following the tips above is a good start.

Best of all, iStat Menus and CleanMyMac X are both available for a free 7-day trial through Setapp, a platform with over 150 useful apps that turbocharge your Mac's capabilities. Now you surely won't miss the Windows Task Manager at all.

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Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.

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Task Manager For Mac Shortcut

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