Activity Monitor: Get information about processes

Get information about processes using Activity Monitor

A process is a program running on your computer. It can be an application that is visible on your screen or one of many invisible processes running in the background that provide functions your computer needs.

Programmers and system administrators may need to check the background processes running on a computer to monitor performance or to diagnose problems. If you call Apple for service or support, they may ask you about these processes as well.

You can use Activity Monitor to view all the processes running on your computer and to see detailed information about them, such as which user “owns” the process, the percentage of processor time being used, the number of threads or tasks a process is running, or the amount of memory being used by each.

Choose which processes to show

Choose a type of process from the Show pop-up menu in the toolbar of the Activity Monitor window.

You can type part of a process name in the Filter field. As you type, a list of matching processes appears in the Activity Monitor window.

See more information about a process

Select it in the Activity Monitor window, and then click Inspect.

Sort processes

Click the column headings in the Activity Monitor Window.

To reverse the order of items in the column, click the triangle in the selected column heading.

Change the order of columns

In the Activity Monitor window, drag the heading of any column to the left or right.

See general information

Click CPU at the bottom of the Activity Monitor window.

The information, including the number of processes and threads open, appears at the bottom of the pane.

Last Modified: May 8, 2012
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  • Last Modified: May 8, 2012
  • Article: PH5146
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