Vis­ual Guide | Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor


Mon­i­tor­ing CPU and RAM

Use Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor (in /Ap­pli­ca­tions/Util­i­ties) to es­tab­lish what apps and pro­cesses are us­ing up the most CPU or RAM. Its CPU tab lists ac­tive pro­cesses in a real-time view of what’s go­ing on.

Switch to dif­fer­ent stats

Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor de­tails five dif­fer­ent re­sources: CPU, Mem­ory, En­ergy, Disk, and Net­work us­age. Switch be­tween them by click­ing on the tabs at the top of the win­dows. If you think your Mac is run­ning slowly, the CPU and Mem­ory sec­tions are likely to be of most in­ter­est.

Sort by us­age

Each tab’s col­umns show how pro­cesses are us­ing that par­tic­u­lar re­source. Typ­i­cally the sec­ond column is the most im­por­tant. Click a column name, such as % CPU or Mem­ory, so the ar­row points down to sort pro­cesses so the ones us­ing the most amount of that re­source are at the top. Items at the top of the list are usu­ally the ones us­ing the high­est per­cent­age of CPU power. Fluc­tu­a­tions and spikes in this are shown on the graph at the bot­tom. It’s per­fectly nor­mal for these to oc­cur as you open an app, down­load a video or ren­der a com­plex, lay­ered im­age. If Sa­fari shows a web-based game or video clip us­ing a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the CPU even af­ter you’ve stopped us­ing it, it’s likely to have stalled.

Force quit un­ruly apps

When a process is shown in red, this is Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor’s way of say­ing it’s un­re­spon­sive. This is usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by un­re­spon­sive be­hav­iour from the app in ques­tion (although some pro­cesses run be­hind the scenes). To force quit an item, click it in Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor’s list, then on the X at the left of the tool­bar, then con­firm you want to force quit it.

Search and mon­i­tor

Use the Search bar to check on a spe­cific pro­gram or process. If you have Drop­box or Spo­tify in­stalled, it’s worth check­ing whether they are us­ing too much net­work band­width, for ex­am­ple. You can check whether large back­ups or down­loads are tak­ing place in the Net­work tab.

Gen­er­at­ing di­ag­nos­tics

Choose View > run Sys­tem Di­ag­nos­tic to gen­er­ate a di­ag­nos­tics report con­tain­ing files that al­low Ap­ple to in­ves­ti­gate is­sues with your Mac. Ac­cept the pri­vacy agree­ment, then en­ter your ac­count’s pass­word to al­low Ap­ple ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion for the di­ag­nos­tics test.

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