How to Check CPU Usage on Mac: A General Guide

Welcome to this article! In this digital era, the usage of CPU (Central Processing Unit) has become an essential part of our daily lives. It plays a vital role in the performance and stability of our systems. However, without monitoring the CPU usage, it could affect the performance of our Mac. Hence, in this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to check CPU usage on your Mac. You will learn how to monitor the usage, identify the applications that consume more power, and optimize the system to enhance its performance.

Steps

Step 1: Launch Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is the built-in utility tool on Mac, which allows you to monitor and manage the system resources, including CPU usage. To access it, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Spotlight icon located on the upper-right corner of the screen or press the Command + Spacebar keys.
  • Type in “Activity Monitor” and hit Enter.
  • The Activity Monitor window will appear, displaying all the system processes and their CPU usage.

After following the above steps, you will be able to monitor the CPU usage on your Mac using the Activity Monitor tool.

Step 2: Check CPU Usage

Once you launch the Activity Monitor, you can identify the CPU usage of your system. The percentage of the CPU usage is shown in the CPU column, which indicates the amount of processing power being used by particular apps or processes.

You can sort the CPU usage by clicking on the CPU column. The applications that consume the most power will be located on the top of the list.

Step 3: Select the Time Interval

The Activity Monitor tool also allows you to view the CPU usage stats for a specific time interval. The options available are:

  • 1 hour
  • 12 hours
  • 1 day
  • 1 week
  • 1 month

To view the stats within a particular period, select the time interval from the drop-down menu located on the top of the window.

Step 4: Monitor the CPU Cores

Modern Mac computers have multiple CPU cores, which allows for faster and smoother processing power. The Activity Monitor tool provides you with a breakdown of the CPU usage by the number of cores to help you identify which core is the busiest.

To view the CPU usage by cores, click on the CPU tab located at the bottom of the window. The usage will be displayed for each core, allowing you to monitor the core that’s consuming the most power.

Step 5: View System Processes

The Activity Monitor tool also displays the system processes, which are the essential components that keep the system running. The system processes should always be running and consume minimal CPU power. Thus, it is essential to keep an eye on their CPU usage to prevent any instability in the system.

To view the system processes, click on the System Processes tab located at the bottom of the window. It will display all the system processes and the amount of CPU power they are consuming.

Step 6: Identify Resource-Intensive Applications

The Activity Monitor tool can help you identify the applications that are consuming resources and slowing down your Mac. You can sort the CPU usage by clicking on the %CPU column. It will list all the applications and processes consuming CPU power, allowing you to identify the resource-intensive applications.

You can also view the RAM and Disk usage of these applications using the respective tabs located at the bottom of the window.

Step 7: Force Quit Applications

If you identify any applications consuming a lot of resources, you can force quit them to free up the resources and enhance your Mac’s performance. To force quit an application, follow these steps:

  • Select the application you wish to force quit from the list.
  • Click on the “X” button located on the top-left corner of the window.
  • Select Force Quit and click “Ok” to confirm.

Step 8: Optimize the System

The Activity Monitor tool also helps you optimize the system by identifying the unwanted, unused, and often invisible background processes that take up space and slow down the system. After identifying these processes, you can close them down to enhance the overall system performance.

Before closing down these processes, make sure that they are not essential for the system. To close down the unwanted processes, follow these steps:

  • Select the process you wish to close from the list.
  • Click on the “X” button located on the top-left corner.
  • Select Quit and click “Ok” to confirm.

Step 9: Check the Energy Usage

The Activity Monitor tool also allows you to monitor the energy usage of your Mac. The Energy tab displays the average energy impact of the applications over the last 8 hours. It also displays the status of the battery, such as the battery’s condition, charging status, and remaining battery life.

You can also sort the energy usage by clicking on the Energy Impact column, allowing you to identify the applications consuming more energy and taking longer to charge your Mac battery.

Step 10: Monitor the Network Usage

The Activity Monitor tool helps you monitor the network usage as well. The Network tab displays the data usage by applications, such as the amount of data sent and received from the network.

You can sort the network usage by clicking on the Sent Bytes or Received Bytes column, allowing you to identify the applications consuming more network data. If any application is consuming more data, you can limit its data usage in the settings menu.

Step 11: Export Data

The Activity Monitor tool allows you to export the data for further analysis. You can export the data in the required format, such as CSV, TXT, or XML, using the File menu. This helps you analyze the data, identify trends, and optimize your Mac’s performance.

Step 12: Close the Activity Monitor Tool

Once you have completed viewing the CPU usage stats, you can close the Activity Monitor tool by clicking on the (X) button located on the top-left corner of the window or by pressing the Command + Q keys.

Explanation

In this article, we have explained the 12 steps to check CPU usage on your Mac using the built-in Activity Monitor tool. You learned how to monitor the CPU usage, sorted the applications by their resource usage, and identified the resource-intensive ones.

You also learned about optimizing the system and closing down the unwanted processes and applications that consume a lot of resources. Additionally, we explained how to monitor the energy usage, network usage, and export the usage data for further analysis.

Tips and Tricks

1. Keep Your Mac Clean

Regularly cleaning your Mac by removing the unwanted files, duplicates, and cache data helps free up storage space and enhance its performance.

2. Use a Reliable Antivirus Software

A reliable antivirus software prevents malware, spyware, and other malicious programs from infecting your Mac, slowing it down, or causing damage to it.

3. Install the Latest Updates

Regularly installing the latest software updates helps to enhance the performance and stability of your Mac, fix any bugs, and add new features to your system.

4. Limit the Startup Applications

Unnecessary applications that launch automatically at startup can slow down your Mac. Thus, you must limit the number of applications that launch at startup.

5. Optimize your Browser

Browsers consume a lot of resources if there are too many tabs open or if they have extensions installed. Thus, you must optimize your browser for better performance by removing unwanted extensions, clearing cache data, and limiting the number of tabs open.

6. Remove Unused Applications

Uninstalling the applications you no longer use helps free up storage space and enhance the system performance.

7. Monitor Temperature

Overheating can cause damage to your Mac hardware and decrease its performance. Thus, it is essential to monitor the temperature and ensure it does not go beyond acceptable limits.

8. Use Energy Saver Mode

Using the Energy Saver mode helps to reduce the amount of energy consumed by your Mac, enhancing its battery life and reducing its heat dissipation.

9. Keep Your Desktop Clean

A cluttered desktop can slow down your Mac. Thus, you must keep your desktop organized, remove the unwanted files, and keep the shortcuts organized.

10. Use Recommended Settings

Using the recommended settings for your machine helps to optimize the performance, enhance the battery life, and improve the system stability.

By following the above-listed tips and tricks, you can optimize the performance and stability of your Mac and enhance its overall performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages: How to Check CPU Usage on Mac

Advantages:

1. Easy access: Checking CPU usage on Mac is a simple task that can be easily done by anyone.
2. Helps identify performance issues: Tracking CPU usage can help identify potential performance issues on your Mac, enabling you to take appropriate action.
3. Prevents overheating: Monitoring CPU usage can help prevent your Mac from overheating, which can damage your device’s hardware.
4. Saves battery life: By tracking your CPU usage, you can identify processes that consume excessive energy, therefore increasing your device’s battery life.
5. Enables multitasking: Monitoring CPU usage can help you manage your applications better, allowing you to effectively multitask.

Disadvantages:

1. Time-consuming: Monitoring CPU usage can be a time-consuming task, especially on older Mac models.
2. Requires technical knowledge: Checking CPU usage requires some basic technical knowledge that might not be within the purview of a layman.
3. Can be misleading: CPU usage can be misleading, as it doesn’t take into account the usage of other hardware components like the GPU or RAM.
4. May not reveal the full picture: Although checking CPU usage is essential, it may not reveal the complete picture of your Mac’s performance, as there may be other underlying issues that it doesn’t account for.
5. Can cause performance issues: Running multiple processes to check CPU usage can also cause performance issues on your Mac, as it may consume system resources, slowing down your device.

In conclusion, monitoring your Mac’s CPU usage is an effective way of managing performance issues, enhancing battery life, and enabling multitasking. However, it requires some technical knowledge, and the results can be limited depending on the age and specifications of your device.

FAQ

1. What is CPU usage on Mac?

CPU usage on Mac refers to the amount of processing power that is being used by the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to run various apps and programs on the computer.

2. How can I check the CPU usage on my Mac?

You can check the CPU usage on your Mac by opening the Activity Monitor app. This app shows you the CPU usage for each app and process that is running on your computer.

3. Where can I find the Activity Monitor app on my Mac?

You can find the Activity Monitor app in your Applications folder, under the Utilities subfolder.

4. What does the CPU tab show in Activity Monitor?

The CPU tab in Activity Monitor shows the CPU usage, as well as the percentage of CPU time that is being used by each app and process on your Mac.

5. How can I sort the CPU usage in Activity Monitor?

You can sort the CPU usage in Activity Monitor by clicking on the CPU column. This will sort the list of apps and processes by the amount of CPU time that is being used.

6. What is a high CPU usage?

A high CPU usage means that your Mac is using a large amount of processing power to run apps and processes. This can cause your Mac to slow down or become unresponsive.

7. How can I reduce CPU usage on my Mac?

You can reduce CPU usage on your Mac by closing unnecessary apps and processes, upgrading your RAM, or upgrading your processor.

8. Can I check CPU usage from the command line?

Yes, you can check CPU usage from the command line by using the ‘top’ command. This command shows you real-time information about the processes and CPU usage on your Mac.

9. How can I see which app is consuming the most CPU?

You can see which app is consuming the most CPU by sorting the CPU column in Activity Monitor. The app or process at the top of the list is consuming the most CPU time.

10. What is the difference between CPU usage and CPU time?

CPU usage refers to the percentage of processing power that is being used by an app or process on your Mac. CPU time refers to the total time that an app or process has used the CPU.

11. Is high CPU usage always a bad thing?

No, high CPU usage is not always a bad thing. Some apps and processes require a high amount of processing power to run efficiently. However, if your Mac is consistently running at a high CPU usage, it may indicate a problem.

12. What is a normal CPU usage?

A normal CPU usage varies depending on the number of apps and processes running on your Mac. However, a CPU usage of 70-80% or lower is considered normal for most computers.

13. Can I see historical CPU usage data in Activity Monitor?

Yes, you can see historical CPU usage data in Activity Monitor by clicking on the ‘Memory’ tab and selecting ‘View’ > ‘Windowed Processes Usage.’

How to Check CPU Usage on Mac

If you have been using Mac for quite a while, chances are you might have experienced a slowdown in your device. One of the main reasons that can cause this issue is high CPU usage. It is important to monitor your CPU usage to ensure your Mac runs smoothly and avoid any damage. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of checking CPU usage on your Mac.

Conclusion and Closing

Monitoring CPU usage on your Mac is essential to ensure your device runs smoothly and prevent any damage. With the steps outlined in this article, you can check your CPU usage and take appropriate actions if you notice a high usage percentage. Remember to keep an eye on your CPU usage regularly to ensure your Mac is functioning optimally. If you encounter any problems with your Mac, consider seeking professional help to avoid further damage. We hope this article has been helpful to you and wish you all the best in monitoring your Mac’s CPU usage!

Thank you for reading and until next time!