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If you want to fully mount the CPU to stress test a Mac, don’t turn any further than the Terminal. Using the command line, you can easily maximize all CPU cores and put a huge load on a Mac, making it easy to determine things like what temperature the processor reaches under heavy load, whether fans are working properly, how loud fans are, what battery life is. as well as under tremendous workload and other technical aspects that can be helpful in troubleshooting. Although it is a technical process, it is quite easy to do and we will explain everything.
How to Stress test a Mac
To get the most out of the Mac CPU, we’ll use the command-line utility called “yes”, which basically does nothing more than repeat the word “yes” at such a rate that it consumes all available processor resources. In general, each instance of “yes” will only return a single thread on a single CPU core. This means that if you have a dual-core Mac with a hyper-threaded processor, you must have at least four different “yes” instances to fully load the CPU.
To get started, launch Terminal and you may want to check out the UI-based task manager Activity Monitor so that you can easily observe CPU load and system resources.
When you’re ready to stress test the Mac, type the following command:
yes> / dev / null &
That will send an instance of ‘yes’ to the background, but to load up the CPU you want to run more than one of. Repeat the process by saving up arrow and return to run several more instances, or throw a group on a single line like this:
yes> / dev / null & yes> / dev / null & yes> / dev / null & yes> / dev / null &
In Activity Monitor or at the top you quickly discover that the processor is being hit hard.
When done, in the same terminal window, type “killall yes” in the command line to kill all instances of the yes command. You will see something like this:
$ killall yes Terminated: 15 yes> / dev / null Terminated: 15 yes> / dev / null- Terminated: 15 yes> / dev / null+ Ended: 15 yes> / dev / null
You will also see all cases of “yes” dropped from the process list in Activity Monitor. If not, there is probably a typo somewhere.
Unless you have a valid reason to do this, you better not randomly run “yes” as this will obviously cause performance issues until it stops working.
In support, the video below shows the entire process from start to finish:
For those wondering, this works in all versions of Mac OS X and even Linux too, so you can stress test every Mac ever made this way. In fact, as long as there is a command line that is Unix based, you could run the ‘yes’ command to stress test a Mac CPU using this approach.
Make sure to stop and kill the ‘yes’ commands when you’re done testing the Mac, otherwise CPU usage will remain high and fans will no doubt be running at full speed soon.
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