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There are several ways to see all the applications or programs running on a Mac, ranging from just apps with windows running in the graphics front end, to revealing even the most obscure processes and system-level tasks that are at the core to turn. from Mac OS. We cover five different ways to view these running apps and processes in Mac OS X, some of which are very easy to use and applicable to all users, and some of which are more advanced methods accessible from the command line. Take the time to learn all of them, and you can then use the method that best suits your needs.
At a glance: Look into the Dock to see what Mac apps are running
The easiest way to see which apps are currently running is to just look at the Mac OS X Dock. If you see a small glowing dot below the application icon, it is open and active.
While there’s nothing wrong with using this approach, it’s clearly a bit limited as it only shows what are called ‘windowed’ apps – that is, apps running in Mac OS X GUI front end – and it is also limited in the sense that you cannot take direct action with them. Plus, those little glowing indicators are small and not that obvious, and a lot of people don’t notice them at all. Fortunately, there are better ways to see what’s running on a Mac and take immediate action when you need to quit an app or two.
See All running applications / programs with forced shutdown menu
Press Command + Option + Escape to bring up the basic “Force Quit Applications” window, which can be thought of as a simple task manager for Mac OS X. This shows an easy-to-read list of all active applications running in MacOS X, and what is visible here exactly the same as what you would see in the Dock:
Despite the Windows name, you can use it to actively watch running programs and apps without actually leaving them.
An obvious benefit of the Command + Option + ESC menu is that it allows you to actually take action on running apps, forcing them to stop if they have gone wrong or appear in a red font, meaning they not responding or are crashing. This simplified version is quite similar to the basic “Control + ALT + DELETE” manager that initially exists in the modern Windows world.
The main limitation with the Force Quit menu is that, like the Dock indicators, it is limited to revealing only the “windowed apps” that are actively running in Mac OS X, eliminating things like menu bar items and wallpaper. apps are skipped.
View all running apps and processes with Activity Monitor
Activity Monitor, the most powerful app and process management utility in the Mac OS X GUI, is a powerful task manager that reveals not only all running and running applications, but also all running and inactive processes. This includes literally everything running on the Mac, including the aforementioned apps with windows, and even background applications (which are not visible as active in the Dock or the Force Quit menu), menu bar items, system-level processes, processes running under different users. running, idle processes, service daemons, literally anything that runs as a process in Mac OS X at every level.
The app itself is located in / Applications / Utilities /, but it’s also easy to launch it via Spotlight by hitting Command + Space and typing “Activity” followed by the Return key.
One way to simplify all the information initially displayed in Activity Monitor is to open the Process submenu and select based on what you are looking for such as’ All processes’, ‘My processes’,’ System processes’ or ‘Other User Processes ”, in addition to the other options. The quest” feature is also easy to use and quite powerful as you can type the name of anything and it will instantly update according to whatever processes match the query.
Activity Monitor offers a ton of tools and options, and it’s easily the most advanced way to view comprehensive information about all running processes without jumping to the command line. It allows you to shut down processes, kill applications (kill is basically the same as force quit), inspect and sample processes, sort processes by name, PID, user, CPU, threads, memory usage and type, filter processes by user and level, and search also by processes by name or sign. In addition, Activity Monitor also reveals general usage statistics about CPU, memory, disk activity and network activity, making it an essential troubleshooting tool to determine everything from insufficient RAM levels to diagnosing why a Mac could be running slow on based on the countless other possibilities.
As an added bonus, you can also keep Activity Monitor running all the time and turn the Dock icon into a live resource usage monitor to see what CPU, RAM, disk activity or network activity is up on a Mac.
Advanced: View all running processes with Terminal
If you delve into the command line, you can use a few more advanced tools to view every process running on the Mac, ranging from simple user-level apps to even the small daemons and core system functions otherwise hidden from the general user of Mac OS X experience. In many ways, these tools can be thought of as command line versions of Activity Monitor, and we’ll focus on two in particular: top and ps.
Top shows a list of all running processes and various statistics about each process. It’s usually most useful to sort by processor usage or memory usage, and to do that you’ll want to use the -o flag:
Sort on top by CPU: top -o cpu
Sort up by memory usage: top -o rsize
top is updated live, while the next tool ‘ps’ is not.
By default, the ps command will only display terminal processes running under the current user, so ‘ps’ on its own is rather boring unless you live in the command line. Applying a flag or two will reveal all the processes, and perhaps the best combination is ‘aux’ as follows:
To see all of the output it’s helpful to expand a full screen terminal window, but it can still be a bit overwhelming when there are tons of stuff running (which is usually the case), and so it through ‘more’ or lead ‘less’. often preferred to make viewing easier:
ps aux | Lake
This allows you to view pages of the output at once without scrolling up and down in the Terminal window.
To search for a specific process (or the name of the application), you can use grep like this:
ps aux | grep process
Or to search for applications:
ps aux | grep “Application Name”
When looking for apps running in the GUI, it’s usually best to use the same case that the apps use in Mac OS X or you might not find anything.
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