View Running Apps & Processes on Mac OS

Keep an eye on your Mac’s performance by viewing all running apps and processes. Learn how to do it easily with these steps.

This guide is about the How to View All Running Apps & Processes in Mac OS X. I will try my best so that you understand this guide very well. I hope you all like this guide How to View All Running Apps & Processes in Mac OS X.

There are several ways to see all the apps or programs running on a Mac, ranging from just seeing the “windowed” apps running in the graphical user interface to even the most vague system-level processes and tasks at the core. From Mac OS. We’ll cover five different ways to view these running applications and processes in Mac OS X, some of which are very user-friendly and applicable to all users, and some are more advanced methods that can be accessed from the command line. Take the time to learn them all, and then you can use the method that best suits your needs.

At a glance: Look at the dock to see running Mac apps

The simplest way to see the apps currently running is to take a look at the Mac OS X dock. If you see a small glowing dot below the app icon, it’s open and running.

See which applications are running in the Mac dock

While there is nothing wrong with using this approach, it is of course a bit limited as it only shows the so-called Windowed applications — that is, applications running in the Mac OS X interface — and it’s also limited in that you can’t interact directly with them. Also, those little glowing indicators are small and not so obvious, and many people don’t notice them at all. Fortunately, there are better ways to see what’s working on your Mac, and also be able to take direct action if you need to quit an app or two.

See All running applications / programs with a mandatory shutdown menu

Click Command + Option + Escape to call the base “Force Quit Applications” window, which can be thought of as a simple Task Manager in Mac OS X. This shows an easy-to-read list of all the active applications running on MacOS X, and what’s shown here is exactly the same as what you see in the dock:

Show running applications in the Force Quit menu in Mac OS X.

Regardless of the window name, you can use this to actively view running programs and applications without closing them.

One obvious benefit of the Command + Option + ESC menu is that it allows you to act directly while applications are running, allowing you to force them to quit if they become incorrect or appear in red, meaning they don’t respond or are crashing. This simplified version is quite similar to the “Control + ALT + DELETE” management program that originally existed in the modern world of Windows.

The primary limitation of the Force Quit menu is that, like docking device detectors, it is limited to revealing “windowed applications” that are actively running in Mac OS X, bypassing menu bar items and background applications, for example.

View all running applications and processes with Activity Monitor

The most powerful application and process management utility in the Mac OS X interface, Activity Monitor, is a powerful Task Manager that reveals not only all running and active applications but also all active and passive processes. This includes literally all the functions running on your Mac, including the aforementioned windowed applications and even background applications (those not visible in the Dock or Force Quit menu), menu bar items, system-level processes, processes running under different users, inactive processes, service daemons , literally anything and everything that works as a process in Mac OS X at any level.

The application itself lives / Applications / Utilities /, but it’s also easy to launch via Spotlight by pressing Command + Space and typing “Action” and then the Return key.

View all running programs and processes with Activity Monitor

A way to simplify all the information originally displayed in the Activity Monitor is to drag down the Process submenu and select what you are looking for, such as “All Processes”, “My Processes”, “System Processes” or “Other” User Processes “, among other options. The “Search” feature is also easy to use and quite powerful because you can start typing the name of a name and it will update immediately depending on which processes match the query.

Activity Monitor offers a lot of tools and options, and is easily the most advanced way to view more extensive information about all active processes without going to the command line. Suppose you quit processes, kill applications (killing is basically the same as a forced quit), check and take processes, sort processes by name, PID, user, CPU, threads, memory usage and types, filter processes by user and level, and also search for processes by name or brand. In addition, Activity Monitor also reveals general usage statistics about CPU, memory, disk activity, and network activity, making it a necessary diagnostic utility to determine everything from insufficient RAM to diagnosing why a Mac might be slow to run based on countless others.

As an added bonus, you can also keep Activity Monitor running at all times and change it from the Dock icon to a real-time resource usage monitor to see what CPU, RAM, disk activity, or network activity is on your Mac.

Advanced settings: Show all running processes on the terminal

By going to the command line, you can use a few more advanced tools to view all the processes running on your Mac, from basic user applications to even small daemons and kernel system functions that are otherwise hidden from regular Mac OS X users. experience. In many ways, these tools can be thought of as command line versions of Activity Monitor, and we focus specifically on two: top and ps.


At the top is a list of all running processes and different statistics for each process. In general, it is most useful to sort by CPU usage or memory usage and make an -o flag for it:

Sort top by CPU: top -o cpu

Sort top edge by memory usage: top -o rsize

Use the top command to view all running applications and tasks

top is updated live, while the next tool ‘ps’ is not.


By default, the ps command only shows the display of active terminals under the current user, so your own ‘ps’ is kind of boring unless you live on the command line. Using a flag or two, you can reveal all the processes, and perhaps the best combination is ‘aux’, which is used like this:

ps aux

If you want to see all the output, it is useful to expand the full screen of the terminal window, but it can still be a little overwhelming if a ton of stuff is going on (which usually happens), and so “more” or “less” is often better to view easier:

ps aux | more

This allows you to view the output pages one at a time without having to scroll up and down in the terminal window.

Use ps aux to display running processes

To search for a specific process (or application name for that issue), use grep:

ps aux | grep process

Or search for apps:

ps aux | grep “Application name”

When searching for applications in the interface, it’s usually best to use the same way that applications use Mac OS X, or you may not find anything.

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The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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