How to open and use Task Manager on Mac

Many users who have switched from Windows to Mac computers often wonder what the equivalent of Task Manager is on a Mac and how to open it. In this article, we will show you how to open and use Task Manager on Mac.

Mac equivalent of Task Manager

Task Manager on Windows computer is used to end applications when any application or program is stuck or freezes on Windows computer.

Activity Monitor is the Mac version or the equivalent of Task Manager as found in Windows computers. Similar to Task Manager, Activity Monitor provides details about the CPU or memory used by apps and services on your Mac.

While fewer episodes of apps and native services will freeze on a Mac compared to Windows computers, the Mac also offers a dedicated Force Quit Applications Manager in addition to the Activity Monitor.

If you encounter an app that is stuck on your Mac, you can use the application manager to force quit the offending app or use the activity manager to view more details about that app.

Open Task Manager on Mac

As mentioned above, the Mac equivalent of Task Manager is known as Activity Manager and it provides detailed information on how much CPU, memory, etc. an application or process is using on your Mac.

1. Click on that Finder icon (Happy Face) from the left corner of the Dock on your Mac

Finder app on the Mac taskbar

2. On the next screen, click applications from the side menu (see image below)

tab

3. In the Applications folder, click the Utilities folder and open it (see image above)

4. In the Utilities folder, click activity monitor (which is usually the first item in the list)

Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder on Mac

5. On the next screen (Activity Monitor) you can see the details of CPU used by all apps and services running on your Mac.

Pin Activity Monitor to Dock on Mac

You can avoid the long walk to opening Activity Monitor on your Mac by pinning Activity Monitor to the dock bar.

1. Once you open Activity Monitor on your Mac with the above steps, it will appear in the dock bar. Easy right click Click the Activity Monitor icon in the Dock to launch a menu (see image below).

Keep in Dock option on Mac

2. Next, hover over it with your mouse options and then click Stay in the dock Option in the displayed side menu (see image above).

From now on, you’ll see the Activity Monitor icon pinned to the Dock on your Mac, and you can access Activity Monitor by just clicking the icon in the Dock.

How to Use Task Manager on Mac

Below is a quick guide on how to use the Mac equivalent of Task Manager known as Activity Monitor on your Mac.

1. View CPU, memory and other system resources used on your Mac

Once you open Activity Monitor on your Mac, you will see a screen with five tabs – CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network (see image below).

CPU tab in Activity Monitor on Mac

CPU – If you click on the CPU tab, you can get information about the amount of CPU used by the different applications on your Mac.

memory – If you click on the Memory tab, you can see how much memory is being used by the apps and system programs on your Mac. You will see the apps with the most storage at the top of the list (see image below).

Storage tab in Activity Monitor on Mac

The Memory tab also provides an overall chart at the bottom that shows an overview of the total memory usage on your Mac.

energy – Tapping this tab will show the energy usage of the apps and processes on your Mac. The apps that have been using the most power (battery) in the last 8 hours or since your Mac started up are listed at the top.

At the bottom of the screen you can see how much battery is left, how long the battery is expected to last, and how many hours the battery has been used.

disc – Tapping on the Disks tab will show you the amount of data each application or process has read from and written to your hard drive.

Disk tab in Activity Monitor on Mac

At the bottom of the Disk tab, you can see the total amount of data read and the total amount of data written from disk, including all processes and apps.

network – Tapping on the Network tab will show you how much data each process is sending and receiving over your internet connection.

Below you can see the total amount of data received and the total amount of data sent from your Mac computer.

View information about an application or process

You can also use Activity Monitor to view additional information about applications and processes on your Mac.

1. Click on that application or the process you want to see more information about.

2. Then click on the I Button in the upper left corner of the Activity Monitor window (see image below)

i icon in Activity Monitor on Mac

3. A window opens with more information about the application or process.

Force quit applications in Activity Monitor

Follow the steps below to force quit applications using Activity Monitor on your Mac

1. After opening Activity Monitor on your Mac, click the application you want to force quit (see image below)

Force quit the app in Activity Monitor on Mac

2. Then click on the x buttonlocated near the top left corner of the Activity Monitor window (see image above)

3. A pop-up window may appear asking you to confirm that you want to exit the app. Click on Force quit Option in popup to exit this app.

Ctrl + Alt + Del Same as on Mac

Besides Activity Monitor, Mac computers also have a Force Quit Applications manager that you can use to force quit apps.

The Force Quit Applications Manager on a Mac can be accessed by pressing and holding command + option (Alt key) + Escape keys on your Mac.

The Force Quit Applications Manager only allows you to force quit apps and does not provide details such as: For example, how much CPU or memory an application is using.

Below are the steps to use the Force Quit Applications Manager.

Open Force Quit Application Manager on Mac

If your primary goal is just to force quit an application on your Mac, and you don’t care how much CPU or memory the application is consuming, you should use the Application Quit Manager to accomplish this task.

There are two ways to open the Force Quit Application manager on your Mac

1. Click on that apple icon in the top menu bar on your Mac, and then click Force quit… option (see picture below)

Force quit application option on Mac

2. On the Force Quit Applications screen, click application name you want to end, and then click the Force quit button (see image below).

Force quit applications on Mac

3. Next, you will see a pop-up window asking you to confirm that you want to force quit this app. Click on Force quit to exit this application.

Want to force quit pop-up on Mac

If an application is running, you can force quit the application by clicking apple icon in the top menu bar of your Mac, and then click Force quit (application name) from the drop down menu (see image below).

Apple menu icon and Force Quit tab on Mac

Note: You can also use the Command + Alt + Esc Keyboard shortcut to launch Force Quit Application Manager on your Mac.

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