What is the Task Manager on Mac PC and how to use it?

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If you are a newbie to Mac computers, no wonder you have hit CTRL + ALT + DEL to open task manager on Mac PC as well. That is what you call muscle memory; that is a different story. However, do you know how to start the Mac task manager; and its uses? First of all, unlike Windows, Mac users hardly get a need of launching task manager, which says some of the rookie users might not have any idea about it. 

We have decided to put all the necessary facts about task manager on Mac in one place through this article. This guide would be more beneficial for the long-time Windows users who are starting new with Mac computers. Let’s start without further ado.

How to open task manager on Mac?

In Mac computers, the Activity Monitor acts more or less similar to the Windows task manager. The Activity Monitor shows the applications currently running on your Mac and the memory those applications are using. Similar to Windows, you can close the programs running on your Mac from the Activity Monitor if you find it difficult to close them in the conventional method. 

When talking about opening the task manager on Mac, there is no keyboard shortcut available. But launching the Activity Monitor is as easy as ABC. There are few methods to open it, and below is the easiest and most straightforward way of performing it.

First, press ⌘ + Space bar and open Spotlight. Type Activity Monitor and a search suggestion will appear there; click on that. Here you get the task manager for Mac.

Let’s talk about the features of the Activity Monitor.

Features of Mac task manager

When you open the Mac task manager on Mac for the first time, it will look kind of confusing, which is totally understandable being a previous Windows user. Don’t sweat it; we have listed the tabs on top of the Activity Monitor for you to understand the features properly.

CPU tab

In the CPU tab, you can monitor the programs that are currently running and the effect they have on the CPU performance. In addition, you can notice the percentages those programs are consuming and the time they are running on your Mac. You would see that process named “kernel_task”,mapping%20to%20a%20BSD%20process eating a chunk of the memory, but that is nothing to worry about; never try to stop that particular process. It makes sure your CPU is not working too hard to run the program smoothly; in fact, it is helping your machine. 

Memory tab

This is the most valuable indicator on the Mac task manager as per our view. By clicking the memory tab, you can get the details about the RAM utilization of each running program. It doesn’t matter Windows or Mac, the RAM is the key for a speedier computer, and as we know, closing the programs that are consuming RAM the most can help your machine work fast and efficiently. 

Further, you will notice RAM pressure at the bottom of the pane, and a green bar suggests that your RAM is not consumed excessively. However, if you monitor a red bar, you must consider adding more RAM memory to your Mac. In addition, the memory tab shows stats of physical memory, wired memory, compressed memory, cached, and swap used files to help you make appropriate decisions.

Energy tab

The Energy tab becomes more beneficial when your MacBook is not connected to a power source because it shows you the energy used by all running apps. You can use the Energy tab to your advantage to extend the remaining battery life of your laptop by closing high battery draining programs. 

Moreover, this particular tab permits you to see more valuable statistics such as graphics cards, remaining charge of the battery, time until full, time on AC, time remaining, time on battery, and the battery charge level for the previous 12 hours right down the pane.  

Disk tab

This might not be the most helpful one out of the Activity Monitor tabs, but if you want to see how the programs interact with the hard disk, such as read data and rewritten data, this is where you get all those information. You can monitor these data for individual program as well as collectively at the bottom “disk” pane. 

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Network tab

This tab of the task manager on Mac helps you to monitor the data sent and received by a particular app over the connected network. The data you gain from this tab is useful to reconsider the apps you have installed on the Mac to prevent huge data usages. 

Cache tab

Cache tab is available only on MacOS High Sierra and earlier, which indicates the amount of cache collected by your network devices. If your Mac has this tab, you can use it to clear the cache easily without much of a problem. 

How to stop a running program with the task manager on Mac?

Finally, let’s see how you can quit a program using Mac task manager (Activity Monitor). 

First, go to the relevant tab to notice the program that is causing the issue. Then, click on it to highlight in order to perform the action. Now, hit the X mark top of the toolbar and confirm the action you are going to execute. 


The Activity Monitor is the Mac equivalent of Windows task manager, and you can work with more or less the same functionalities to monitor and quit unwanted running programs. However, there are many apps available for Mac users to get more details and functions other than the Activity Monitor. We think it will be unnecessary work, especially if you are moving from Windows to Mac. 

Please take a moment and wander around as we constantly bring you valuable content about Apple devices. Also, let us know if you have more queries about task manager on Mac; we are more than happy to help you. 

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