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View processes and memory in macOS Activity Monitor

Diagnosis of system problems often begins with Activity Monitor (/ Applications / Utilities).

By default, only the current user processes are displayed (quite useless). Select to see all the processes in Activity Monitor Show => All processes. Click to see which processes use CPU time % PROCESSOR to sort so that the largest usage is sorted at the top (ditto for real memory and other useful calculations).

The two most useful calculations are%processor and Real Mom together with Disk and Network statistics.

Below is real work done by ̵

6;java’ (actually IntegrityChecker). That’s you wishes to see when you want a job done quickly – many CPU cores in use. But when something like accountsd just continuously chews up CPU cycles, it’s a useless big drag on system performance.

  • Quit applications that are not in use, as many applications chew up enough CPU so that the system runs hotter and slower overall. For example, Dreamwaver and Photoshop will chew up 3% of a CPU each for hours.
  • In general, there is little you can do about demon trials, as in most cases they are only respawned if they are murdered. You just have to live with bad design.
  • It can be useful to sort by name, but a vendor can use all kinds of names without the vendor name (very annoying), such as “Core Sync” and “CCX Process” from Adobe, so it is difficult to find out all the related crapware to a specific application.
  • By clicking on the Inspect (“i”) icon at the top, you can see open files and ports, and reveal where the process lives.
  • Drag the column sections to change the column width. Maybe you can need to do this – there is an eternal bug in Catalina that can do Process name column as wide as the screen – scroll right and drag the tough thing to get it back to a reasonable size.
  • Ctrl-click (right-click) to add or remove columns.

Activity monitor showing% CPU, sorted by highest first

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