Top 4 Fixes for Activity Monitor showing no columns on Mac

Mac’s Activity Monitor is a useful tool for monitoring and analyzing resource usage, disk and storage usage, and other important performance indicators. You can use the Activity Monitor to identify the resource-intensive apps, get rid of them, and optimize your Mac’s speed and battery life. So what if some of this data is missing from the activity monitor?

Activity Monitor works like any other app on your Mac. It is normal for the tool to stop working at times. Speaking of malfunction, the most common problem with the Activity Monitor is the missing column problem. There are times when you start the Activity Monitor and find that some or all of the columns are nowhere to be found. If this describes your current situation, read the corrections in the next section to restore the missing columns.

Before proceeding, you can try forcing the activity monitor. If that doesn’t help, restart your Mac and see if the columns have been restored.

1. Change the size of the columns and the window

If process name is the only column in the column title bar, other columns are not missing. They were just hidden or pushed way too far to the right. You can fix this by doing the following.

I. Expand the Activity Monitor window

Click the green button in the upper right corner to see all of the hidden columns.

2. Scroll right

Place two fingers on your trackpad and swipe left. This will scroll the content of the Activity Monitor to the right and reveal hidden columns.

3. Change the size of the visible column

Drag the divider or separator next to the Process Name column to the left. This will move the hidden columns and make them visible.

2. Reconfigure the activity monitor view settings

If after resizing the columns, if there are still some columns missing, the problem is easy to fix. Go to the app’s settings menu and make sure the missing columns are checked. Follow the steps below to get it done.

Step 1: Start the activity monitor and click on View in the menu bar.

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Step 2: Next, move your cursor over Columns.

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Step 3: Finally, select the missing column from the menu.

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If the missing column is already checked, but you still don’t see it in the Activity Monitor, uncheck it and then select it again.

3. Delete the activity monitor settings file

This settings list file (plist) contains the settings and configurations of the activity monitor. If the file becomes corrupt, some of the Activity Monitor features may not work. Sometimes this can cause the app to freeze or crash.

Deleting the corrupted plist file will update the Activity Monitor. When you restart the app, a new settings list file will be created that should restore the missing Activity Monitor column.

There are two different ways to delete the plist file. Let us show you how.

Use the Finder to delete the Activity Monitor plist file

Step 1: Open the “Go to Folder” window on your Mac’s desktop with the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + G.

Alternatively, tap Go in the menu bar on your Mac and choose Go To Folder.

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Step 2: Paste the path below into the dialog box and click Go.

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.ActivityMonitor.plist

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Step 3: Right click on the file named com.apple.ActivityMonitor.plist and choose “Move to Trash”.

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Close the Settings folder and restart the Activity Monitor.

If you still don’t see the columns and column headings, restart your Mac and check again.

Use the Terminal to delete the Activity Monitor plist file

Step 1: Go to the desktop of your Mac and launch the Utilities folder with the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + U.

You can also click Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.

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Step 2: In the Utilities folder, double-click Terminal.

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Step 3: Paste the following command into the terminal console and tap Enter on your keyboard.

sudo rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.ActivityMonitor.plist

After that, add your Mac’s administrator password.

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This command clears the activity monitor file and updates the app. Start the Activity Monitor and see if the missing columns have been restored.

4. Update macOS

Some Mac users have noticed that the Activity Monitor had missing columns after installing the previous versions of macOS Catalina. Surprisingly, none of the above solutions restored the missing Activity Monitor columns until they updated their Mac’s operating system to the latest available version.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, we recommend updating your Mac. Go to System Preferences> Software Update and download the latest macOS version available.

Bring back the crevices

We are very confident that at least one of the methods above will fix the missing columns issue. If the problem persists after trying all of the recommended solutions, you should visit an Apple Authorized Service Center to have your Mac examined. However, if you’ve found a new way to address this issue, share it with everyone in the comments below.

Next Up:

Can not you close Applications on your Mac because the Force Quit feature isn’t working? Read the troubleshooting tricks in the guide linked below to resolve the issue.

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