Where is the “Task Manager” on a Mac?

If you are a veteran of Windows, you are likely familiar with using Task Manager to deal with applications that are freezing or checking memory usage. On a Mac, these tasks fall to a force quit dialog box or a utility called the Activity Monitor, which has come with every version of Mac OS X and macOS since 2000. How to use it.

End stubborn programs with “Force Quit”

If you’re familiar with pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del on a Windows PC to exit a stubborn program, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a similar three-finger combo on the Mac. If a program stops responding, just press Command + Option + Esc to open the Force Quit Applications dialog box.

A window will open listing the apps that are currently running. to close a persistent one who refuses to quit normally, select it from the list and hit the “Force Quit” button.

After asking for confirmation, macOS close the application you selected. Very convenient.

What is the equivalent of Ctrl + Alt + Del on a Mac?

Troubleshooting with more details: Activity Monitor

On a Mac, when you need to investigate a deeper problem with system resources, such as: For example, memory usage or detailed information about a specific app or process, you should use the activity monitor. By default, Activity Monitor is located in a folder called Utilities in your Applications folder on your Mac.

How to Find Activity Monitor in the Finder on a Mac.


One of the quickest ways to open the Activity Monitor is to use Spotlight. To open “Spotlight”, click the little “magnifying glass” icon in your menu bar (or press Command + Spacebar).

If you see the Spotlight Search bar, type in “Activity Monitor” and click Back. Or, you can click the Activity Monitor.app icon in the Spotlight results.

Open Spotlight Search on the Mac and type in

Once the Activity Monitor window opens, you’ll see a list of all the processes running on your Mac, similar to this:

An overview of the CPU tab in Activity Monitor on Mac.

The five tabs at the top of the window give you access to displays that show information on running processes, sorted by CPU usage (“CPU”), memory usage (“Memory”), energy consumption (“Energy”), and hard disk usage (“Hard Disk”) and network usage (“Network”). Click the tab that corresponds to the section you want to visit.

The various tabs in Activity Monitor on Mac.

At any time when listing processes, you can select a process from the list and click the “Stop” button (which looks like an octagon with an “x” in it) to force it to stop, or click the “Inspect” button ( an “i” in a circle) to show more information about the process.

The Stop and Inspect buttons in Activity Monitor on the Mac.

And if you are overwhelmed by the number of processes listed, you can narrow it down using the “View” menu at the top of the menu bar. To the example, you can select “My Processes” to see only a list of the processes associated with your user account.

In the Activity Monitor, click the View menu to narrow the list of processes.


You can also search for a process using the search bar in the upper right corner of the window. Just enter the name of the app or process you are looking for and it will appear in the list (if it is currently running).

Use the search box in the Activity Monitor to search for processes on a Mac.

Activity Monitor is very convenient. So take some time to research it and you will become much more adept at using it to troubleshoot your Mac. Have fun!

How to fix issues with your Mac using Activity Monitor

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