How to Use The Mac Task Manager Properly

How to Use The Mac Task Manager Properly

If you used to work with Windows Task Manager for ending tasks and stopping errant processes, you already know what is the main function of Activity Monitor. This app is Mac equivalent of Microsoft Task Manager. So, you can easily see which processes are using your computer and stop them to make your PC work faster. Thus if you have already used Task Manager and  think you’ll have problems with Activity Monitor, that’s not the case, because it’s not so difficult as it may seem.

Not all ordinary PC users know about Activity Monitor and all benefits, which they can get by using it. Besides of monitoring of computer process, this program also shows you used memory, network traffic, disk write/read operations and other data.

By the way, a lot of Mac users continue to call Activity Monitor by its Windows name ‘Task Manager’. Remember that it’s no matter what lingo is used, both applications have the same functions. So, Windows Task Manager is equal to Activity Monitor for Mac OS. These are two identical programs.


How to use the Mac Task Manager  

In Windows, you can press Control-ALT-DEL and the Task Manager will open. For Mac OS users it is a little bit different. So, if you want to run Activity Monitor, you have 3 options:

  • you can activate it directly via LaunchPad;
  • move it to the Dock;
  • use Spotlight to access keyboard quickly.


How to access the Task Manager in Mac OS X

You will find Activity Monitor in the Applications and Utilities folder. You can open Spotlight with the help of keyboard shortcut:

  • press Command + Spacebar to open a search field;
  • then type the first few letters of the app name;
  • press the Return while “Activity Monitor” is filling in the field of results;
  • now you are in Activity Monitor and you can do tasks.

You can manage tasks by the CPU or name, process ID or memory usage. Then find via the search box particular tasks that meet names and characters. This list is composed of all processes which are launched on your computer and all information about them. That’s not only active applications, but all background programs you need for the Mac activation.

You need to know that Activity Monitor is a very useful tool. With the help of this program, you can see not only applications which are run by the user right now. It also shows kernel and system tasks, processes of other users, daemons. In other words, almost all processes on your computer. So, you can easily find some app in the list if it is active somewhere on the Mac.


How to kill or stop a Process with the help of Activity Monitor on Mac

Find an application or task in the Activity Monitor, hit its name and then hit the red "Quit Process" button in the left side of the application window. Then you will see a dialogue box with some kind of warning that may quit the closing process. If you are sure, press “Quit” button to kill that task. Click the “Force Quit” button if the app is unresponsive, and stop this process in a second. Also “Force Quit” can block the application without any warning.

Activity Monitor can help you to find out what is the problem on your computer, why it is running slow and why your battery life is dismal.


How to get CPU, System Stats, Network, Memory Usage with Activity Monitor on Mac

You can find usage info about Mac at the bottom. Hit the necessary tabs to get information about System Stats, Network, Memory Usage, CPU and Disk Info.

If you’d like to look through the activity of the system permanently, firstly, reduce Activity Monitor. After that, click the Dock icon to allow various system activity monitors in the Dock. It will show the graphs with no standard icon.

The first thing you should pay attention in order to find a problem, it is how much % of the CPU usage one or another program or process eats. If it is using too much, here you are, that’s not good. You should decide if it is necessary to keep it open or you can kill it.


One Tip for New User of Mac

If you are a confident Mac user and you are familiar how Activity Monitor works, I’d recommend you keeping it on Dock for improving your Mac’s speed. There is also some good news! Mac OS users prefer Activity Monitor less than Windows users, as it works much better. Nevertheless, it would be easy to solve any problem with your computer, if Activity Monitor is readily available. Most of all, if your Mac became slower, the cause for this is likely a plugin in the web browser (Flash or Java). Anyway, when you know the cause, you can always quit that process and enjoy the fast efficient work of Mac OS.