How to View All Applications & Processes Running on Mac OS Guide

This guide is about How to View All Applications & Running Processes in Mac OS X. I will try my best so that you understand this guide very well. I hope you all like this guide How to View All Running Applications & Processes on Mac OS X.

There are many ways to see all the apps or programs running on a Mac, from seeing the “windowed” apps running in the graphical user interface to even the most obscure processes and tasks at the system level. From Mac OS. We’ll cover five different ways to view these running applications and processes on Mac OS X, some of which are very easy to use and applicable to all users, and some of which are more advanced methods that can be accessed offline ordered. Take the time to learn them all, and then you can use the method that best suits your needs.

At a Glance: Look at the dock to see running Mac apps

The simplest way to see which apps are currently running is to look in the Mac OS X dock. If you see a small glowing dot below the app icon, it’s open and running.

See which applications are running in the Mac dock

While there’s nothing wrong with using this approach, of course it’s a bit limited because it only shows so-called Windowed applications – that is, applications that run in the Mac OS X interface – and it’s limited also in that you cannot directly interact with them. Also, those little glowing indicators are small and not that obvious, and many people don’t notice them at all. Fortunately, there are better ways to see what’s working on your Mac, and also be able to take direct action if you need to quit an app or two.

See All running applications / programs with forced shutdown menu

Click Command + Option + Escape to call up the base “Force Quit Applications” window, which can be thought of as a simple Task Manager on Mac OS X. This displays an easy-to-read list of all active applications running on MacOS X , and what is shown here is exactly the same as what you see in the dock:

Show running applications in the Force Quit menu in Mac OS X.

Regardless of the window name, you can use this to actively view running programs and applications without closing them.

One clear advantage of the Command + Option + ESC menu is that it allows you to act directly while running applications, allowing you to force them to quit if they get wrong or are colored red, which means unresponsive or crashing. This simplified version is quite similar to the “Control + ALT + DELETE” management program that originally existed in the modern world of Windows.

The main limitation of the Force Quit menu is that, like docked device detectors, it is limited to exposing “windowed applications” that are actively running in Mac OS X, avoiding menu bar items and background applications, for example.

View all running applications and processes with Monitor Activity

The most powerful application and process management utility in the Mac OS X interface, Activity Monitor, a powerful Task Manager that reveals not only all running and active applications but also all active and inactive processes. This includes literally all the applications running on your Mac, including the aforementioned window applications and even background applications (those not visible in the Dock or Force Quit menu), menu bar items, system-level processes systems, processes that run under different users, inactive processes, service daemons, literally anything and everything that works as a process in Mac OS X at any level.

The application itself lives / Applications / Utilities /but it’s also easy to launch through Spotlight by pressing Command + Space and typing “Action” followed by the Return key.

View all current programs and processes with Monitor Activity

A way to simplify all the information that was originally displayed in the Activity Monitor is to pull down the Process sub-menu and select what you want, such as “All Processes”, “My Processes”, “System Processes” or “ Other” User Processes “, among other options. The “Search” feature is easy to use and also quite powerful as you can start typing a name and it will immediately update depending on the processes that match the query.

Activity Monitor offers many tools and options, and is easily the most advanced way to see more extensive information about all active processes without going to the command line. Suppose you kill processes, kill applications (killing is basically a forced quit), check and accept processes, sort processes by name, PID, user, CPU, threads, memory usage and types , filter processes by user and level, and also search for processes by name or brand. In addition, Activity Monitor also reveals general usage statistics about CPU, memory, disk activity, and network activity, making it an essential diagnostic utility for determining everything from insufficient RAM to diagnosing why a Mac might be be slow to run based on a large number of other people.

As an added bonus, you can keep Activity Monitor running at all times and switch it from the Dock icon to a real-time resource usage monitor to see what CPU, RAM, disk activity or network activity is on your Mac.

Advanced settings: Show all running processes on the terminal

By going to the command line, you can use some more advanced tools to see all the processes running on your Mac, from basic user applications to even small daemons and kernel system functions that are otherwise hidden from users regular Mac OS X. experience. In many ways, these tools can be thought of as command-line versions of Activity Monitor, and we focus on two in particular: barr and ps.


At the top is a list of all running processes and various statistics for each process. In general, it is very useful to sort by CPU usage or memory usage and flag it with -oa:

Sort top by CPU: top -o cpu

Sort top edge by memory usage: top -o rsize

Use the top command to see all current applications and tasks

Update top is live, although the next ‘ps’ tool is not.


By default, the ps command only displays a display of active terminals under the current user, so your own ‘ps’ is kind of boring unless you live on the command line. Using a flag or two, you can reveal all the processes, and perhaps the best combination is ‘aux’, used like this:

ps aux

If you want to see all the output, it’s useful to expand the entire screen of the terminal window, but it can be a bit overwhelming if there’s a ton of stuff going on (which is usually the case), so “more” or “less” is often better to see more easily:

ps aux | bigger

This allows you to view the output pages one at a time without scrolling up and down the terminal window.

Use ps aux to show running processes

To search for a specific process (or application name for that matter), use grep:

ps aux | grep process

Or search for apps:

ps aux | grep “Application name”

When searching for applications in the interface, it’s usually best to use the same path that Mac OS X applications use, or you may not find anything.

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FAQ: How to View All Running Apps & Processes on Mac OS X

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