Task Manager Mac solution: tips and tricks

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Mac OS beginners often ask questions like “Where is the Mac Task Manager on my computer?” or “How to open Task Manager on Mac?”,“How to close a hung program?”, “What is a Mac Task Manager shortcut?” and others. Is there an equivalent to Task Manager on a Mac? Definitely yes, and it is called Activity Monitor. In this article, we will show you how to read and use Activity Monitor. You will also learn how CPU, RAM, and disk usage can affect your Mac performance over time. In a meanwhile, let's start with how to launch Task Manager on Mac and where it is located, finish by creating Mac Activity Monitor shortcut.

What do you need Task Manager on Mac for

Most users, after moving from Windows to Mac OS, are wondering how to get Task Manager on Mac? Well, Activity Monitor is the Mac Task Manager equivalent of Windows and is the most powerful utility for managing applications and processes in the OS X. It displays not only all running and active applications but also all active and inactive processes. In other words, Activity Monitor shows almost everything that works on a Mac, including the aforementioned window applications, background applications, menu bar items, system-level processes, other user processes, inactive processes, service daemons — or almost everything that works as a process. Activity Monitor offers many tools and options, it is the most advanced way to view extended information on all active processes without having to use the Command Line. This utility allows you to forcibly end task on Mac and close applications, sort processes by name, by PID, by the user, by CPU usage, etc. Moreover, Activity Monitor will also provide you with general statistics on CPU usage, memory, disk and network activity, which is necessary when solving various problems, ranging from identifying the causes of inadequate use of system memory to the concept of causes of system slowdowns.

Task manager Mac

How to open Task Manager in Mac OS

  1. You can find Activity Monitor in Finder - Applications - Utilities. Navigate to this folder and double-click the icon to launch the application.
  2. However, a quicker way to open Task Manager Mac solution will be by using Spotlight search. Just click on the search icon in the menu bar on the right and start typing “Activity Monitor” to quickly find the app and start it. As a variant, you can press the following shortcut CMD + Space to open Spotlight. Then type the first few letters of the application and press Enter.
  3. If you need to launch the Task Manager frequently, you can drag the Activity Monitor icon from Applications to the Dock to make it always available within reach.

What is a keyboard shortcut for Task Manager for Mac computer

By default, there is no Ctrl + Alt + Del Mac keyboard shortcut to start monitoring the system, nevertheless, it is possible to create it. There are several ways to assign a combination of Mac Task Manager hotkeys to start monitoring the system in Mac OS. Below we will consider one of the possible variants.

  1. Launch Automator (you can find it in Applications or through a Spotlight search). In the window that opens, click "New Document".
  2. Select "Quick Action" and click the "Select" button.
  3. In the second column, double-click "Launch Applications".
  4. Select Activity Monitor (you will need to click the Other button at the end of the list and specify the path in Applications - Utilities - Activity Monitor).
  5. In the menu, select “File” - “Save” and specify the name of the quick action, for example, “Launch Activity Monitor”.
  6. Go to the System Preferences - Keyboard - Shortcuts.
Mac task manager
  1. In the Shortcuts tab, open the "Services" item and find the section "General" in it.
  2. Find the quick action you created, it should be noted, but so far without a shortcut.
  3. Click on the word “no” where there should be a shortcut to start Activity Monitor, then “Add” (or just double-click). After that create the Task Manager shortcut. This combination should contain the Option (Alt) or Command key (or both keys at the same time) and something else, for example, some letter.
  4. After adding a shortcut you can always start Activity Monitor with its help.

How to close a program in Task Manager for Mac

If you want to close a program that is hung or takes a large amount of memory, you should select the necessary line and choose "Quit" or “Force Quit”. The first one initiates a simple closing of the program, and the Mac Task Manager Force Quit option closes even a hung program that does not respond to normal actions.

There are other ways to quickly end task on Mac. If the program cannot cope with its task, you need to press and hold the following key combination Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + ⇧Shift + Escape. After that, the program that hangs will close.

Another way to quickly close a hung program is to force it out of the Dock. To close a hung application, click the application icon in the Dock, then press and hold the Option (Alt) key combination. After that, the program closes.


If you are a fan of well-organized documentation on your Mac and want to have everything within reach, try Commander One, an excellent Mac Task Manager alternative. Besides a huge variety of useful and necessary features (Terminal emulator, cloud storage integration, mounting and managing iOS, Android and other devices supporting MPT protocol, root access, archiver, etc.) presented in this powerful file manager, the app allows you to view and manage all the running processes on your computer and if it is required to kill the process simply by pressing Del button. All running processes are presented in the alphabetic order with detailed information about them (the process name, PID, used memory, the date and the time of launch, etc.).
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In general, it is not so scary, this Mac Task Manager, is it? But thanks to it you can more successfully deal with system hangs and, thereby, improve computer performance.

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This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with MacOS 10.10 and later. Requires 37.64MB free space, latest version 2.4.1(3173) Released 13th Jan, 2020

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