How to Check and Lower CPU Usage on Mac

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Sarahi Johns

4 min read

If you find that your Mac is slow to start or applications are lagging, you may need to check your Mac's CPU utilization. In this blog post, we will show you how to check the CPU usage on your Mac.

How to Check and Lower CPU Usage on Mac

What is a CPU?

CPU, short for Central Processing Unit, is the brain of a computer. It interprets computer instructions and processes data in computer software.

The CPU usage will constantly change with your activities on the computer. When the CPU usage is close to 100%, you will find that the computer starts to freeze.

Keep reading if you want to know how to check the CPU usage on Mac.

How to Check CPU Usage on Mac

1. How to Check Mac CPU Usage with Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor shipped with macOS can help you monitor the status of every process on your Mac. Not only can you use it to see the usage of CPU, memory, and disk, but you can also use it to force quit the apps that are using the most CPU power. Here're the steps.

  1. Open the Activity Monitor via Spotlight or Launchpad.
  2. Click the CPU tab, you will see all the processes that are using the CPU power. check-cpu-usage-on-mac-with-activity-monitor.png
  3. Click the %CPU option to quickly view the processes that consume the most CPU power.
  4. To show the CPU usage on Dock, right-click the Activity Monitor icon on Dock, hover your mouse over Dock Icon and choose Show CPU usage. show-cpu-usage-on-dock.png

2. How to Check Mac CPU Usage with Terminal

Alternatively, you can use Terminal to check the CPU usage on your Mac quickly. However, this method only allows you to see the CPU utilization, and you don't know which process consumes the most CPU power.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open Terminal via Spotlight or Launchpad.
  2. Paste and run the command: top -l 2 | grep -E "^CPU", and you will see the CPU usage in percentage. check-mac-cpu-usage-with-terminal.png

Extra Tip: How to Check CPU Load on Mac Menu Bar

CPU load is the number of processes that the CPU is executing or waiting for the CPU to execute. As we said above, you should avoid a 100% CPU usage situation. BuhoCleaner Menu is a handy tool that enables you to monitor CPU load in real-time. When you find that the CPU load is too high, you can react quickly and then take steps to reduce CPU usage, such as killing CPU-hogging processes, disabling unnecessary startup programs, closing unused applications, etc.

How to Use BuhoCleaner Menu to Check CPU Load:

  1. Download the free version of BuhoCleaner and install it.

  2. Launch it and find BuhoCleaner Menu's widget in the status menu.

  3. Click on the widget, and you will see the CPU load. If you want to monitor the CPU load in the status menu in real-time, go to BuhoCleaner's Preferences and then tick CPU Load. monitor-cpu-load-with-buhocleaner-menu.png

How to Lower CPU Usage on Mac

1. Stop Extraneous Processes

With Activity Monitor, you know what processes are consuming the most CPU usage. The next thing you need to do is stop the extraneous processes.

Here're the steps:

  1. Highlight the processes you want to kill.
  2. Click the cross circle button at the top of the Activity Monitor to end them.

kill-cpu-hogging-process.png

2. Close Unused Windows and Apps

In Activity Monitor, you may notice a process named WindowServer. It takes a large part of your CPU resource. But to your disappointment, you can't stop it completely. So what is it?

Apple says that WindowServer is a single point of contact for all applications. The amount of CPU it consumes is directly related to the number of windows and apps you have open on your Mac.

Therefore, it's a good idea to close all the apps and windows you don't use.

Related Article: WindowServer High CPU and Memory Usage on Mac? Here's the Fix

3. Restart Your Mac

If your Mac's performance drops due to 100% CPU usage, a quick restart may fix your problem.

Just click the Apple menu and choose Restart.

Conclusion

That's it. It is easy to check and reduce the CPU usage on your Mac. If you don't want your Mac to run lagging, you should avoid the situation where the CPU usage exceeds 100%. BuhoCleaner Menu can help you monitor the CPU load in real-time, don't forget to give it a try.

By the way, BuhoCleaner is one of the best Mac cleaners. It can help you clean and optimize your Mac in a few clicks. Click the button below to have a try.

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