In which activity are you the most average

OS X Mavericks: Information about the activity monitor

Activity indicator

The activity gauge provides information about the processes and resources that are in use on your Mac. Each tab of the Activity Monitor window provides information about a different category.

CPU, hard drive and network

Select the "CPU", "Hard Disk" or "Network" categories at the top of the window to view the CPU, hard disk or network usage by running processes. These categories contain information similar to previous versions of the Activity Viewer, except that you can now view disk and network usage for individual processes. If you have an Internet connection with limited data volume and want to identify the processes that are loading the largest amounts of data, first click on "Network" and then on the heading of the "Received Byte" column to sort by this column.

Control of the displayed processes

The following options in the "View" menu allow you to specify which processes are shown in the activity display:

  • All processes
  • All processes, hierarchical
  • My processes, system processes
  • Processes of other users, active processes
  • Inactive processes, processes with windows
  • Selected processes
  • Programs in the last 8 hours

Each activity display category (CPU, memory, power, disk, and network) can be configured to display a different group of processes. The name of the currently selected view is shown in the title at the top of the activity monitor window.

random access memory

Click Memory at the top of the Activity Monitor window to view system memory usage and see the amount of memory that the active processes are consuming. This category replaces the previous "Storage" category in previous versions of the Activity Monitor.

The memory stats Free, Reserved, Active, Inactive, and Used in previous versions of the Activity Monitor have been replaced in Mavericks with an easy-to-understand chart called Memory Pressure.

The memory pressure is illustrated by colors:

  • Green: Memory resources are available.
  • Yellow: Memory resources are being used.
  • Red: RAM resources are exhausted and OS X is using the hard drive for storage.

Tip:If you get into the red area, you can free up memory by exiting programs. If necessary, you can also install additional memory to increase the capacity.

The graph moves from right to left so that the most recent memory usage value is shown on the right. Older values ​​are shifted to the left when the diagram is updated. In the example above, the working memory of the Mac was initially used heavily (yellow) and even completely used up (red). In the meantime, however, RAM is available again (green).

Additional information that is displayed in the "Storage" area:

  • Physical memory: The amount of installed memory.
  • Memory (used): The amount of RAM used that is not immediately available for other programs.
  • Virtual Memory: The amount of memory allocation requested by programs. This does not represent the actual utilization of the memory resources and the volume is determined by the developer of the program.
  • Used Swap: The amount of space on your hard drive that is used to copy unused files from the hard drive to memory and vice versa. It is normal to have some activity and it does not mean that your memory is used up. The working memory resources are not used until the memory pressure is in the red area.
  • App storage: The amount of storage used by programs.
  • Reserved memory: data that cannot be cached on the hard disk and must therefore remain in the main memory. This memory cannot be used by other programs.
  • Compressed: The amount of data in memory that is compressed to keep more memory resources available for other programs.
  • File cache: The memory marked available for programs that contains recently used files.

An example of how the file cache works: If you've been using Mail and you close it, the memory used by Mail is marked as a file cache. This working memory is now available for other programs. If you reopen Mail before the file cache is used (overwritten) by another program, Mail opens faster because the file cache is converted back to app storage and not all of the content has to be loaded from the hard drive .


Click Energy at the top of the Activity Monitor window to see how much energy is being used by open programs and background processes. This affects the overall power consumption of your Mac and how long you can use your portable Mac without the power adapter connected.

Energy requirements

The energy demand displayed at the bottom of the window shows the total energy consumption of all processes over a period of time. To find out how much energy individual processes consume, pay attention to the value that is displayed in the "Energy demand" column next to the name of the respective process. The lower the displayed value, the less power the process currently consumes. A triangle to the left of the name of a program indicates that it consists of several processes. Click the triangle to view details about the processes that are part of this program.

Average Energy requirements

The Average Energy Usage column shows the average energy usage for each process over the past eight hours or since the Mac was last restarted, whichever is shorter. Processes with names displayed in gray are not currently open. Nevertheless, you can see the average energy requirements of these processes. If you find that your portable Mac's battery life is getting shorter than usual, you can click the heading of the "Average Power Usage" column to sort the list based on that value. Processes with the highest average energy demand have recently consumed the most electricity. You can terminate these processes if you do not need them, or you can contact the program developer for support if the power consumption remains high even if the program does not appear to be working.

App Nap

OS X Mavericks includes a technology called "App Nap". App Nap ensures that supported programs have very low energy consumption when they are open but not in use. For example, App Nap can be used if a program is open on a desktop that you are not currently viewing, or if a program is hidden under other windows. You can determine if a program is currently using App Nap by looking at the App Nap column next to the name of the program in the Activity Monitor.

Change of graphic modes

Mac computers that support automatic graphics mode switching save energy by using built-in graphics options and only switching to a higher-performance graphics processor when the program requires it. The activity indicator shows "Graphics card: Integrated" when using the integrated graphics processor or "Graphics card: High performance" when using a high-performance graphics processor. Programs that use a high-performance graphics processor are marked "Yes" in the "Requires high-performance GPU" column.

"Battery" diagram

If you are using a portable Mac, the Battery graph at the bottom of the window shows you the battery level for the last 12 hours. Areas of the graph with a green background show times when the Mac was supplied with power from an AC adapter.

additional Information

For more information on how to use them, select Activity Monitor Help from the Help menu. You can also get more details about the column headings and statistics at the bottom of the activity monitor when you hover over the item you're interested in. If you leave the mouse pointer on one of these objects, a brief information sheet with further explanations is displayed.

For more information about memory management in OS X, see the Apple developer website.