Take a look at your Mac’s screen. What apps are running? Safari? Mail? Calendar? Those and probably half a dozen other Macs grace our screens all the time. What about what’s running in the background?
To check on everything else that runs in the background you’ll need to open Activity Monitor in the Mac’s Applications > Utilities folder. This utility application displays CPU usage, Memory usage, Energy usage, Disk usage, and Network usage. But which apps are using what?
Monitor The Monitors
Activity Monitor can be a bit confusing because it lists the apps you know are open– Safari, Mail, Calendar, perhaps Dropbox, the Dock definitely, Photos, and nearly everything else taking up residence, memory, and CPU cycles on your Mac.
What are all those others? Here’s a look at mine:
All those without identifying icons are background processes; probably spawned by macOS High Sierra or various applications. What are trustd, sfeventsd, CommCenter, symptomsd, configd, callservicesd, and many others?
Activity Monitor doesn’t say and you’ll need to use Google for awhile to find out. Or, you can try Process Monitor and get an entirely different perspective on what is running in the background and which application spawned its presence.
Using Process Monitor couldn’t be much easier.
Process Monitor segregates the processes running to show for which app the process is running. If the processes are unidentified, they will be marked as blank; if they are identified and description is available, it indicated in green. Also track down where apps are located on your computer. Get all details of apps running in the foreground and background from the menu bar.
What you get in Process Monitor is a different perspective on what is running in the background, which applications spawned the process (in most cases), and that lets you know what is happening on your Mac where you don’t normally look.
Nice, right? And free. While I don’t have an issue with a utility that adds a bit more information about what is running on your Mac, I do have a problem with the price tag. Wait. What?
What’s wrong with free?
Process Monitor is free to try but there’s an in-app purchase option. Unfortunately, that option– how much it will cost– is not displayed on the developer’s website, not displayed on Apple’s newly revamped Mac App Store pages, and not even displayed on the Mac App Store itself.
What’s with that?
Why is the in-app price tag being hidden? Not every Mac app on the App Store has this problem, but Apple has adopted the iOS App Store look and feel for Mac applications, and for iPhone and iPad, such details as the in-app purchase price is obfuscated. Where it was easily visible in the past it now requires a click on the app’s iOS App Store page to reveal in-app prices.
That’s wrong. Prices need to be clearly visible, and in-app purchase prices should not require an effort to find.
Fix that, Apple.