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How to Monitor Your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM Usage

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Monitoring your Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage is essential to keep it running optimally. Keeping track of their usage can identify potential issues before they become major problems.

You can use different tools to monitor your Mac’s hardware components. In this article, I’ve shared some quick and easy methods to monitor your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM usage. So, let’s get started.

Before We Begin

Monitoring your Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage is crucial to maintaining its the health and performance. MacKeeper can help optimize your Mac’s performance by clearing resource-intensive apps through its Memory Cleaner. Download and install now to improve your Mac performance. 

Understanding CPU, GPU, and RAM

Before we dive into how to monitor your Mac’s performance, it’s important to understand what CPU, GPU, and RAM are and how they affect your Mac’s performance.

  • 💻 CPU: The Central Processing Unit is the primary processing unit of your Mac. It executes instructions from software applications and handles all the calculations necessary for your Mac to function. A faster CPU can significantly improve the overall performance of your Mac by allowing it to process data more quickly and efficiently.
  • 🎨 GPU: The Graphics Processing Unit renders graphics and videos on your Mac. It works with the CPU to deliver smooth and high-quality graphics performance while gaming or using graphics-intensive software applications.
  • 🧠 RAM: Random Access Memory is a temporary storage your Mac uses to store data temporarily. It enables your Mac to access frequently used files and applications quickly. The more RAM you have, the more applications your Mac can run simultaneously without slowing down.

Now that you understand the basics, let’s move on to learn how to monitor your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM usage.

How to Monitor Your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM Usage

Monitoring your Mac’s hardware usage is crucial. It helps you identify any processes using too much resources, causing your Mac to slow down or freeze. Here’s how to monitor your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM usage.

1. Monitor CPU Usage via Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor lets you view detailed information about the processes and applications currently running on your Mac and how many resources they use.

This information can help you identify performance issues or resource-hogging processes and take necessary actions to optimize your Mac’s performance. Here’s how to use Activity Monitor to monitor your Mac CPU usage:

  1. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find it in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.
launch activity monitor from utilities
  1. Click the CPU tab to view the processes using CPU power.
click the cpu tab in activity monitor
  1. Click the % CPU column to sort the processes by CPU usage, with the highest usage at the top.
click the cpu tab to view each application s percentage of cpu usage
  1. Identify the process or application with high CPU usage on Mac, and take appropriate action to reduce its usage.

2. Monitor GPU Usage via Activity Monitor

By observing GPU usage on Mac, you can identify which applications or processes are GPU-intensive. This information is particularly useful when you’re running multiple tasks and want to optimize performance.

To monitor GPU usage on your Mac, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find it in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.
launch activity monitor from utilities
  1. With the Activity Monitor open, click Window in the menu bar and select GPU History from the drop-down menu.
click window and select gpu history
  1. This will launch a new window called GPU History, showcasing the utilization history of all GPUs presently accessible to your Mac.
gpu history graphs
  1. You can adjust the size of each graph by clicking and dragging the tiny dot between each one.

3. Monitor RAM Usage via Activity Monitor

Keeping an eye on RAM usage can help you understand which apps or processes are using the most memory. This can help if your computer is running slower than usual. If you identify a memory-hogging app, you can close it or look for a more efficient alternative.

Here are steps to check memory usage on Mac through Activity Monitor:

  1. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find it in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.
launch activity monitor from utilities
  1. Once you have Activity Monitor open, you’ll see a number of different tabs at the top. Click the Memory tab.
click memory in the top menu
  1. In the Memory tab, you’ll see information related to your RAM usage at the bottom.
memory pressure bar at the bottom of activity monitor
  1. You can interpret this data as follows:
    • Memory Pressure: A visual representation of the overall memory use on your Mac. Green means there is plenty of memory resources available, yellow means memory resources are available but are being tasked by macOS to manage memory more aggressively, and red means memory resources are depleted and macOS is using your drive as memory.
    • Physical Memory: The total amount of RAM installed on your system.
    • Memory Used: The total amount of memory currently being used by all of your running apps and macOS.
    • App Memory: The total amount of memory being used by apps.
    • Wired Memory: Memory that can’t be compressed or paged out to your startup drive, so it takes up RAM space until it’s done.
    • Compressed: The amount of memory in RAM that is compressed to make more memory available to other processes.

macOS manages memory very efficiently by itself, and high RAM usage doesn’t necessarily mean your system is running slow.

However, if you see a lot of Swap Used or Memory Pressure in the red, that would be a concern as it would mean that your system doesn’t have enough RAM to handle the current tasks efficiently.

Optimize Your Mac’s Performance With MacKeeper

Although MacKeeper doesn’t directly monitor your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM usage, it can help keep system resource usage in check. It provides real-time system scanning and cleaning, memory optimization, and the ability to manage login items, all of which can improve your Mac’s performance.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper to monitor and optimize your Mac:

1. Clearing Mac Memory

With MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner, you can free up memory without even having to restart your Mac. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to a faster, smoother Mac experience:

  1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
  2. Open Mackeeper and click Memory Cleaner in the left sidebar.
select memory cleaner under performance 6
  1. Click Open to start the Memory Cleaner.
click open in the memory cleaner 6
  1. You can see the occupied and available memory on your Mac. Tap the Clean Memory button to free up available memory.
click clean memory 6
  1. Once the memory cleaning cycle is complete, it will free up available memory and you’ll see how many GBs it cleaned in the last cleanup.
memory cleaned after a cycle 4

2. Clearing Cache and Temporary Files

Manually clearing cache on Mac can improve its performance but can also delete important data such as login credentials and website settings. So, it’s better to use a third-party tool, like MacKeeper that allows reviewing the list before deleting any item.

To clear cache and temporary files using MacKeeper, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  1. Launch the app and open Safe Cleanup from MacKeeper’s Cleaning section.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section 4
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan 3
  1. Select the files you want to remove or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all 4
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files 4
  1. This will remove the selected junk files from your Mac. You can click Rescan to repeat the process.
click rescan to scan the system again 1

3. Removing Unused Applications

Unused applications and files can also consume system resources, take up valuable disk space, and slow down your Mac. To remove unused applications using MacKeeper, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and navigate to the Smart Uninstaller under Cleaning.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar 9
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller 8
  1. Wait for the scan to complete and click Applications in the left panel and select unused applications from the list. Then, tap the Remove Selected button.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected 8
  1. Confirm the deletion by clicking Remove on the pop-up.
    click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller 7
    1. This will uninstall unused apps from your Mac, and you’ll get a Removal Completed message. Click Rescan if you want to scan your Mac again.
    click rescan in smart uninstaller 7

    What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

    Besides clearing cache, uninstalling apps, and clearing memory, MacKeeper can scan your system for malware, delete junk files, and remove duplicates. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about its features.

    Wrap Up

    If your Mac is still slow after clearing the cache and removing unused applications and files, it may be time to upgrade your hardware. Here are some tips to improve your Mac’s performance:

    • Adding more RAM to your Mac can allow it to run more applications simultaneously without slowing down.
    • You should always back up your Mac data before doing anything serious to your system. Otherwise, you may lose all of your data.
    • Beside monitoring your Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage, you should also clear your startup disk to improve its performance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Can monitoring CPU, GPU, and RAM usage improve my Mac’s performance?

      Yes, monitoring CPU, GPU, and RAM usage can improve your Mac’s performance. If a particular application is using a high percentage of CPU, GPU, or RAM, it may cause your computer to slow down or become unresponsive. You can identify such apps by monitoring and get rid of them in time.

    2. How often should I monitor my Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage?

      How often you monitor your Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage depends on your usage habits. If your Mac runs smoothly and you don’t do resource-intensive tasks, you don’t need to monitor your system resources often. However, if you regularly run resource-intensive apps or notice frequent slowdowns, monitor your system resources more frequently, like once a week or daily.

    3. What should I do if my Mac’s CPU, GPU, or RAM usage is high?

      If your Mac’s CPU, GPU, or RAM usage is high, identify the process or application using the most resources, and take appropriate action to reduce its resource usage. It may involve closing applications, upgrading hardware, or adjusting settings within the application.

    4. Can I monitor my Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage on a mobile device?

      No, you cannot monitor your Mac’s CPU, GPU, and RAM usage on a mobile device. However, you can use remote desktop software to access your Mac from a mobile device and monitor its resource usage.

    Hashir Ibrahim


    I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



    Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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