How to See What Applications Are Running on Mac

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Have you ever wondered what applications are running on your Mac? Whether you want to keep track of your system’s resources or close any unnecessary apps to improve performance, knowing how to see what applications are running can be quite useful.

Method 1: Using the Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is a built-in utility on macOS that provides detailed information about the processes and resources on your Mac. Here’s how you can use it to see what applications are running:

  1. Open the Activity Monitor: You can find it by searching for “Activity Monitor” in Spotlight or by going to Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor.
  2. Select the “Applications” tab: This tab shows a list of all the currently running applications on your Mac.
  3. Sort by CPU usage (optional): By default, the applications are sorted by name, but you can click on the “% CPU” column header to sort them by CPU usage from highest to lowest. This can help you identify any resource-intensive apps.
  4. Identify and manage applications: Scroll through the list to see all the running applications. You can force quit an application by selecting it and clicking on the “X” button in the toolbar.

Method 2: Using the Dock

If you prefer a quick glance at your running applications without launching any utilities, you can use the Dock. Follow these steps:

  1. Look at the Dock: The Dock is located at the bottom (by default) of your screen and contains icons of your frequently used applications.
  2. Focused and open apps: Applications that have a dot underneath them are currently open and running. You can see which apps are running at a glance.
  3. Right-click for an overview: If you right-click on an application icon in the Dock, it will display a menu showing all the windows of that application, even if they are minimized or hidden.


If you want to quickly switch between applications, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command + Tab. This will bring up the Application Switcher, allowing you to cycle through your running applications.

Now you know two methods to see what applications are running on your Mac. Whether you prefer using the Activity Monitor or checking the Dock, these techniques will help you keep track of your system’s resources and manage your applications efficiently.

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