How to Check and Reduce Your Mac CPU Usage

January 19, 2022Ashley Mae

Mac performance will suffer significantly when its CPU usage is high. In that case, for some simple tasks, your Mac will take a longer time to respond, and even stuck. If your Mac is trying to do more work than it has the capacity for, especially when you try to run heavy apps, or do too many tasks at once, you are more likely to get a high Mac CPU usage.

How to see and reduce the CPU usage on a Mac? Are you face the situation that your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac has a high CPU usage even around 100%? Just keep reading and follow the guide below to check and lower your Mac CPU usage.

Mac CPU Usage

Part 1. How to Check the Current Mac CPU Usage

You can easily check your Mac CPU usage and performance through the Activity Monitor. This default Apple utility allows you to see the CPU usage, GPU usage, memory usage, energy usage, disk usage, network usage, and other useful information of a Mac. You can open it to identify the cause of high Mac CPU usage.

Step 1.
On your Mac, you can go to the Applications, click on the Utilities option, and then choose Activity Monitor. Also, you can use the Spotlight feature to quickly locate the Activity Monitor and open it.
Go to Activity Monitor on Mac
Step 2.
Hit the CPU tab to check all running processes on this Mac and the current CPU usage of each process.
Check Mac CPU Usage in Activity

Besides the built-in function to see CPU usage on a Mac, you can also rely on some third-party apps like Mac Cleaner to check Mac CPU usage, manage Mac storage, and optimize its performance.

Part 2. How to Reduce or Lower the CPU Usage on a Mac

How to reduce CPU usage on Mac? After you know the CPU usage of a Mac, you can use different methods to decrease CPU usage and improve Mac's performance. This part will share several useful tips to help you lower the Mac CPU usage.

Force quit apps to lower Mac CPU usage

You can easily force quit some unused applications to speed up your Mac and reduce its CPU usage. Similarly, you should go to the Activity Monitor window, locate the app you don't use, click and highlight it. After that, you can click on the grey x icon in the top-left corner of the window. Then click the Force Quit button to confirm your operation.

Force Quit App to Lower Mac CPU Usage

Restart Mac to reduce the CPU usage

Restarting is an easy and effective way to quickly bring your Mac to good condition. When your Mac CPU is close to 100 percent usage, you should shut down your Mac, wait for a few seconds, and then restart it.

Update apps and Mac system to optimize Mac CPU usage

If your Mac is always under a high CPU usage condition and responds slowly, you should check for available macOS system and software updates.

To update the Mac operating system, you can go to the System Preferences and then choose the Software Update option. During this step, you can enable the Automatically keep my Mac up-to-date feature. To check for app updates on Mac, you can open App Store and then choose Updates from the side menu.

Scan and remove malware to speed up Mac

To lower the CPU usage on your Mac and improve your Mac's performance, you should also delete caches, remove useless data, and erase malware, viruses, and others. You can rely on the all-featured Mac Cleaner to do that.

Mac Cleaner


Mac Cleaner - Optimize Mac CPU Usage

  • Monitor Mac status like CPU usage, disk utilization, battery, memory, and more.
  • Remove viruses, adware, malware, and others to decrease Mac CPU usage.
  • Delete macOS system junk, duplicated files, photo junk, iTunes junk, and more.
  • Delete system junk, caches, logs, old files, and more unwanted data to free up Mac storage.
  • Manage Mac storage, optimize Mac CPU usage, speed up Mac, and keep Mac healthy.
Free DownloadFor macOS

Secure100% Secure. No Ads.

As mentioned above, you can free download this Mac Cleaner and use its Status feature to check the CPU usage on Mac.

Getting started

If you want to speed up Mac and reduce the CPU usage, you can click Cleaner on the left and select different features to fix macOS issues, remove useless data, and optimize Mac's performance.

Main Interface

To get more useful tools, you can click the Toolkit. When you enter it, you can select a suitable tool to manage your Mac data, protect privacy, or speed up your Mac.

Mac Cleaner Toolkit

Extended Reading:

Part 3. FAQs of Mac CPU Usage

Question 1. Can I check my Mac CPU usage on the Dock?

Yes. You should first open the Apple Activity Monitor on your Mac with the method above. Then click on the red circle button to close the window. Right-click the Activity Monitor icon on your Dock, choose the Dock Icon option, and then select Show CPU Usage from the next dropdown. After that, you are allowed to directly see your Mac CPU usage on the Dock.

Question 2. How much CPU usage is normal for Mac?

Generally speaking, there is no specific CPU usage or standard that your Mac should have. The Mac CPU usage continuously varies based on your operations and running activities. You don't need to worry about the Mac CPU usage even it is around 100%. But you should not keep your Mac under the high CPU using condition.

Question 3. What is the CPU time on a Mac?

CPU time, which also refers to the processing time, is measured by the seconds your Mac CPU spends on processing certain tasks.


This post gives you a detailed guide to check CPU usage on Mac, detect the underlying causes, and monitor all the active/background processes. In addition, you can learn useful solutions to lower the CPU usage on Mac and improve its performance.

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Mac Cleaner box

Mac Cleaner is a professional Mac management tool to remove junk files, clutter, large/old files, delete duplicate files and monitor your Mac performance.

Free DownloadFor macOS

Secure100% Secure. No Ads.

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