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Being a Windows convert, I am looking for Task Manager equivalent for OS X.

Please do not recommend Activity Monitor, since it misses two important features of Task Manager:

  • per process disk i/o (read, write, other)
  • simple process description (like what is this 'mds' process? where does it live?)

Any suggestions?

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atMonitor is a more advanced Activity Monitor. It definitely fulfils the second of your requirements, in that it provides quite a lot of information about each process.

As for per-process IO, the only way I know is the command line tool 'iotop' which comes with the Mac. Open in an administrator account and type:

sudo iotop

There may be some debugging output as the program runs, but it should show the information you want.

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There's also a handy widget for your dashboard called iStat Pro. It's not the same as a task manager application but it does allow you to quickly and easily see your most interesting running processes (and a number of other useful stats about your Mac)

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I provided an answer to a similar question on Stack Overflow, and I find that using htop—a tool commonly used in the Linux world—is far better & clearer than the standard tools Mac OS X uses. My fave use is to hit the T key while it is running to view processes in tree view (see screenshot). Shows you what processes are co-dependent on other processes.

enter image description here

And if you have Xcode and related tools such as git installed on your system and you want to install from a source repository—such as max-horvath’s htop GitHub repository—just follow these steps.

First clone the sourcecode from max-horvath’s htop-osx GitHub repository:

git clone

Now go into the repository directory:

cd htop-osx

Run libtoolize and automake -f like this:

libtoolize && automake -f

Then run


Run this configure command:


Once the configure process completes, run make:


Finally install it by running sudo make install:

sudo make install
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