Top 4 Fixes for Activity Monitor Not Showing Columns on Mac

Top 4 Fixes for Activity Monitor Not Showing Columns on Mac

Mac Activity Monitor is a useful tool for monitoring and analyzing resource usage, disk and memory consumption, and other vital performance indicators. You can use Activity Monitor to identify resource-hungry apps to get rid of them and optimize your Mac’s speed and battery life. So what happens when some of this data is missing in the activity monitor?

Fixed Activity Monitor not showing selected image columns on Mac

Activity Monitor is like any other app on your Mac. It is sometimes normal that the tool does not work properly. And speaking of malfunction, the most common with Activity Monitor is the missing column issue. There are times when you launch Activity Monitor and find that some or all of the columns cannot be found. If this describes your current situation, see the fixes in the next section to restore the missing columns.

Before continuing, you can try the forced-close activity monitor. If that doesn’t help, restart your Mac and see if the columns have been restored.

1. Resize columns and window

If the process name is the only column listed in the column title bar, the other columns are not missing. They were only hidden or pushed too far to the right. You can resolve this problem by following these steps.

I. Expand the Activity Monitor window

Click the green button in the upper right corner to show all hidden columns.

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2. Scroll right

Place two fingers on your trackpad and slide them to the left. This scrolls the contents of the activity monitor to the right, revealing the hidden columns.

3. Resize the visible column

Drag the divider or separator next to the Process Name column to the left. This will move and reveal the hidden columns.

2. Reconfigure the activity monitor display settings.

If some columns are still missing after resizing the columns, the problem can be easily fixed. Go to the app settings menu and make sure the missing columns are enabled. Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 1: Launch the activity monitor and click on View in the menu bar.

Fixed activity monitor not showing mac columns

2nd step: Then hover the cursor over Columns.

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Step 3: Finally, select the missing column from the menu.

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If the missing column is already checked but still does not appear in Activity Monitor, uncheck it and select it again.

3. Delete the activity monitor preferences file

This preference list (plist) file contains the settings and configurations of the activity monitor. If the file is corrupted, some activity monitor features may not work. Sometimes it could cause the app to crash or hang.

Deleting the corrupted plist file will refresh the activity monitor. When you relaunch the app, a new preference list file will be created which should restore the missing activity monitor column.

There are two different ways to delete the plist file. Let’s see how.

Note: Be sure to force close the activity monitor before continuing.

Remove Plist File from Activity Monitor via Finder

Step 1: On your Mac desktop, launch the “Go to Folder” window using the Command + Shift + G keyboard shortcut.

You can also press Go on your Mac’s menu bar and select “Go to Folder”.

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2nd step: Paste the path below into the dialog box and click OK.


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Step 3: Right click on the file named and select “Move to Trash”.

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Close the Preferences folder and relaunch Activity Monitor.

If the columns and column headings still do not appear, restart your Mac and check again.

Delete the Plist file from the activity monitor using the terminal

Step 1: Go to your Mac’s desktop and launch the Utilities folder using the Command + Shift + U keyboard shortcut.

You can also click Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.

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2nd step: Double-click Terminal in the Utilities folder.

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Note: You must properly close the Activity Monitor before deleting its plist file using the command in the next step.

Step 3: Paste the command below into the Terminal console and hit Return on your keyboard.

sudo rm ~/Library/Preferences/

After that, add your Mac administrator password.

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This command removes the activity monitor file and refreshes the application. Launch Activity Monitor and check if the missing columns have been restored.

4. Update macOS

Some Mac users have noticed that Activity Monitor has missing columns after installing earlier versions of macOS Catalina. Surprisingly, none of the solutions mentioned above restored the missing Activity Monitor columns until they updated their Mac’s operating system to the latest version available.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, we recommend that you update your Mac. Go to System Preferences> Software Update and download the latest version of macOS available.

Bring back the columns

We are confident that at least one of the methods mentioned above will solve the problem of missing columns. If the problem persists after trying all the recommended solutions, you should go to an Apple Authorized Service Center to have your Mac checked. However, if you have found a new way to fix this, then share it with everyone in the comments below.


Are you unable to close apps on your Mac because the Force Quit feature is not working? Refer to the troubleshooting tips in the guide below to resolve the issue.

Last updated on Dec 19, 2020

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