Is there some equivalent (CLI or GUI) to Linux's /proc/$PID/environ feature?

  • 1
    Try ps eww <PID> in Terminal. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 16:40

4 Answers 4


You can inspect environmental variables of running process with

ps eww <PID>
  • 5
    Is there a way to pretty print this afterwards? Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 21:48
  • 1
    I'm on macOS 10.14.4 and this doesn't work for me :(
    – Tran Triet
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 11:14
  • 1
    It works for me on macOS 10.15.1
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 1:53
  • Still good in 2023 in freshly updated MacOS 13.5, thank you Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 12:52
  • On 13.6.3, both ps ewww and ps Ewww are no-go (only prints PID, TT, STAT, TIME, COMMAND), even if I sudo ps. Must be one of those securely obfuscated "security features". Gawd, they must have worked really really hard in Cupertino to make this OS even more unusable than Windows...
    – vladr
    Commented Feb 12 at 16:17

The following adds on to Mateusz's answer, pretty printing the variables one per line:

ps eww -o command <PID>  | tr ' ' '\n'
  • 1
    It's helpful and makes for a better answer if you explain what each component does.
    – Allan
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:15
  • 3
    If you're curious, explainshell can break this down. Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 0:35
  • 1
    This doesn't work if environment variable values have spaces in them Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 20:06
  • 1
    @LesHazlewood: It does "work" for environment variables with spaces in them, it's just completely useless because it is impossible to disambiguate. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 13:14

I have created the envps utility for this, based on Samuel's xproc code:

$ envps 607

You can build it yourself or install it using Homebrew:

brew install henrik242/brew/envps

See the function environ_from_proc_id():

  std::vector<std::string> environ_from_proc_id(NGS_PROCID proc_id)

From the specified PROCID, (typedef for DWORD / unsigned long on Windows, otherwise pid_t / int for Mac, Linux, and other Unix-likes), the function shall copy a vector of environment strings (NAME=VALUE) to 'buffer', and the amount of strings shall be copied to 'size'. This function is not thread safe, however the source may be modified so that it can become thread safe. Note that this uses an incompletely-documented structure on Windows, and in order for it to be able to read the environment block between (to and from) both 32-bit and 64-bit processes, it uses a method that is not as performant as the other platforms. It is built with secondary executables compiled directly into the initial one, which gets extracted to the Windows temp directory at runtime, and runs from there. Depending on the architecture of the target process's associated executable image, that will determine the architecture of the secondary executable to run. Wrote for Windows, Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD. Ubuntu / Debian needs libprocps-dev, also libx11-dev if compiled using the build*w.sh build scripts which include windowing code, (not the default). FreeBSD will need libX11 if built with windowing.

Or, compile from the source code using the build scripts (MinGW / g++ on Windows / Linux, clang on Mac / FreeBSD), then run from the command line passing the --env-from-pid pid command line parameters. Pass the --help parameter for the list of all possible options.

For convenience, example usage is in example.cpp (the actual CLI code): https://github.com/time-killer-games/xproc/blob/main/example/example.cpp#L80

  • 1
    Link no longer works. Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 22:46
  • 1
    @DanielWiddis thanks for the notification, I just fixed it. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 5:52
  • 1
    Excellent. Useful link, confirms information I've seen elsewhere but is more easily digested. I'd suggest you update your answer to highlight the key steps the code does (Call NtQueryInformationProcess, then ReadProcessMemory from the PEB, then the ProcessParameters and finally the Environment. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 17:50
  • @DanielWiddis this is technically the Apple stack-exchange, so I didn't want to go too far off topic with other platform solutions, but perhaps if I get another person giving me the OK, perhaps a staff member, I'll gladly add more details for the Windows-specific approach. I've already given a lot of off-topic info otherwise I'd do it now. Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 14:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .