I have an odd error that I have not been able to associate with an application or PID properly.

In Windows, there is Process Explorer with the very handy target function that allows you to click it and then select a window to find the owner process:

target selector

Is there a way to do something similar in OS X that will allow me to find a seemingly orphaned window's owner such as this:

orphaned window

I have terminated every single process that can be terminated with the window manager running in OS X and yet I can still not isolate the owner.

  • How did you figure it out in the end?
    – Daniel
    May 18, 2017 at 2:38

2 Answers 2

  • Download and install Xcode.
  • When installed open Xcode.
  • In the menubar go to Xcode > open Developer tool > Accessibility inspector
  • In the Access..Inspector menu go to Inspection > Enable point to inspect
  • Click on anything to see the result

It does not give you the process name, but it does give you the parent's application name

  • 1
    It didn't exactly work like that for me. When I clicked on the window, xcode was highlighted (not much else) but when I use Expose, then the name of the app was displayed on top of the window. Thanks @chris-eneman Accessibility inspector is the tool for the job :) Jun 28, 2018 at 9:10
  • 1
    I used this method to kill a window from the AskPermissionUI process that did not go away. Using the Accessibility Inspector, I was able to find the application AskPermissionUI in the inspector's Hierarchy tab, and then killed that app in Activity Monitor. Great tip - thanks!
    – nwinkler
    Aug 1, 2018 at 13:45

I was also trying to figure this out and ended up using the solution described here. It's a Python script which lists all the processes with all the windows that belong to them and their coordinates on the screen. So it is not as easy to use as the Process Explorer on Windows, but it can get you the answer your are looking for. It helps if you can move the window to a place on your desktop with easily recognizable coordinates.

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