On my old Mac I have a CPU history icon showing single aggregate graph.

enter image description here

On the new Mac running the same OS version and having the same number of cores I can't seem to find this option. History only shows individual CPUs. In my size of icons it's not very useful.

enter image description here

I wonder if there's an internal unofficial setting to display CPU history icon as a single aggregate graph (like on the first image).

  • Check in: I'm running 10.13.4, i have 8 cores, and my Activity Monitor CPU History dock icon has a single graph. – l008com Apr 7 '18 at 1:03

Just a one-liner of ATrubka's solution for ones wondering how to edit the plist file:

defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor DisplayType 0

I finally figured it out myself. As I expected, it's an undocumented setting in the plist for Activity Monitor located here:


The following value has to be added manually.


I added it after DisplayStandardOnStartup attribute, but it probably doesn't matter as long as plist format remains valid.

UPDATE (adding full content of the plist file for reference):

    <key>NSTableView Columns v2 ProcessViewerColumns</key>
    <key>NSTableView Sort Ordering v2 ProcessViewerColumns</key>
    <key>NSTableView Supports v2 ProcessViewerColumns</key>
    <key>NSWindow Frame ExpandedWindowFrame</key>
    <string>1127 393 361 460 0 0 1920 1177 </string>
    <key>NSWindow Frame main window</key>
    <string>536 79 1048 953 0 0 1920 1177 </string>
  • My plist file already has that field and it is already set to 0. No dice. – BK- Sep 8 '18 at 3:27
  • It could be a combination of other flags. Let me add my full file (with binary part removed) for your reference. – ATrubka Sep 10 '18 at 21:19
  • Is there a full list of DisplayType settings? I'm trying to do the opposite (I have aggregate and want separated). – reukiodo Apr 18 at 20:16
  • Just experiment with different values. I don't remember what it was originally... – ATrubka Apr 19 at 22:40

This appears to be a bug, although oddly it is opposite of what you might think.

This Apple support page says:

The CPU usage and history graphs will display each core if there are 4 or less, and a single graph if more than 4 cores.

But later down it says:

In OS X Lion or later, the CPU History window will also show all cores when there are more than four cores.

This means your second screenshot is how it is intended to perform (I'm assuming your using Lion or above), even though it makes the graph unreadable.

I will admit this is a bit confusing though. On my 8 core system the history shows a single graph (helpful, but contrary to the text) while my usage shows 8 cores (not helpful, but also contrary to the text). It may be that the Activity Monitor dock icon is buggy in general for my version (10.13.4).

  • I believe there might be some hidden setting not available for UI editing. I could set it manually if I knew what it was. – ATrubka Apr 9 '18 at 4:26

I had this setting change as the result of an upgrade as well, but it's not necessary to edit config files manually.

The dock icon for Activity Monitor can be configured under View->Dock Icon.

I believe what you're looking for is "CPU History", what you currently have configured is "CPU Usage".

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