I am unable to find any meaningful answer anywhere else on the internet.

You can maximize Safari to full screen. You can maximize Pages to full screen. You can maximize most of the general use native macOS apps to full screen. But you cannot maximize Activity Monitor to full screen.


I have a dual monitor setup and many times I'm running a program on one screen and want to monitor its use through Activity Monitor on the other screen. On clicking the green button, Activity Monitor does not go 'Enter Full Screen', but just 'Zoom's to use the whole screen.

  • With Rectangle you can at least maximize all windows.
    – Michael
    Dec 13, 2020 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Each application can opt in or out of full screen mode. From Apple's perspective, Activity Monitor is an "instrument", like a calculator or a multimeter, for example. You can test it on your machine - Calculator app also refuses to go full screen because it is just an instrument.

So the devs concluded that Activity Monitor is not something that users would want in full screen. Users would rather want it on the side while they are focused on the actual program whose CPU/Memory/Disk/Network activity they want to keep an eye on.

The section of human interface guidelines on design for full screen mode has this guidance:

Enable full-screen windows only when it makes sense. Full-screen mode is useful when a user wants to be immersed in a task, but not all apps require immersion. For example, some utility apps like Calculator work better with smaller windows that reside onscreen alongside other apps. When porting an iOS app to macOS, don’t assume the app must support full-screen mode in macOS

Perhaps, the utility aspect of this is prioritized so the menu bar isn’t hidden for people that wish to be immersed in the activity display.

  • 2
    Activity Monitor is a native macOS app. I do not understand the rationale behind discontinuing the Full Screen Mode for Activity Monitor specifically. Is there any UX or dev friendliness reason behind the decision? I could go full screen on Activity Monitor on earlier macOS versions. Cannot do it anymore since Catalina, IIRC. Dec 13, 2020 at 2:54
  • 1
    Finally! TY. This is exactly what I was looking for all these years. I'll go through the HIG page, but your answer is all what I needed. Dec 13, 2020 at 3:32
  • 1
    It's a nice answer, but too bad that guideline does not make sense any longer in a world with split screen functionality; you only need to want to be immersed in one of the two apps in split screen for both of them to require full screen capabilities. Without it you can't have the companion window on the side while preserving immersion in the main application. Ironic. They need to reevaluate that.
    – Andreas
    Dec 13, 2020 at 13:56
  • @Andreas: Interesting point. While in the split screen you have to have both screen maximized, split screen allows you to change the screen real estate distribution. You can use the slider and shrink the less important window so that you can focus on the main application. Dec 13, 2020 at 16:29
  • I love that Apple prescribes me how I wish to run an application.
    – MechMK1
    Dec 13, 2020 at 21:10

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