Is it possible to force more than 4 cores in the Dock, this looks like a feature apple does not want after checking out Mac OS X: Activity Monitor shows one CPU Usage graph on systems with more than four cores

On Macs with more than four cores, a single graph showing aggregate usage of all the CPU cores is shown in the main Activity Monitor window, in the CPU History window, and on the Dock icon when configured to show CPU Usage or CPU History.

If I want to use Activity Monitor is my only option:

To see the CPU usage for each core individually on systems with more than four cores, use the CPU Usage window or Floating CPU Window. These windows can be viewed by selecting them from Activity Monitor's Window menu.

Note: The CPU Usage window cannot be displayed if CPU Usage is being shown on the Dock. To stop showing CPU Usage on the Dock, choose View > Dock Icon, then select any choice besides "CPU Usage", such as "Application Icon".

Is there any way around this? With aggregated CPU view it could be harder to detect when a process is hanging or hogging a CPU thread.

Here is how my CPU history is displayed in the Dock:

Showing CPU history in Dock

Here is how My CPU usage is displayed in the Dock:

Show CPU usage in the Dock

Here are my other windowed / Floating options that I have available in Activity Monitor:

Showing my other Windowed / floating options

  • 3
    I'm curious what model of mac isn't showing all the virtual cores in the display. I know I've seen 8 in the dock recently - but I rarely choose to see single cores as the need to find a stuck single threaded process is low for me most of the time.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:19
  • Its a Mac Pro, everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/stats/…
    – MrDaniel
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:38
  • This is bizarre, on my MacBook Pro at work it is displaying 4 cores but my MacBook Pro Retina only shows one. I'll keep digging and post back if I find a solution.
    – user35787
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 22:27
  • @bmike any chance you would know what the equivalent top command would be to split out by core, I know I can do top -o cpu and in linux I can just do 1 to show are the cores.
    – Deesbek
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 3:50

3 Answers 3


There is a bug in Activity Monitor v10.8.0 (806). If you select Dock Icon > Show CPU History, is automatically closes the floating window and appears in the dock. If you attempt to switch back to the floating window, sometimes only one core appears.

Solution: - Close floating windows - Dock Icon > Show Memory Usage - Quit and Restart Activity Monitor - Dock Icon > Show Application Icon - Quit and Restart Activity Monitor - Monitors > Show CPU History

Now you should see all of your cores/vccores. :-)

This bug is not always reproducible, but I've experienced it before.


You can choose the option Show CPU history from the context menu which you get by right-clicking the Dock icon of the Activity Montior:

enter image description here

If your hardware or software doesn't show all the cores you wish in Activity Monitor, free tools like MenuMeters allow multiple CPU usage history to be shown in the menubar rather than the dock:

enter image description here

  • Wonder why CPU history in the Dock is not displaying as yours does?, see my screen capture above.
    – MrDaniel
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 17:34
  • @MrDaniel You have a Mac Pro with 8 physical cores, right? I 'only' have a quad-core i7 processor with 8 logical cores. Maybe that matters.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 17:50
  • 1
    Lol those dock graphs are border line boolean "CPU FULL THROTTLE" vs CPU idle, there's not much resolution :p
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 22:01

It's a really funny and stupid bug.

  1. Dock Icon -> Show Application Icon.
  2. Activity Monitor -> Windows -> CPU Usage. [It will show a float windows, maybe with only one historical bar, horizontally.]
  3. Dock icon right click -> Force close (or close).
  4. Reopen Activity Monitor -> Windows -> CPU Usage. [Now it should be eight horizontal bars, as I have 8 logical cores.] [!! CANNOT JUMP THIS STEP]
  5. Dock icon -> Show CPU History. [The float windows with 8 bars should close, and the dock icon should show 8 tiny bars.

!. This does not work for "CPU Usage", it's always one stupid vertical bar. !. You need to do this EVERY TIME you close the activity monitor process.


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