What Is kernel_task on Mac and Is it Safe?.what is kernel_task on mac.
Numerous system processes and applications run in the background as soon as you turn on your Mac. These processes have their own responsibilities and are critical to the proper functioning of your Mac. WindowServer, for example, manages important system graphical user interfaces (GUIs) such as the Dock and Menu Bar.
kernel_task is another essential component to keep your Mac running smoothly. In this guide, we will explain the responsibilities of kernel_task on macOS. You will also learn how this process works and what to do if kernel_task is consuming too many CPU resources.
What Is kernel_task on a Mac?
kernel_task is a vital macOS component designed to regulate CPU temperatures and prevent Macs from overheating. When kernel_task detects a CPU temperature spike, it takes up most of your CPU, thereby limiting the system resources available to the processes responsible for the temperature rise.
Overheating is terrible in all directions. So when CPU intensive processes are causing your Mac to heat up, kernel_task is hoarding CPU resources so that processes cannot raise the temperature further.
Is kernel_task Safe?
The short answer is yes. “You probably doubt the legitimacy of kernel_task because it consumes a significant chunk of your Mac’s CPU. That’s okay. However, it’s important to note that kernel_task does not act of its own accord. Instead, it reacts to the temperature of your CPU.
If your Mac’s processor gets warm, kernel_task is enabled to lower the temperature. This is indicated by increased fan activity (or fan noise) and high CPU utilization. So when kernel_task is making heavy use of your Mac’s processing power, don’t think of it as the devil. Rather, imagine it as an angel working hard to defeat the overheating devil.
By the way, you cannot complete kernel_task. It also proves the safety and legality of the process. It runs in the background because it is a very important macOS component that your Mac cannot live without. In fact, it is one of the most important components of macOS. Here’s the proof: launch Activity Monitor, click View in the menu bar and select All Processes, Hierarchical.
This will order all system processes and third-party applications according to the severity level. Activity Monitor will create a nested view of all processes and applications, with kernel_task as the main process, which other processes fall under.
When you click the drop-down button, the parent folder expands to display “child processes” or “sub-processes.”
kernel_task sits at the top of the hierarchy because it is the first process macOS starts when the Mac boots.
How Much CPU Should kernel_task Use?
There is no fixed amount of CPU resources that kernel_task should use. It will only use most of your CPU if the CPU temperature gets excessively high. In short, the CPU load of kernel_task depends on the temperature of your Mac.
Fix kernel_task High CPU Usage
Under normal conditions, kernel_task hides in the background, consuming minimal system resources. However, factors such as high ambient temperatures, temporary system crashes, overly intensive background processes, etc. can cause kernel_task to use insane processing power.
Follow the guidelines below to tune the CPU consumption of kernel_task.
1. Force close unused applications
It is normal for your Mac to get warm while it is running. The more applications you open, the harder your Mac works and the more heat it generates. This will also cause kernel_task to use more CPU power to regulate your Mac’s temperature.
So, the easiest way to reduce kernel_task activity is to close applications you are not using. Sometimes closing an application from the Dock or clicking the red “x” in the application window does not quit it.
Some apps remain paused in the background, consuming your Mac’s processor and battery power. Forcing an exit from unused applications will reduce the load on the Mac processor and, accordingly, reduce the processor load kernel_task. Review Activity Monitor and close any unused applications to free up some processing power.
- Launch Activity Monitor (Finder> Applications> Utilities> Activity Monitor) and select the application you want to force close.
- Click the Stop button on the Activity Monitor toolbar.
If your Mac has a Touch Bar, select the app and click the x in the far left corner.
- Click Force Quit on the Mac screen or Touch Bar.
2. Unload ports on your Mac
Plugging too many power-hungry accessories to one side of your Mac laptop can overheat the processor. If kernel_task supports high CPU usage, move some accessories to the opposite side of the Mac and wait a few minutes. This reduced the CPU usage of kernel_task for some MacBook Pro users on this StackExchange thread.
Let’s say you have an external monitor, charging cable, hard drives, and a mouse connected to a USB hub on the left side of your Mac. This will increase the temperature of the processor and, as a result, increase the activity of kernel_task. To fix this problem, lay out the accessories on the other side of the Mac.
This method is suitable for MacBook models with USB ports on both (left and right) sides. If your Mac laptop only has USB ports on one side, disconnecting unused accessories and devices may fix the problem.
3. Restart your Mac
If kernel_task continues to use excessive processing power, shutting down and restarting your Mac should fix the problem. This will update your Mac’s memory, close unneeded applications, clear the processor cache, and adjust the kernel_task processor usage.
Close all active application windows, click the Apple icon in the menu bar, and choose Restart.
4. Decrease the ambient temperature
MacBooks have built-in sensors that detect changes in processor temperature. According to Apple, the ideal ambient temperature for using a MacBook is 10 to 35 ° C (50 to 95 ° F). When your Mac’s temperature rises above optimal temperatures, sensors automatically turn on the MacBook fan to cool the processor. You will also notice a jump in the kernel_task CPU usage.
Make sure your Mac is not in a hot room or on surfaces that block heat, such as a pillow, bed, or under a blanket. Place your Mac on a flat surface and make sure the room has adequate ventilation – open the windows in the room or turn on the air conditioner. Placing your Mac on an external cooling pad can also help lower the processor temperature.
5. Reset System Management Controller
kernel_task may not work properly if your MacBook’s cooling fans are not working properly. If your Mac is neither warm nor hot, but the fans are running fast and uncontrollably loud, reset the System Management Controller (SMC).
The SMC is a component on your motherboard that controls your Mac’s battery, keyboard lighting, cooling fans, lid behavior, and other important sensors. The procedure for resetting the System Management Controller will depend on whether your Mac is using the Apple T2 Security Chipset.
To check if your Mac has a T2 security chip, go to Finder> Applications> Utilities> System Information> Hardware and select Controller in the sidebar. If the Model Name field does not contain an Apple T2 chip, then your Mac does not have a security chip.
Reset SMC on Mac Notebooks without Apple T2 Chip
MacBook Air and Pro models released in 2017 or earlier do not have the T2 security chip.
- Click the Apple logo in the menu bar and choose Shut Down.
- Press and hold the Shift + Control + Option keys on the left side of the keyboard at the same time for seven seconds.
- Press and hold the Mac power button while holding three keys in step 2.
- Hold four keys for 10 seconds and release them.
- Press the power button to turn on your Mac.
Reset SMC on Mac Laptops Using Apple T2 Chip
MacBook Air and Pro models released in 2018 or later do not have the T2 security chip. Shut down your Mac, wait about 30 seconds for it to completely shut down, and follow these steps:
what is kernel_task on mac
- Press and hold the following keys for seven seconds: Right Shift + Left Control Key + Left Option Key.
- Continue holding the three keys in step # 1, then press and hold the power button.
- Hold the four buttons together for 10 seconds.
- Release the buttons and press the power button to boot your Mac.
Reset SMC on Macs
Shut down your Mac and unplug it. Wait 15 seconds, plug your Mac back in, wait 5 seconds and press the power button.
Stabilize kernel_task CPU Usage
kernel_task is an essential system process that regulates the temperature of your Mac. The warmer your Mac gets, the more computational power is consumed by kernel_task. The above troubleshooting tips should help reduce the high processor load of kernel_task. If the problem persists, try resetting your Mac’s PRAM / NRAM.
What Is kernel_task on Mac and Is it Safe?
what is kernel_task on mac