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See which apps are hogging your Mac's resources

Free Mac app System Lens demonstrates to you which apps are hogging system resources and permits you to quickly close any offenders.

Matt Elliott

August 22, 2013 5:18 PM PDT

Why is my MacBook so slow?!

If you have asked (or screamed) this question to no one in particular in the past, you will find there's free Mac app which can help answer it. System Lens installs with your Mac's menu bar and offers you a rundown in the apps you've got running, rating each for the amount of system resources it really is using.

(Credit: Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET)

When you click on System Lens' icon with your menu bar, you can see the apps you've got currently running having a Low, Medium, High rating. The icon itself informs you how stressed your whole body is -- one bar means overall usage is low, two bars is medium, and three bars means the situation is about to boil over. In settings, you can change the icon's bar-rating system to a numbered system. And should you (logically) take issue with running a different app so that you can better manage a slow system, you'll be able to check a box in settings to disable System Lens from intermittently taking your Mac's pulse, this means the app itself make use of fewer system resources. Lastly, if, like I did, you will find most of the apps have a Low rating, you are able to tweak the threshold to the ratings in advanced settings.

(Credit: Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET)

System Lens not only monitors your whole body, but it also provides a simple and fast way to shut any app that you deem an excessive amount a resource hog. Click on an app from System Lens' drop-down window with an X button can look where its rating was before. Click on the X to close the app. In my experience, System Lens is far more effective at closing apps than I am. Firefox, for instance, usually refuses to shut when I first ask it to, but System Lens closed it instantly. Same for bloated iTunes and slow-as-molasses iPhoto.

System Lens offers a free and easy strategy to monitor and manage the apps on your Mac. The only issue I found with the app is that it didn't always show all in the apps I had running, no matter if they were minimized or open and running immediately in front of me. Just for the ability to seal apps instantly, however, it's worth looking at.

Read the total CNET Review

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