Activity Monitor, macOS’s native task manager, is the application where all the processes running on the Mac are displayed. While browsing through the numerous processes utilizing your CPU’s power, disk space, and RAM on your Mac’s task manager, you may have stumbled across the term “WindowServer” and wondered what it is and what it does. This article will cover what WindowServer is, why it sometimes utilizes more CPU than required, and whether it is safe for your Mac or not. Let us begin.

What is WindowServer?


According to Apple, WindowServer is one of macOS’ primary processes. The process is responsible for connecting the numerous applications on your Mac and all their activities to the connected display. In simpler terms, it establishes a connection between applications present on the Mac and the display. Therefore, if anything is displayed on your Mac’s monitor, it is all thanks to the WindowServer process. Like all other processes, the WindowServer process runs quietly in the background while doing its job. Even though the process plays a crucial role in forming a communication channel between a Mac’s internal processes and the display, it should not utilize more than one-third of the total resources of the CPU. If it does, your Mac will slow down and become very laggy.

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How to View How Much CPU WindowServer is Using?


The Activity Monitor allows users to look at how much CPU the WindowServer process is utilizing and determine how to fix the issue. Here are the steps following which you can access the macOS utility and take a lot at the process’ statistics:


Step 1 – Open the “Applications” folder and click on “Utilities”

Step 2 – Open “Activity Monitor”

Step 3 – Navigate to the “CPU” tab from the menu.

Step 4 – Search and locate the process named “WindowServer”.


Once you find the process, you can look at what percent of the CPU it consumes, the number of active threads, GPU usage, and many other analytical aspects.

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Reasons why WindowServer Process Utilizes More CPU Resources:


If your Mac starts lagging or specific applications start crashing, one of the reasons could be WindowServer utilizing more CPU resources than it should. To fix the issue, there are numerous ways to reduce WindowServer’s CPU usage, such as disabling multiple virtual desktops or using third-party applications like CleanMyMac X to get rid of obsolete files. Before locking in on a fix, let us take a look at some of the most common reasons why it happens:


  • Too Many Unnecessary Applications Running in the Background


One of the most common instances why WindowServer hogs up on extra CPU resources is when too many applications are running simultaneously on your Mac. By closing unnecessary applications and shutting down processes that are not required, you can reduce WindowServer’s CPU usage.

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  • Outdated Software


Apple frequently rolls out updates and patches for macOS to ensure users have a bug-free user experience. Moreover, new updates offer optimized features that strain the CPU less. Therefore, if your Mac’s WindowServer process is slowing down your system by utilizing additional CPU resources, you should check whether there is a new software update available. If yes, install them and update your macOS. Once the new update is installed, your Mac’s lagging issue will be solved.


  • An Overcrowded Desktop


Another potential reason for your Mac being slowed by WindowServer’s extra CPU utilization could be the plethora of useless files, folders, and applications present on your desktop. Every time you perform an activity on your Mac, WindowServer refreshes all items located on the desktop. Thus, if your desktop is cluttered, the refreshing process will take more time, and as a result, WindowServer will utilize more CPU power than usual.

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  • Intense Visual Effects


One of macOS’s most popular aspects is its UI and appeal. The operating system offers tons of visually-appealing effects and implements them perfectly to appease the user’s eyes. For instance, the “transparency” effect facilitates users to look at blurred content behind open windows through sidebars, menus, etc. Implementing such effects takes a toll on the WindowServer process, and as a result, it utilizes more CPU resources.

Is the WindowServer Process Harmful to Your Mac?


No, the WindowServer is an entirely safe and secure process, and it does not harm your Mac in any way whatsoever. In contrast, it is a mandatory process that facilitates all your Mac’s features and applications to function smoothly and efficiently. Even when you are tempted to force-stop the process, you should not do it, as it may hamper all the other ongoing activities and processes and lead to your Mac crashing.

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WindowServer is an in-built process essential for displaying any activity on Mac’s monitor. Even though it utilizes enormous CPU resources because of multiple reasons, there are numerous ways to fix the issue.


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