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how to check running process on iPhone or iPad

how to check the running process on iPhone or iPad.

Unlike desktop operating systems, iOS and iPadOS do not offer built-in ways to view processes running on iPhone and iPad. There are also no apps in the App Store that can help you check the inner workings of your device.

Read: 15 iPhone Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Device Running Smoothly

However, if you have access to a Mac, you can view the list of processes running on your iPhone or iPad. You just need Xcode.

Installing Xcode on Your Mac

Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) that helps you create software for Apple devices. It has a tool called Tools that you can use to view a list of processes running on your iPhone or iPad. You don’t need to be a developer or even pay to use it.

Xcode is available as a free download from the Mac App Store. However, you must have a Mac running macOS 11.3 Big Sur or later to download and use it. Xcode also requires at least 12GB of bandwidth and disk space to install, so you can free up storage space on your Mac before proceeding.

Open the App Store, search for Xcode and click the Get or Download button to install Xcode. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this may take several hours or more.

Setting Up Xcode Instruments

After downloading and installing Xcode, follow these steps to view a list of processes running on your iPhone or iPad.

1. Open the Mac Launcher and select Xcode.

2. Select Xcode from the Mac menu bar, point to Open Developer Tool, and select the Tools option.

This should download Xcode Instruments. It is a performance analyzer and visualizer that allows you to record the CPU activity of your iPhone or iPad (and a host of other things that we won’t cover here).

3. Connect your iPhone or iPad via USB to Mac. Then unlock your iOS or iPadOS device and click Trust (if you haven’t connected it to the same Mac before).

4. In the upper-left corner of the Tools window, open the menu next to Select Profiling Template For. Then hover your mouse over [your name] iPhone or iPad and select All Processes.

Note. If your iPhone or iPad is grayed out or “Offline”, disconnect and reconnect it to your Mac. If it still displays, remove your device, restart your Mac, and repeat the steps above.

5. Click the “Activity Monitor” icon and select “Select”.

6. Click the “Record” button in the upper left corner of the window. This should prompt the tools to record and display your iPhone or iPad’s processor activity.

Note. The tools may freeze as soon as you click the Record button. This is normal behavior and usually lasts up to a minute.

Viewing Processes in Xcode Instruments

Activity Monitor in Tools will display the CPU load of your iPhone or iPad in a visual format along with a list of running processes at the bottom of the window. If you don’t see the latter, press Command + 1 to switch to live processes.

The Process ID and Process Name columns help distinguish between processes. Additional columns such as% CPU, Memory, and CPU Time allow you to determine the CPU usage, memory consumption, and total execution time for each process. You can sort the processes by selecting the appropriate column. For example, if you want to check the processes that consume the most CPU resources, select the% CPU column.

Most of the processes are cryptic and reflect the main system functions in iOS and iPadOS. For example bluetoothd is the process behind the bluetooth daemon, which is the component that handles bluetooth devices. If you want to identify or learn more about a particular process, Google is your friend.

However, you will quickly recognize some of them, such as applications that run on your iPhone or iPad, such as Firefox is the main process associated with Mozilla Firefox.

Start using an iOS or iPadOS device and you will see a spike in CPU and memory consumption for related services and apps. If you force quit applications (more on this later), the corresponding processes will be removed from the list.

You can also track a specific process by holding down the Control key and choosing Add [Process] as the detailed filter option. Or you can enter multiple process IDs (see Process ID column) in the Detailed Filter field in the lower left corner of the window to view them separately from the rest of the processes.

When you’re done checking the processes on your iPhone or iPad, select the Stop icon in the upper-left corner of the Tools window. Then you can save the recorded action (File> Save As) before exiting Xcode.

Troubleshooting an iPhone or iPad

Using Xcode to see a list of processes running on an iPhone or iPad can also help you troubleshoot your device. For example, if you experience regular freezes and crashes, you may simply find the application or system service behind the problem. Then, you can perform the following fixes on your iPhone or iPad to fix common problems.

Force Quit Applications

If an application is constantly using CPU, memory, or both, the first step is to force shutdown. To do this, open the app switcher (swipe up from the bottom of the screen, or double-tap the Home button) and remove the app from the screen.

In Xcode Instruments, you will notice that the action actually completes the corresponding process. Then restart the app from the home screen.

Update Apps

App updates contain many bug fixes and performance improvements. If the problem persists, open the App Store and search for the app. If there is an update, you will see an Update button that you can click to update.

Disable background app updates

If the tools show that an application is using a lot of CPU and memory, even if you are not actively using it, try stopping it from running in the background.

To do this, open the Settings app, scroll down the screen, select the app you want, and turn off the switch next to Background app update.

Restart your iPhone or iPad

Restarting your iPhone or iPad can fix unauthorized system processes and memory leaks. For example, if Xcode Instruments displays very high CPU or memory usage for multiple applications and system processes (for no apparent reason), open the Settings app and choose General> Shutdown to turn off the device. Then wait 30 seconds and hold the side button to restart it.

Update your system software

The iOS and iPadOS update fixes problems with the system software in general. If you haven’t updated your iPhone or iPad for a long time, open the Settings app and go to General> Software Update to check for the latest updates and install them. If you run into problems, learn how to fix stuck updates on iPhone and iPad.

Reset all settings

Resetting all settings on your iPhone or iPad fixes problems caused by conflicting settings. If Xcode Instruments continues to be very active, open the Settings app and choose General> Transfer or Reset iPhone> Reset> Reset All Settings.

If that doesn’t get you anywhere, the next logical step is to wipe data from your iPhone or iPad and restore it to factory defaults.

Inner Workings

Xcode provides a great window with a list of processes that make your iPhone or iPad work, and even helps with troubleshooting. Admittedly, setting up an IDE on your Mac is time consuming and requires a significant amount of disk space. But if you have the patience and free space, it can be surprisingly fun.

how to check running process on iPhone or iPad

how to check running process on iPhone or iPad

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