macos - pro macbook have ido many How to discover number of *logical* cores on Mac OS X?

6 Answers

Even easier:

sysctl -n hw.ncpu
how many cores do i have macbook air

How can you tell, from the command line, how many cores are on the machine when you're running Mac OS X? On Linux, I use:

x=$(awk '/^processor/ {++n} END {print n+1}' /proc/cpuinfo)

It's not perfect, but it's close. This is intended to get fed to make, which is why it gives a result 1 higher than the actual number. And I know the above code can be written denser in Perl or can be written using grep, wc, and cut, but I decided the above was a good tradeoff between conciseness and readability.

VERY LATE EDIT: Just to clarify: I'm asking how many logical cores are available, because this corresponds with how many simultaneous jobs I want make to spawn. jkp's answer, further refined by Chris Lloyd, was exactly what I needed. YMMV.

To do this in C you can use the sysctl(3) family of functions:

int count;
size_t count_len = sizeof(count);
sysctlbyname("hw.logicalcpu", &count, &count_len, NULL, 0);
fprintf(stderr,"you have %i cpu cores", count);

Interesting values to use in place of "hw.logicalcpu", which counts cores, are:

hw.physicalcpu - The number of physical processors available in the current power management mode.

hw.physicalcpu_max - The maximum number of physical processors that could be available this boot.

hw.logicalcpu - The number of logical processors available in the current power management mode.

hw.logicalcpu_max - The maximum number of logical processors that could be available this boot.

system_profiler SPHardwareDataType shows I have 1 processor and 4 cores.

[~] system_profiler SPHardwareDataType Hardware:

Hardware Overview:

  Model Name: MacBook Pro
  Model Identifier: MacBookPro9,1
  Processor Name: Intel Core i7
  Processor Speed: 2.6 GHz
  Number of Processors: 1
  Total Number of Cores: 4



However, sysctl disagrees:

[~] sysctl -n hw.logicalcpu 8 [~] sysctl -n hw.physicalcpu 4 [~]

But sysctl appears correct, as when I run a program that should take up all CPU slots, I see this program taking close to 800% of CPU time (in top):

4306 top 5.6
4304 java 745.7 4296 locationd 0.0

As jkp said in a comment, that doesn't show the actual number of physical cores. to get the number of physical cores you can use the following command:

system_profiler SPHardwareDataType

On a MacBook Pro running Mavericks, sysctl -a | grep hw.cpu will only return some cryptic details. Much more detailed and accessible information is revealed in the machdep.cpu section, ie:

sysctl -a | grep machdep.cpu

In particular, for processors with HyperThreading (HT), you'll see the total enumerated CPU count (logical_per_package) as double that of the physical core count (cores_per_package).

sysctl -a | grep machdep.cpu  | grep per_package

Comments for 2 good replies above:

1) re the accepted reply (and comments) by jkp: hw.ncpu is apparently deprecated in favor of hw.logicalcpu (

2) re the 2014 update by Karl Ehr: on my computer (with 2.5 ghz intel core i7),sysctl -a | grep machdep.cpu | grep per_package returns different numbers:

machdep.cpu.logical_per_package: 16

machdep.cpu.cores_per_package: 8

The desired values are:

machdep.cpu.core_count: 4

machdep.cpu.thread_count: 8

Which match:

hw.physicalcpu: 4

hw.logicalcpu: 8