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macOS Big Sur: how to List Active Kernel Extensions

Sometimes when diagnosing problems it is best to see what’s under the hood in terms of kernel extensions.

Kernel extensions should be strictly minimized to only those actually needed. Avoid software that requires a kernel extension without a very strong reason.

Listing active kernel extensions3

Open a Terminal window (/Applications/Utilities), and enter:

kextstat -l

The list from the command above will contain all Apple extensions, and usually the concern is only the non-Apple ones. The following will remove all the Apple kernel extensions from the list:

kextstat -l | grep -v

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ kextstat -l  | grep -v 
Executing: /usr/bin/kmutil showloaded --list-only
No variant specified, falling back to release
131 0 0xffffff7f9b46a000 0x2f000 0x2f000 com.softraid.driver.SoftRAID (6.0.3) 83667FDA-C07C-33C0-AD91-12BD3B39E02C <30 6 5 3>
161 0 0xffffff7f9b385000 0x3000 0x3000 (1.3) 879F189F-F7E6-39DD-9E1C-7895B8EA540A <8 6 5 3>
198 1 0xffffff7f9b44c000 0x6000 0x6000 com.owc.driver.SATA-Command (8.1.0b16) 1E2E3172-9D8F-A67B-5F1C-63F0ADF947BB <197 30 14 6 5 3 1>
199 0 0xffffff7f9b454000 0x5000 0x5000 com.owc.driver.SCSI-Device (1.1.0b16) C2CA0C13-7FAA-BD13-1F8B-D484928C05DA <198 31 30 29 6 5 3>
200 0 0xffffff7f9b462000 0x2000 0x2000 (1.5.06) BEA96791-4055-392C-9CA0-F3C52E34FAFF <31 29 6 5 3>
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