List Kernel Extensions with kextfind

kextfind in macOS kextfind in macOS

I’m traveling on business today and tomorrow, so will mostly be working and blogging from my MacBook Pro – hence possibly a few macOS posts in the row. Today I’m taking a closer look at how kernel extensions are managed and where they can be found in macOS.

Listing all kernel extensions in macOS

kextfind is another cool utility from the kext* toolkit of standard macOS commands. Run without any parameters, it will show full path to every kernel extension on your system.

IMPORTANT: by default kextfind shows you all of the kernel extensions, not just the active ones.

[email protected]:~ $ kextfind
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleEmbeddedOSSupportHost.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleSMCLMU.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelLpssSpiController.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOSkywalkFamily.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/BridgeAudioCommunication.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/ntfs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMD7000Controller.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelLpssUARTv1.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIRController.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleMultiFunctionManager.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOAcceleratorFamily2.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4030HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4050HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4100HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4000HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4700HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4070HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4200HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4300HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4400HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/NVDAStartup.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleMikeyHIDDriver.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleAPIC.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBECM.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleWWANAutoEject.kext
...

Listing Loaded Kernel Extensions in macOS

If we just want to confirm what’s currently loaded and used by macOS kernel, then run kextfind with -loaded option. Naturally, it will be a shorter list:

[email protected]:~ $ kextfind  -loaded
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleEmbeddedOSSupportHost.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelLpssSpiController.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOSkywalkFamily.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelLpssUARTv1.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOAcceleratorFamily2.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX4000HWServices.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AMDRadeonX4100HWLibs.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleAPIC.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBECM.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/KextAudit.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelLpssDmac.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleGFXHDA.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleImage4.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleActuatorDriver.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleIntelKBLGraphicsFramebuffer.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleCredentialManager.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleHPM.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/ALF.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleStorageDrivers.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTDM.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleVirtIO.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleSRP.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOHDIXController.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBMassStorageDriver.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext
...

That’s it today! Fascinating stuff – learning so much about inner workings of my day-to-day operating system.

See Also

  • macOS
  • How To: List Kernel Modules in macOS
  • macOS commands
  • macOS Catalina
  • zsh in macOS Catalina
  • Alfred 4 for macOS



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