While Macs stand for simplicity and ease of use, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect and you don’t need to monitor it. In fact, as with any piece of hardware, your Mac will last longer and perform way better if you keep tabs on some of its most important metrics, such as temperature, hard drive space, network status and such.
Usually, the most popular tool to monitor these aspects of the Mac is iStat Menus. However, the application, while excellent, can be a bit too much if all you want is to monitor just a few simple aspects of your Mac. On top of that, it also comes at $16, which is no small amount.
So instead, here we will take a look at a few great alternatives that are either cheap or completely free that you can use to monitor your Mac.
Let’s get started.
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Available for $3.99 on the Mac App Store, StatsBar is a Mac monitoring app that closely resembles iStat. With it, you can monitor your Mac’s memory usage, its hard drive status, the network and bandwidth usage, its battery (if you have a MacBook) and more. Additionally, StatsBar also allows you to free some memory on your Mac and to set a specific keyboard shortcut to summon it, as well as to customize its opacity.
In all honesty, there is not much more that you can do with StatsBar when compared to what Activity Monitor offers. However, its clean and simple interface and the convenience of being able to summon it with any shortcut easily makes it worth the price.
If you like to keep a constant track of everything that goes on with your Mac but think that Activity Monitor takes just too much screen real estate or that it is not simple enough, then you might like MiniUsage. This free Mac app is as simple as it comes, allowing you to see at a glance (and from your Mac’s menu bar) the most important data that Activity Monitor usually displays, with a focus on the applications that are currently running on your Mac and the amount of memory they take.
Of the Mac monitoring applications shown in this post, DesktopMonitor ($2.99 on the Mac App Store) is easily the most original and “geeky” one. Instead of being located on the menu bar or on the Dashboard, DesktopMonitor appears as a transparent overlay on top of your regular desktop, almost becoming a part of your Mac’s background image.
The app tracks the usual suspects: Fan speed, temperature, hard drive status, memory and such, placing all this information ready at hand on your desktop.
And there is your list. All of these monitoring apps are well within reach and each has very distinct features that will appeal to some Mac users. So there is no excuse now. Go install the one you like the most on your Mac and start tracking those important metrics.