Top 4 System Monitoring Notification Center OS X Widgets


Notification Center in OS X Yosemite, just like iOS 8, got widget support. Veteran Mac users will instantly laugh it off. They’ve had widgets in the Dashboard for a good decade now.

But Dashboard widgets are ugly and completely dependent on web languages like HTML and JavaScript. On the other hand, Notification Center widgets are more integrated with the OS. This means they are great at system monitoring. And while there are great menu bar apps for this, if you don’t want an ever present reminder of system information, these Notification Center widgets will just be a left swipe away.

Note: To know more about what Notification Center widgets are and how to enable them, check out our write up on the default NC widgets in Yosemite.

1 & 2. Memory Diag & Battery Diag

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Memory Diag and Battery Diag are two standalone apps by the same developer. Each has a menu bar app and Notification Center widget. All you need to do is enable the Notification Center widget and forget about them. Because of the unique way Notification Center widgets operate, you don’t need to launch the apps or enable the menu bar utility to enable the tracking. It will just show up.

The Memory Diag by default will only show three stats. To show more stats, click the i button and select the details you’re interested in.

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The battery widget is simple. Perhaps a bit too simple. You’ll get details like how long your laptop will last on the charge, the source, health, and how many charging cycles your MacBook has gone through.

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If you’re willing, the Memory Diag app can help you manage memory as well. The app does a good job at emptying unused memory and pausing apps.

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When I used Memory Diag’s optimize feature, it paused Chrome, disabled a couple of other apps like iPhoto, and instantly freed up over 2 GB of RAM. I know OS X does a good job of managing memory by itself but if you’re in the middle of a Photoshop edit or processing some video, that 2 GB extra memory is going to come in handy.

3. iStat Mini


iStat Mini is the little brother of the powerful iStat menu bar app. As the name suggests, it’s a mini app. That means less functionality but also less cost. While the full app costs a good $16, the Notification Center widget is just $2. With this you get graphical representation of the most vital stats on your system. If you’re looking for on-the-fly information about your system, instead of in-depth specific stats, iStat Mini is for you.

4. Monity

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Monity costs the same as iStat Mini but takes a more focused and text based approach to system monitoring. Monity will monitor system usage, memory usage, network activity, battery status and disk usage. And even though it is text based, the actual widget is pretty condensed. You’ll get an overview of all the things I listed above in about half the Notification Center screen. Of course, the information will not be as detailed as the Memory and Battery Diag apps.

Are You Still Using Dashboard Widgets For System Monitoring?

Are you still using Dashboard widgets for monitoring your system? Or have you moved on? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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