My decades of Mac use have put me in the limelight in our suburban Atlanta neighborhood as the friendly geek with an opinion. That means my recommendations for Mac apps come with an inherent risk. Support for neighbors.
I could turn my former Windows-using-Mac-switching neighbors onto a few utilities or Terminal.app options to help them watch over their Mac’s health, but a little eye candy can go a long way. If you’d rather not wear a geek’s hat and prefer visuals you can trust then add iStat Menus to your Mac.
This little collection of utilities adds some peace of mind to new Mac users, and ease of use to any Mac user, regardless of experience. What you get are a bunch of basic utilities which are easily viewed and accessed from the Mac’s Menubar. Click and yee shall receive.
With a glance or a click you’ll see realtime CPU graphs and the top apps or resources hogging your Mac’s CPU. The Mac’s RAM memory can be viewed as a graph, and a click opens a menu which displays which apps use the most of the Mac’s precious memory.
The Network option shows a realtime graph of network usage, including the top 5 apps sucking up the most bandwidth. And, of course, there are options that display disk usage, S.M.A.R.T. status, and even disk activity.
Your Mac gets a little love from the sensor monitors, too, which track temperatures, fans, voltage, current and power, and fan speeds have controls. Likewise, iStats Menu watches over battery levels of trackpad, keyboard, and mouse, as well as the MacBook’s current batter state.
You can also hide temperature sensors you don’t want to see, and monitor the fan speeds in your Mac.
Finally, there’s a better date and time feature than the one that comes with OS X. This one does date, time, and calendar in the Menubar, including moon phase, upcoming events, and a world clock with sunrise, sunset, and moonset, plus time from over 100,000 cities on planet earth.
I’m not sure why that’s a critical system function but the eye candy is nice.
Granted, much of what iStats Menu does is just that– useful eye candy, and some functions are available in other apps, but the package makes it more useful than the sum of the parts, and if you wonder what’s going on inside your Mac, this is as good a way as any to learn without going all geek on your bad self.