iStat Menus is a powerful, customizable system monitoring app for macOS. It lives in your menu bar at the top of your screen, giving real-time system stats. It can report on everything from CPU utilization and Internet speeds to SSD speeds and memory pressure. It’s tightly integrated with macOS both aesthetically and technically, allowing power users to deeply monitor every important stat about their system. Our iStat Menus review will cover the most important aspects of the application. It’s the type of program that, once you grow to love it, you can’t live without.
iStat Menus is likely the most popular program for monitoring your Mac, and that’s no surprise. It’s well organized, with a ton of mandatory features and a number of optional bonuses. From custom colors to a variety of system monitoring tools, there is a lot to love about the application. Even if you don’t have a deep need for system monitoring, iStat Menus is a great tool for troubleshooting and tracking your system health over time. Anyone who cares about how well their computer functions will get a lot of appreciation and use out of the application.
Monitor Your Mac with iStat Menus
iStat Menus allows you to monitor a ton of system features. You can monitor system features like CPU and GPU utilization, memory usage, disk speed, network speed and the temperature of various system components. You can also keep tabs on your battery health and charge level, create powerful custom clocks to replace the macOS system clock, and keep track of the current weather with a very attractive menu bar widget. Click on any menu bar icon to see a dropdown with a ton more detail regarding that specific system attribute. For most drop downs, you can also hover over any graph to see a detailed, hour-by-hour breakdown of that components data. Let’s take a look at some of what iStat Menus makes possible.
CPU & GPU
With the CPU and GPU tab, you can track your processor’s current load. Click the menu bar icon to reveal a drop down that lists the top five processes utilizing the CPU, updated as frequently as every second. You can view your system stats in the menu bar as a combined line graph, bar graph, pie chart or numerical value, depending on your preferred visual style. I’ve chosen the line graph for my own use, since I think that’s the most legible.
Hovering over the CPU or GPU graph reveals the component utilization over the last hour. The pop-up graphs are enormous and incredibly easy to read, allowing you to check on system load for events that might have occurred a few minutes to a few days ago.
The memory module allows for the same kind of graphs at the CPU and GPU module. Pop-up graphs are similarly informative, and you can actually track macOS’s proprietary “memory pressure” metric right in the menu bar. That’s much more useful than simply tracking how much memory is “free.”
Free memory isn’t a meaningful metric in most cases. You actually want your memory to be filled up, so it can be useful in opening frequently used files and programs. Of course, if you don’t have enough memory, that’s an issue. That’s what memory pressure tracks: the amount of “stress” your memory is under in the moment.
Time & Date
In addition to powerful system resource tracking, iStat Menus also enabled a extremely useful Time module. This is exponential more useful than the built-in menu bar clock, and not just because it can be customized. Clicking on the time pulls up a calendar drop down, a feature that has long been in Windows but has yet to make it to the default macOS clock.
If you need to quickly glance at a calendar, that’s incredibly handy. The drop also grants access to world clocks, for a quick heads-up on time around the globe.
While the weather module was only recently added to iStat Menus, it’s quickly become one of my favorite elements. The menu bar element is a degree measurement and an icon describing the primary weather condition. At night, absent any precipitation, you’ll see the phase of the moon. I’m no werewolf, but I still think that’s rad. If it’s raining or snowing, you’ll get custom icons for that as well.
The drop down is the best part, with an extremely attractive and well-designed weather forecast module. It’s like a mobile weather app built right in to one of the most useful system monitoring tools. You do need to pay a nominal fee for access to the weather data, but it’s well worth it.
Another new feature of iStat Menus allows for notification when your system hits specific conditions. Get a system notification when your CPU runs especially hot or uses too much of its capabilities, for example. You can also get a warning when your memory utilization hits a specific threshold so you can start to quit programs. It’s also possible to integrate the new weather module with notification, providing a system when the weather will turn bad soon.
Get iStat Menus with Setapp
You can get iStat Menus and a ton of other amazing apps with Setapp. With a subscription to Setapp, you don’t just get iStat Menus. You also get access to a ton of other value Mac apps like Merlin Project Express, Bartender, Gemini, Declutter, Disk Drill, CleanMyMac and many more. Learn more about Setapp from their website.
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