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Is there a good bit of software on Mac OS X that I can use to monitor incoming and outgoing network activity? Nothing too geeky, I just want something simple to use.

I'm on version 10.6 (Snow Leopard) if that helps.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 39 down vote accepted

Wireshark is widely acknowledged as one of the best network monitor tools available. Distributions are available for OS X.

If you prefer something more simplistic you can use iStatMenus to show incoming / outgoing network traffic speeds.

For the person who doesn't want to install anything you can also use tcpdump in Terminal.

tcpdump -i [interface, en0 is ethernet, en1 is wireless]
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iStatMenus looks like the day to day winner, but I also appreciate the terminal command too for the quick/dirty way of doing it. –  xentek Mar 23 '10 at 8:08
Wireshark is a packet analyzer with delusions of grander. It doesn't give a good view of everything going on, but it's great for going through packets with a hex editor. –  vy32 May 26 '12 at 19:20
tcpdump is what I need here - for some reason, Private Eye wasn't showing me FTPS passive connections, but tcpdump did. –  khedron Jun 6 '12 at 21:00

Commercial (16$) iStat Pro and iStat Menus (dashboard widget and menu bar item respectively) are great for monitoring everything from network activity to CPU temperatures.

And of course there's the network tab of Activity Monitor.

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+1 For mentioning Activity Monitor. For anyone with casual requirements who just needs to know their up/down speed this is a great solution, and it ships free with OS X. –  Jonathan Nicol Jul 1 '14 at 9:55

LittleSnitch! - 30$

It is mainly a software Firewall that may help you to prevent some apps to access the internet. It also has a nice menubar icon with live network usage. Mouseover on it and it displays which app is communicating with which server or ip address.

I have LittleSnitch and iStat Menus installed. Both are complementary.

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LittleSnitch will be a pain in the ass unless you're explicitly blocking stolen / cracked programs from calling home. Also the menu item is not nearly as informative as iStat. You'd have to open up the Network Monitor screen to get any benefit. –  Josh K Mar 23 '10 at 17:50
Well, there is a lot of programs that are calling home and should not. If you are a bit concerned about security you will understand what I mean. The LittleSnitch's mouseouver pop-up is also great for showing realtime process-host network activity. But yes, it is not as informative as iStat. That's why i use both. –  Arko Mar 24 '10 at 9:05

Also look at MenuMeters. I tried iStat Menus & MenuMeters and preferred MM. Not saying one is better; just that there are a couple of choices.

enter image description here

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+1. MenuMeters beats iStat Menus anyday. –  cOle2 Apr 8 '10 at 14:52
MM is also open-source. –  Ash Mar 24 '14 at 20:51
Light, functional and open-source application. What more can we ask? :) –  Henrique de Sousa Jul 4 at 12:56

I've just installed Net Monitor and Net Monitor Sidekick and so far I like them. Nothing you can't get with other tools, but a nice summary display. Each is $10 after a 30 day eval, so YMMV, but I thought I'd mention them.

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/System/Library/CoreServices/Network Diagnostics Simple green/red LEDs for various layers. I slide it over to the right side of the screen until just the lights show.

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Tempted to downvote... How does this help "monitor incoming and outgoing network activity"? (If it does, please let me know; I'd love to use it!) –  rinogo Aug 7 '14 at 4:34

You need an SNMP-enabled or UPnP-enabled router but you could give PeakHour a try. The best thing is that it monitors usage of your whole Internet connection, not just the computer you're on - useful if you have a few devices on your network.

Not only that, you can configure it to monitor as many devices/interfaces as you want. This makes it great for monitoring not just your Internet but also WiFi, NAS, servers any other device that supports SNMP or UPnP.

enter image description here


Features include:

  • Full support for SNMP-enabled and UPnP-enabled devices include Apple Airport Express/Extreme
  • Lives in your menubar
  • Configurable UI
  • Minigraph shows you recent activity at a glance
  • Totals your bandwidth over the month; great for monitoring your usage if your ISP has data caps.
  • Intelligent detection of max in and outbound bandwidth.
  • Configuration Assistant to make it really easy to setup.
  • Retina-ready.
  • Lots more.

One thing: We're provided a free compatibility tool that tests your devices to make sure they are compatible. It's available here.

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Welcome to Super User. You're welcome to tell other people about your software in an answer. But, please have a look at our recommendation guidelines: meta.superuser.com/questions/5329/… –  Oliver Salzburg Aug 19 '12 at 15:08

Also check out nettop, a little command line gem that ships with Mac OS.

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There is a useful 'delta output' mode which can be toggled with the 'd' key while app is running. It will show you the actual download/upload rates per second per connection. –  Anton Matosov Sep 5 '14 at 4:54

Network Logger for Mac OS X from Group Mind does a great job of tracking network traffic, downtime (in real time, with timed log), and lots of easy-to-understand stuff. I'm not technical and all I really wanted was to track when my ISP connection went down, and for how long it stayed down. Mac's little Network Utility app would ping endlessly but wouldn't give me a chronological log. Network Logger did, and was easy for a novice to understand.

Cost me $5.99 from the App Store.

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Good first post. To round out your answer perhaps you could include a link to the app and a screenshot? Just a thought. –  slm Jan 7 '13 at 4:29

protected by Community Jan 22 '13 at 2:34

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