Mac System Monitor Menu Bar App

Mac System Monitor Menu Bar App Average ratng: 5,0/5 1810 reviews
  1. Mac System Monitor Bar
  2. Mac Menu Bar
  3. Mac Cpu Monitor Menu Bar
  4. Mac Menu Bar Settings
  • An advanced Mac system monitor for your menubar, with CPU, GPU, memory, network, disk usage, disk activity, temperatures, fans, battery info and more. Apps Articles.
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  • Aug 06, 2019  iStat Menus is a menu bar application that can show all your system statuses and send you notifications to tell you what’s going on with your system. What Is iStat Menus? IStat Menus is a powerful system monitor that once installed, can be accessed from the menu bar on your Mac. It allows you to monitor lots of system features such as CPU, GPU, memory, network status, battery health,.

Menu Bar apps sit in your Mac’s menu bar and provide access to an array of features and services, all with just a simple click or tap of the app’s menu bar icon. They can bring additional productivity, utility, or security, or add useful information to your Mac’s menu bar.

The basic menu bar with Apple-supplied menu items shown.

Our list of 15 menu bar apps is by no means all-inclusive; there are so many apps available that it would take quite a while to combine them into a single list. Instead, I’ve gathered a list of menu bar apps that I’ve either used or are popular in the Mac community, and are worth trying out.

Let’s start our list of favorite menu bar apps with ones that enhance your productivity.


To adjust the Mac’s built-in date and time options, launch System Preferences. In the Date & Time pane, select the Clock tab. When Show date and time in menu bar is checked, the macOS clock displays in the menu bar. This digital clock includes the day of the week; depending on your region settings, it will use 12- or 24-hour time.

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Yes, your Mac comes with its own Calendar app, which does a pretty good job of keeping track of dates and notifying you of upcoming events. But to add, edit, and view the calendars, the app needs to be running. That’s where menu bar-based calendar apps shine, letting you work with your calendars directly from the menu bar.


Currently at version 2, Fantastical started life as strictly a menu bar app but has grown into a full-fledged Mac app. Thankfully, the folks who make Fantastical didn’t abandon the menu bar; version 2 has all the original benefits of a lightweight menu bar app, as well as the power of a full app when you need it.

Fantastical provides easy access to your current calendar and upcoming events.

Fantastical supports multiple calendars, and calendar sets, which can automatically switch their active/inactive states depending on your location. This lets you set up calendars for work as well as home, and automatically switch between them.

• Fantastical 2 is $49.99, with a 21-day free trial.


If the Mac’s Calendar app is performing well for you, and the feature you’re really missing is access to Calendar from the menu bar, Itsycal is the menu bar app for you. Itsycal can display a monthly view of your Calendar app’s information, including showing events that are scheduled. If you need additional information, you can open the Calendar app directly from Itsycal.

• Itsycal is free.

Contact Managers

There are a number of contact managers for the Mac but most are full-fledged apps, with only minimal, if any, menu bar support. One of the exceptions is the app below.


Cardhop is the preferred way to access, edit, add to, and just work with the Mac’s Contacts app. For many Mac and iOS device users, Cardhop is the only method they use to manage their contacts; that’s how powerful this menu bar app is.

Cardhop can show upcoming events and recent contacts, as well as all of the cards in the Mac’s Contacts app.

Cardhop makes use of a powerful search capability that allows you to find contact information based on just about any detail that may be present in a contacts card. Search by name, address, birth date, or any criteria; it’s as easy as clicking or tapping the Cardhop menu bar item and starting to type. Cardhop will display any matching cards it finds.

Adding or editing contacts is just as easy; just enter the name and details and Cardhop takes care of the rest. Cardhop also includes the ability to add note fields, to enter personal details about your contact, and a timestamp field to create a history of your contacts.

One of the best features of Cardhop is its ability to act on a contact you select. If you need to send an email or make a phone call, Cardhop can launch the appropriate app to send an email or connect to your Bluetooth phone, use Wi-Fi calling, or get the macOS Continuity feature to make calls for you.

• Cardhop is $19.99 and is available with a 21-day free trial.

System Utilities

Menu bar-based system utilities have a tendency to overpopulate my menu bar. It seems the techie in me wants to know how my Mac’s resources are being used any time I’m using it. There are a number of system menu bar apps, but here are a few of my favorites.

iStat Menus

This system utility will place a number of items in your menu bar to monitor the performance of your Mac. You can keep track of CPU and GPU performance, memory usage, disk access, and network usage; there’s also a large array of built-in system sensors, including various temperature, voltage, current, and wattage readings, You can even measure ambient light levels, if your Mac is properly equipped.

The compact menu bar menus in iStat Menus can reveal details about how your Mac is performing.

iStat Menus can monitor just about every aspect of your Mac’s performance and do it without taking up too much of your menu bar’s real estate.

• iStat Menus is available for $11.99 for a single Mac, or $14.99 for a 5-user family pack. A 14-day free trial is available.


The original MenuMeters was a handy menu bar system monitor by Alex Harper that stopped working when OS X El Capitan was introduced. Since then, the original open source app has been forked by various developers, to accommodate the newer versions of the Mac OS. This version works with OS X El Capitan through macOS Mojave.

MenuMeters installs as a preference pane that allows you to specify how each item (CPU, Disk, Memory, and Network) should be displayed in the menu bar. You can control the type of information displayed, update intervals, and in some cases, the colors to be used.

• MenuMeters is free.

Memory Clean

Unlike the other system monitor utilities in this group, Memory Clean is dedicated to monitoring a Mac’s memory. It can keep track of memory usage, how memory is being used, which apps are memory hogs, and which apps are inactive but still tying up memory.

Keeping track of how your memory is being used is one of the many tasks Memory Clean can perform for you.Mac

Additionally, Memory Clean can also purge inactive memory, freeing up RAM that was set aside for apps that are no longer running.

• Memory Clean, currently at version 3, is $9.99. A free trial is available.

Mac Fan Control

This menu bar app can monitor the temperature sensors built into your Mac. But it doesn’t stop there; Mac Fan Control can use the temperature information to control the speed of your Mac’s fans.

You can set a constant fan speed, or assign one of the temperature sensors to be used to regulate a fan’s speed.

Mac Fan Control is a great way to silence a noisy fan momentarily while you perform a critical task, such as recording from a microphone that is located near your Mac. It’s also commonly used to set a fan’s speed when a temperature sensor was broken during an upgrade or tear down that went awry.

• Mac Fan Control is $14.95; a free trial period is available.


One of the new features of the macOS was Night Shift, a system that reduces blue light from the display as the evening approaches. The idea is to enhance your sleep cycle by reducing blue light output from a digital display that can interfere with your natural circadian rhythm.

The f.lux app has been providing the same type of capabilities for a lot longer and may be in a better position to provide a better implementation. The f.lux system provides more control to the user and does a better job of reducing blue spectrum output of a display in the evening.

If you need a better night’s sleep after working on your Mac all day, give f.lux a look-see.

• f.lux is free.

Battery Monitors

Mac laptop users need a reliable way to monitor their Mac’s battery to help them stay informed about the current state of the battery, how much run-time is left, and the overall health of the battery.


This battery monitor has been a Mac staple since 2005. Since then, coconutBattery has branched out to provide battery-monitoring services to the iPhone and iPad, as well as the Mac.

coconutBattery displays your current battery health, how often the battery was charged, the age of the battery, current charge, original and current capacity, battery temperature, and much more.

• coconutBattery is available in a free basic version and a Plus version for $9.95.

Battery Health

Understanding how well your battery is performing is one of the goals of the Battery Health app, but it can also help you prolong the battery’s runtime and longevity.

Battery Health displays the usual battery details: current battery health, capacity, charging cycles, battery temperature, age, manufacture date, the remaining charge on the battery, and how long it will take to fully charge the battery. It can also help you increase the battery runtime by showing you which apps are using the most energy.

Battery Health can also display the battery levels of connected Bluetooth devices, such as your Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, or AirPod.

Battery Health also works for iPhone and iPad devices.

• Battery Health is $9.99; a 3-day free trial is available.


There are quite a few apps for detecting malware that utilize the menu bar. But in many cases, the menu bar is used to launch the associated app. So, instead of listing those security apps, I went with a favorite password manager.


This password manager has long been a popular Mac app for creating and managing all of a user’s passwords. It provides access via the included full-featured app as well as from the menu bar, and from most Mac web browsers.

Let 1Password manage your logins and passwords, freeing you to use complex passwords for increased security.

The 1Password web extension can handle most of your web-based login and password needs, but with the addition of the menu bar interface, 1Password can be used with any app as well as any web page, even when a web page hinders the use of a password manager.

1Password can generate complex passwords for you and make sure you’re not using duplicate passwords. Since 1Password is storing the passwords and login information for you in an encrypted database, you don’t need to worry about remembering every password, 1Password takes care of that for you.

• 1Password is available for single users and a 5-user family license, as well as business licenses. A free 30-day trial is available.

File Access

If your Mac is getting a little weighed down with apps and files, either of these file access apps can help you find everything faster.


This simple little app adds one or more menu items to the menu bar; each menu bar item can be populated with apps, folders, documents, or text snippets.

• XMenu is free and available from the Mac App Store.

Shortcut Bar

Another menu bar app designed to give you quick access to your favorite items, including apps, documents, folders, bookmarks, text snippets, and color swatches.

Shortcut Bar lets you create your own list of important locations and documents that you want to have quick access to.

Items can be organized into groups that can be expanded or hidden as needed – a helpful feature when your Shortcut Bar gets a bit overpopulated.

• Shortcut Bar is $8.99; a free trial is available.


In the Weather and Menu Bar Utility categories, I only found one app for each that’s worthy of mention.


There have been quite a few weather widgets for the menu bar, but for me, Meteorologist stands out because of the details it can provide and the community of developers/supporters that keep the app up to date. Meteorologist supports up to eight different locations that can use one of nine different weather services, letting you pick the best service for your location.

Mac System Monitor Bar

Menu Bar Utility


Now that you’ve likely overpopulated your Mac’s menu bar, you may find yourself needing a bartender; by that I mean an app named Bartender that can manage all those menu bar icons.

Bartender can organize, rearrange, and hide or show items. It can also automatically highlight menu bar icons when they update, such as battery alerts, memory filling up, or other notifications a menu bar app may support.

• Bartender is $15.00; a free 4-week trial is available.

What’s Your Favorite Menu Bar App?

Let us know which menu bar apps you use, or which ones you don’t like, by using the comments section below.

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This article describes some of the commonly used features of Activity Monitor, a kind of task manager that allows you see how apps and other processes are affecting your CPU, memory, energy, disk, and network usage.

Open Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.


The processes shown in Activity Monitor can be user apps, system apps used by macOS, or invisible background processes. Use the five category tabs at the top of the Activity Monitor window to see how processes are affecting your Mac in each category.

Add or remove columns in each of these panes by choosing View > Columns from the menu bar. The View menu also allows you to choose which processes are shown in each pane:

  • All Processes
  • All Processes Hierarchically: Processes that belong to other processes, so you can see the parent/child relationship between them.
  • My Processes: Processes owned by your macOS user account.
  • System Processes: Processes owned by macOS.
  • Other User Processes: Processes that aren’t owned by the root user or current user.
  • Active Processes: Running processes that aren’t sleeping.
  • Inactive Processes: Running processes that are sleeping.
  • Windowed Processes: Processes that can create a window. These are usually apps.
  • Selected Processes: Processes that you selected in the Activity Monitor window.
  • Applications in the last 8 hours: Apps that were running processes in the last 8 hours.


The CPU pane shows how processes are affecting CPU (processor) activity:

Click the top of the “% CPU” column to sort by the percentage of CPU capability used by each process. This information and the information in the Energy pane can help identify processes that are affecting Mac performance, battery runtime, temperature, and fan activity.

More information is available at the bottom of the CPU pane:

  • System: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by system processes, which are processes that belong to macOS.
  • User: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by apps that you opened, or by the processes those apps opened.
  • Idle: The percentage of CPU capability not being used.
  • CPU Load: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by all System and User processes. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The color blue shows the percentage of total CPU capability currently used by user processes. The color red shows the percentage of total CPU capability currently used by system processes.
  • Threads: The total number of threads used by all processes combined.
  • Processes: The total number of processes currently running.

You can also see CPU or GPU usage in a separate window or in the Dock:

  • To open a window showing current processor activity, choose Window > CPU Usage. To show a graph of this information in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show CPU Usage.
  • To open a window showing recent processor activity, choose Window > CPU History. To show a graph of this information in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show CPU History.
  • To open a window showing recent graphics processor (GPU) activity, choose Window > GPU History. Energy usage related to such activity is incorporated into the energy-impact measurements in the Energy tab of Activity Monitor.


The Memory pane shows information about how memory is being used:

More information is available at the bottom of the Memory pane:

  • Memory Pressure: The Memory Pressure graph helps illustrate the availability of memory resources. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The current state of memory resources is indicated by the color at the right side of the graph:
    • Green: Memory resources are available.
    • Yellow: Memory resources are still available but are being tasked by memory-management processes, such as compression.
    • Red: Memory resources are depleted, and macOS is using your startup drive for memory. To make more RAM available, you can quit one or more apps or install more RAM. This is the most important indicator that your Mac may need more RAM.
  • Physical Memory: The amount of RAM installed in your Mac.
  • Memory Used: The total amount of memory currently used by all apps and macOS processes.
    • App Memory: The total amount of memory currently used by apps and their processes.
    • Wired Memory: Memory that can’t be compressed or paged out to your startup drive, so it must stay in RAM. The wired memory used by a process can’t be borrowed by other processes. The amount of wired memory used by an app is determined by the app's programmer.
    • Compressed: The amount of memory in RAM that is compressed to make more RAM memory available to other processes. Look in the Compressed Mem column to see the amount of memory compressed for each process.
  • Swap Used: The space used on your startup drive by macOS memory management. It's normal to see some activity here. As long as memory pressure is not in the red state, macOS has memory resources available.
  • Cached Files: Memory that was recently used by apps and is now available for use by other apps. For example, if you've been using Mail and then quit Mail, the RAM that Mail was using becomes part of the memory used by cached files, which then becomes available to other apps. If you open Mail again before its cached-files memory is used (overwritten) by another app, Mail opens more quickly because that memory is quickly converted back to app memory without having to load its contents from your startup drive.

For more information about memory management, refer to the Apple Developer website.


The Energy pane shows overall energy use and the energy used by each app:

  • Energy Impact: A relative measure of the current energy consumption of the app. Lower numbers are better. A triangle to the left of an app's name means that the app consists of multiple processes. Click the triangle to see details about each process.
  • Avg Energy Impact: The average energy impact for the past 8 hours or since the Mac started up, whichever is shorter. Average energy impact is also shown for apps that were running during that time, but have since been quit. The names of those apps are dimmed.
  • App Nap: Apps that support App Nap consume very little energy when they are open but not being used. For example, an app might nap when it's hidden behind other windows, or when it's open in a space that you aren't currently viewing.
  • Preventing Sleep: Indicates whether the app is preventing your Mac from going to sleep.

More information is available at the bottom of the Energy pane:

Mac Menu Bar

  • Energy Impact: A relative measure of the total energy used by all apps. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency.
  • Graphics Card: The type of graphics card currently used. Higher–performance cards use more energy. Macs that support automatic graphics switching save power by using integrated graphics. They switch to a higher-performance graphics chip only when an app needs it. 'Integrated' means the Mac is currently using integrated graphics. 'High Perf.' means the Mac is currently using high-performance graphics. To identify apps that are using high-performance graphics, look for apps that show 'Yes' in the Requires High Perf GPU column.
  • Remaining Charge: The percentage of charge remaining on the battery of a portable Mac.
  • Time Until Full: The amount of time your portable Mac must be plugged into an AC power outlet to become fully charged.
  • Time on AC: The time elapsed since your portable Mac was plugged into an AC power outlet.
  • Time Remaining: The estimated amount of battery time remaining on your portable Mac.
  • Time on Battery: The time elapsed since your portable Mac was unplugged from AC power.
  • Battery (Last 12 hours): The battery charge level of your portable Mac over the last 12 hours. The color green shows times when the Mac was getting power from a power adapter.

As energy use increases, the length of time that a Mac can operate on battery power decreases. If the battery life of your portable Mac is shorter than usual, you can use the Avg Energy Impact column to find apps that have been using the most energy recently. Quit those apps if you don't need them, or contact the developer of the app if you notice that the app's energy use remains high even when the app doesn't appear to be doing anything.


The Disk pane shows the amount of data that each process has read from your disk and written to your disk. It also shows 'reads in' and 'writes out' (IO), which is the number of times that your Mac accesses the disk to read and write data.

The information at the bottom of the Disk pane shows total disk activity across all processes. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The graph also includes a pop-up menu to switch between showing IO or data as a unit of measurement. The color blue shows either the number of reads per second or the amount of data read per second. The color red shows either the number of writes out per second or the amount of data written per second.

To show a graph of disk activity in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show Disk Activity.


The Network pane shows how much data your Mac is sending or receiving over your network. Use this information to identify which processes are sending or receiving the most data.

The information at the bottom of the Network pane shows total network activity across all apps. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The graph also includes a pop-up menu to switch between showing packets or data as a unit of measurement. The color blue shows either the number of packets received per second or the amount of data received per second. The color red shows either the number of packets sent per second or the amount of data sent per second.

To show a graph of network usage in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show Network Usage.


In macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later, Activity Monitor shows the Cache pane when Content Caching is enabled in the Sharing pane of System Preferences. The Cache pane shows how much cached content that local networked devices have uploaded, downloaded, or dropped over time.

Use the Maximum Cache Pressure information to learn whether to adjust Content Caching settings to provide more disk space to the cache. Lower cache pressure is better. Learn more about cache activity.

Mac Cpu Monitor Menu Bar

The graph at the bottom shows total caching activity over time. Choose from the pop-up menu above the graph to change the interval: last hour, 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days.

Learn more

Mac Menu Bar Settings

  • Learn about kernel task and why Activity Monitor might show that it's using a large percentage of your CPU.
  • For more information about Activity Monitor, open Activity Monitor and choose Help > Activity Monitor. You can also see a short description of many items in the Activity Monitor window by hovering the mouse pointer over the item.