Having an application which carefully measures your Mac’s usage can be helpful in many situations. In general, for an average home user, it is nice to have such an app simply to see how your Mac is doing and to fine-tune some of its core features as well as to see if a specific problem is tied to a specific process malfunction of your system. Advanced users and professionals can greatly benefit from these monitoring apps, since they use very demanding applications which are usually eating up system resources so they can eliminate unneeded ones in order help a computer deal with all those loads of information. For example, most software developers (OS X and iOS as well) use system monitoring apps to get a very detailed report on how their applications interact with a system, so they can make them much less demanding and better performing.
System monitoring applications were always quite popular, and throughout the years several of them remained bestselling. One of those is iStat Menus which received a major overhaul a couple of months ago. Its fourth major version brought some noticeable interface changes, as well as some new features so today we are going to see what iStat Menus 4 has to offer.
iStat Menus became popular mostly because it monitors many different areas of your system, and present you with live results. You can see information like CPU and RAM usage, hard drive space, hardware temperature and such information right in your menu bar, since this apps always runs in the background and monitors while you normally work on your Mac. Actually there are 8 icons in menu bar, which could be toggled on/off and those are: CPU, Memory, Disks, Network, Sensors, Battery, Time, and Combined. You can toggle them on/off using iStat’s main window, where you can also change a theme of drop-down menus, their opacity and other features. We mentioned drop-down menus, since this is where you get all you information.
As you can see, iStat Menus brings 8 icons into your menu bar. Some of them (like Battery and Time) can replace OS X’s default tools since they bring much more detailed information. By clicking of these icons you’ll see very comprehensive drop-down menus which will present information specific to that icon. Each of those will show you amazing amount of information and the newest version of iStat also brings history graphs to each of those 8 monitoring tools, so you can review past behavior in several time intervals (one hour, 24 hours, and 7 days). Some tools will also show you 5-minute intervals. Every of those 8 drop-down menus are already quite crowded, but if you hover of any aspect of it, you might get a new floating window which shows a particular information in a bit more visually pleasing manner.
In general, iStat 4 brings amazing amount of information and very carefully monitors over your whole system. Some professionals will need a very specific set of information, which will sometimes need to be extremely detailed, and I believe that iStat can fulfil that task.
iStat Menus 4 is priced at $16 for a new license, or $9 if you’re upgrading from an older version. You can also download 14-day trial, which I recommend before purchasing a license.