Keep an eye on your Mac
Eight great utilities
Out of the box, the vast majority of Macs are very reliable, but they’re only one piece of the technology puzzle. As soon as you start installing and running software, or going online – so once you start really using your Mac at all – the potential for problems increases.
For the most part, we tend to react to problems after they occur. If your Mac runs out of disk space, you’ll quickly start trashing some files (after, of course, ensuring they’re backed up somewhere); or when your keyboard’s batteries run dry, you’ll dutifully insert some new ones (or loudly curse on realising you have no spares, before making a quick trip to the shops). This kind of thing really isn’t a great use of your time, nor a way to avoid stress – it’s much more efficient to circumvent such issues by using monitoring tools that warn of impending problems.
Monitoring tools come in several forms. Some are standalone apps that require you to check in every now and again, to make sure everything’s running smoothly. Others enable you to keep tabs on your Mac merely by glancing at tiny graphs and stats in the menu bar. First, we’ll pick out eight apps and utilities that are especially beneficial for monitoring purposes, covering a range of elements that are critical to your Mac’s well-being: temperature, CPU usage, memory usage, disk space, energy usage, battery status, and network activity.
We’ll then look at apps that can assist you when something odd crops up. For example, if you’re low on disk space, you need to find out what’s taking up all the room; or if your network traffic’s all over the place, it’s very important to find out what’s going on, so you can enjoy downloads and uploads that don’t spike and then slow to a crawl.
We’ll also be looking at an OS X feature that enables you to monitor your Mac remotely. This means if you have a Mac that’s not in the same room as you (as in, it could be in another part of your house or even an entirely different country) you can access its screen, control apps, perform file management, and also potentially fix any issues if something’s wrong.