Aps for fixing problems
When monitoring throws up an issue, you need to deal with it before it makes things even worse. As ever, there are apps for that!
When you spot something not right in a monitoring tool, the fix depends on the occurring problem. The most urgent issues are around excessive temperatures – possibly a hardware fault (although these could in fact be caused by using your Mac in a manner that blocks air vents). Also, be aware some Mac components run very hot, so don’t assume a high temperature is a fault – only major changes after a long period of stability are of real concern.
An app/process using a lot of CPU or memory can cause a Mac to become slow and unresponsive. The nuclear option is a restart, but sometimes such issues can be bypassed if you see usage abruptly spiking using a monitoring app.
First, you’ll need to identify the app or process that’s to blame – iStat Menus now provides a list of top offenders in its menus, but a full list can always be accessed in Activity Monitor, where processes can be quit (or force-quit when really misbehaving). Where possible, save any unsaved work before doing so, and especially before quitting a process that may form part of OS X. An exception is with Safari – occasionally a Safari Web Content process will use huge amounts of CPU due to a malfunctioning web page and can be safely force-quit; you’ll merely lose the relevant tab, which will immediately close.
Monitor disk space; if you run low it’ll negatively impact on OS X’s performance. iStat Menus and MenuMeters both enable you to keep tabs on space, but you’ll need other apps to find what’s taking up room. Grand Perspective (free, grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net), DaisyDisk (£6.99, daisydiskapp.com) and Disk Doctor (£1.99, fiplab.com) can all be used to scan a disk rapidly and provide an indication of huge files, folders and apps, which you could then back up to an external disk and delete.
Network issues are harder to pin down. If you’re seeing spikes or drops in traffic, try to think of apps you use that could cause this – online back-ups, torrents apps and so on. Activity Monitor can provide an indication of network traffic, but more specialised tools such as LittleSnitch (€30, obdev.at/products /littlesnitch) and Rubbernet (€30, rubbernetapp.com) give you finer reporting and control.
Flick the switches in Duplicate Zapper to locate duplicate files that can be deleted. DaisyDisk lets you see exactly what’s taking up all that
space on your Mac. A screen within a screen: thanks to the AirPort Extreme and Screen Sharing, you can hook a second Mac up to access the first.