IPulse 3.0

Keep an eye on your Mac with this per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing tool

Mac Format - - RATED -

£7.99 De­vel­oper The Icon­fac­tory, icon­fac­to­ryapps.com

Re­quires OS X 10.7 or higher

On the sur­face, at least, iPulse is a fuss-free mon­i­tor­ing tool that pro­vides you with per­for­mance-re­lated stats on de­mand. It starts out as a float­ing icon on your desk­top, but can just as eas­ily be placed in the menu bar or in the dock for a less ob­tru­sive pres­ence. The app’s ori­gins date back to 2002, but af­ter a four-year hia­tus, version 3 brings things bang up to date, and has been de­signed to work seam­lessly with El Cap­i­tan.

Fire up iPulse for the first time and a small (but re­siz­able) multi-coloured icon ap­pears, float­ing above ev­ery­thing else on the desk­top. It dis­plays a range of gauges that flash and up­date in real time, but it’s hard to make out any­thing mean­ing­ful. In­stead, roll your mouse over var­i­ous parts of the icon and pop-up win­dows re­veal the stats be­hind each gauge, which are split into six cat­e­gories: CPU, mem­ory swap­ping, mem­ory us­age, disk, net­work, and a mo­bil­ity sec­tion for MacBooks.

By hold­ing ≈ and click­ing the icon you get shortcuts to key sys­tem tools, in­clud­ing Ac­tiv­ity Mon­i­tor, and you can tweak the app’s pref­er­ences. There are 10 looks for the Dock icon, plus tabs for each sec­tion. Each one pro­vides an ex­pla­na­tion of what the gauge dis­plays, and pro­vides lim­ited cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions. It’s here you can en­able the menu bar icon, and de­cide what each of its two graph­ics dis­plays. Sadly, they re­main as im­pen­e­tra­ble as the main gauges.

There’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion hid­den away in iPulse, but its gauges and menu bar graph­ics are more likely to con­fuse than en­lighten. There are plenty of use­ful stats the app wants to share with you, but you’ll have to put in a lot of ef­fort learn­ing how it dis­plays that in­for­ma­tion to get any­thing mean­ing­ful from it. Nick Peers iPulse mon­i­tors lots of use­ful sys­tem info, but is guilty of over­com­pli­cat­ing things with the way it’s pre­sented.

Lots of in­for­ma­tion in one place

Ex­tremely cus­tomis­able

New fea­tures aren’t com­pelling

Graph­ics hard to in­ter­pret

iPulse puts a lot of stats in one lo­ca­tion, but it’s dif­fi­cult to see what’s go­ing on.

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