Keep an eye on your Mac with this performance monitoring tool
£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
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.