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Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: iStat Menus, gfxCardStatus, Disk Doctor, and more!

The very best apps to help you monitor your Mac and keep it performing like it's still brand new!

Macs always perform great out of the box, but over time they can start to feel slower and more sluggish. The reasons for that can seem mysterious, but often they're easy-to-fix if you can figure out what's gone wrong. That's where performance monitoring comes in! There are a lot of great performance monitoring tools for your Mac, but it can be tough sorting the really great ones from garbage. That's where iMore comes in! Here are the best apps for monitoring your Mac's performance!

iStat Menus

Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: iStats Menu

Even though Macs do pretty well in the power and memory management departments on their own, there are still some apps out there that contain memory leaks or other problems that can hog system resources. iStat Menus can not only alert you to performance and memory management issues but help you pinpoint the culprit.

If you want to know exactly what's using your Mac's power and resources, you want iStat Menus by Bjango.


Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: gfxcardstatus

If you've got a Retina Mac, you have both integrated and discrete graphics support. Unfortunately your Mac doesn't let you choose one or the other on your own and you're at the mercy of whatever OS X decides is better. If you don't like the idea of that and don't find the stock battery shaming utility to be robust enough, gfxCard Status lets you sit in the driver's seat. Not only can you see more detailed information, you can force the system to use either discrete or integrated graphics in order to boost performance or save power.

For control of your Retina Mac's graphics, get gfxCardStatus.

Disk Doctor

Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: Disk Doctor

We store a lot of information on our Macs and if you find yourself running out of room Disk Doctor can help you recapture some space. It scans your hard drive for large files you may not need such as application caches, mail attachments that are hidden deep in the system, and more. Most of the time there's tons of data on our Macs we either didn't know was there or forgot we had.

If you're running out of storage space, Disk Doctor can help you reclaim tons.

Temperature Gauge

Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: Temperature Gauge

Even though we'd like to think Macs nowadays aren't susceptible to overheating, it's still an unfortunate reality. But luckily there's Temperature Gauge which can not only monitor your CPU temps but your fan speeds. Whether you do graphics intensive tasks and just want to keep an eye on temperatures or you feel your fans are running more than they should, Temperature Gauge keeps you informed with just a glance at your menu bar.

If you want to prevent overheating before it even starts, Temperature Gauge is a must have.

Memory Clean

Best apps to monitor your Mac's performance: Memory Clean

Memory Clean lets you monitor and clear out your Mac's memory, or RAM as most people call it. Sometimes performance intensive games and apps can hog memory and then not purge themselves from it properly. If you're experiencing slowdowns, memory is most often the culprit. Memory Clean gives you quick access to your memory's current status in just one click. From there you can handle any problems that come your way.

For better control over memory resources, Memory Clean is a must have.

Your picks?

If you obsess over the performance of your Mac, what tools you use to keep it in tip top shape? Do you perform regular checks or only look into problems as they arise? Let me know!

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • For the love of God, don't use Memory Clean. OS X (and any other respectable OS, like Windows/Linux) know way better how to manage your RAM than this app does. Caches shouldn't be purged, it defeats the purpose of caching. Having lots of free RAM does not equate to good performance. OS X is perfectly capable of wiping out memory when it's actually necessary. Let it make those decisions. Freeing and making room for new apps is a near-instantaneous operation, there's no performance loss there. Also, I recommend not running iStat when battery life is a concern. While it's not a major hog, it does keep your CPU awake to process those stats. Over the long term it will have a measurable effect on battery life. Most of the stats in iStat are available from Activity Monitor anyway.
  • Definitely going to give a few of these a look. Data leaks concern me most because I have to rely on wireless hotspots for work and data limits get expensive. Thanks Ally!
  • As some one that is about to get a shiny new Macbook Pro, I am very interested in gfxCardStatus, however, it is worth mentioning that it is not true that all Retina MBP have a dedicated GPU. With the current gen models, only the 15in model has it, and even then it is only on the upgraded model.
  • I use iStatMenus whenever I want to keep an eye on my system, either locally or remotely thanks to iStat server and iOS app. (And yeah, Marc's a buddy, but I've been using it since long before I met him, back when it was still a Dashboard widget!)
  • The istats software seems like a winner. Thanks for the information. Sent from the iMore App
  • CheckMyMac
    Disclaimer I am the developer of the app, so I don't want to make any comparisons and talk about cons and pros
    just look it for yourself (trial version available)
  • If you try to monitor a mac, actually it is quite easy, you just need to install iMonitor Mac keylogger on that mac.