I'd like to be able to view my cpu and memory usage in real time. Not as a desktop widget or window application, but as a widget in the menu bar. Is this possible?

  • Take a look into menumeters, the description sounds like just what you're after.
    – sarnold
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 9:41
  • 1
    If you don't want to use third-party software, you can also use Activity Monitor (however, it's on the Dock, not the menu bar). Do this by opening Activity Monitor > View > Dock Icon > Show CPU Usage
    – Munesawagi
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    Menu Meters is not officially compatible with El Capitan. Here's a source for an unofficial version.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:17
  • 3
    @bmike, I changed the subject, so the sense is encapsulated within it, and it would be better for SEO. Voted for reopening. And thank you for the input regarding wiki, this concept is confusing for sure, I bet most of people don't understand it, and there are no clear criteria and flow for this type of question.
    – Farside
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 12:01
  • 9
    It's 2021 and we now have Stats - it's a free and opensource app that can show usage graphs for many aspects of the systems.
    – sfxedit
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 23:53

28 Answers 28


iStat Menus has the functionality you are asking for. It is available starting at USD$14.39 for a single license or $17.99 for a family pack (up to five different Macs). It's also included with a membership to SetApp.

  • +1 I really like this one. can customize how much is shown and it seems to perform very well. I may actually buy it.
    – spong
    Commented Sep 8, 2010 at 11:27
  • 2
    I also like it and I still use the old free version. What I don't like is that it invites you to upgrade without informing you that it costs money afterwards.
    – robcast
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 10:16
  • 1
    @MattSephton What do you base that on?
    – David
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 19:08
  • 1
    There's a comprehensive exchange between the developer and I on twitter. Here is one part mobile.twitter.com/bjango/status/987190421997740032 Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 19:31
  • 1
    I tried many of the solutions listed. For free options, a combination of github.com/iglance/iGlance and github.com/yujitach/MenuMeters gets the job done. However, I kinda like the label from iStats, so I might settle with that one.
    – Adrian
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:24

One that hasn't been mentioned yet is Stats, which describes itself as a

Simple macOS system monitor in your menu bar

It's an excellent open source project (https://github.com/exelban/stats) that can be installed via:

brew install stats

enter image description here

On big sur, after downloading, open launchpad, search for 'stats', and open it. It will start showing up in the menu bar.

  • 1
    I can't see this in BigSur after installing.
    – imflash217
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 0:39
  • 1
    The app's UI in the menu bar is fantastic. One nit though is that it is showing somewhat different utilization % compared to the Activity Monitor, plus the most CPU consuming processes are different in Stats and Activity Monitory.
    – Bananeen
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 18:23

I use MenuMeters for this functionality, and have a hard time living without it. How do other people know when their web browser is finally done downloading a page, or YouTube stalled out, or iPhoto still working, or ...?

MenuMeters is freeware, but well worth the donation.

The original author has stopped maintaining MenuMeters, but someone new has taken over for El Capitan.

  • 5
    @sunpech: Did you enable them from the Menu Meters Preference Pane? By default they don't enable until you say you want them.
    – Chealion
    Commented Sep 8, 2010 at 16:06
  • 2
    I love MenuMeters. I'd vote it up, but I'm out of votes for today. :-(
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 19:01
  • 2
    Update - I was previously on 1.7. Upgraded to 1.8.1 to go with Yosemite and numbers are much closer now. FYI, developer says he will not update for El Capitan due to Apple policies; we'll see if MenuMeters keeps working then.
    – Michael H.
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 3:13
  • 7
    A new author has taken over development of MenuMeters and it works with 10.11. El Capitan MenuMeters
    – Dan Pritts
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 15:21
  • 1
    FWIW, I appear to have switched to iStatMenus for this. I don't remember why, but I'm guessing it has to do with better support for current OS and hardware.
    – Michael H.
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 23:51

Check out iGlance it's open source.

iglance screenshot enter image description here

  • 2
    Exactly what I was looking for.
    – cmcginty
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 8:10
  • 3
    brew install --cask iglance
    – fafrd
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 3:23

MenuMeters is popular among the Mac users I know.

  • Since I may come across people here who may have used MenuMeters, I would like to ask whether it is stable in terms of memory leaks and crashes.
    – ayaz
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 5:28
  • @ayaz - You should ask this as it's own question
    – cdeszaq
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 19:57
  • 7
    Doesn't work with El Capitan.
    – Restuta
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 20:19
  • 1
    It's free and open source and there's a fork that DOES work with El Capitan, @Restuta Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:11
  • 7
    The fork for El Capitan is here member.ipmu.jp/yuji.tachikawa/MenuMetersElCapitan
    – user454322
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 5:01

For OS X 10.11 or later, use this fork of MenuMeters: http://member.ipmu.jp/yuji.tachikawa/MenuMetersElCapitan/

(Open the .prefPane file by Ctrl clicking and selecting Open.)


I created a free app that shows percentage on the menu bar:

enter image description here

You can download it from here:


  • Thanks for that! Easy and simple - working on M2 chipset. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 9:57

iStat Menus is an app by Mac / iOS developers Bjango, but it's not free ($16).


I made a simple app that displays cpu and memory usage on menubar, free and open sourced. Feedback is welcome.


enter image description here

  • RAM usage display seems non-standard or even not-accurate? Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 10:03


system tray


  • CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X;
  • are a true SystemUIServer plugins (also known as Menu Extras);
  • Net Meter can display network throughput as arrows, bytes per second, and/or as a graph.
  • minimalism: extremely lightweight and dumb simple;
  • size is ~1Mb;
  • open-source, freeware.

Official website states about exception:

MenuMeters cannot be used on 10.11 El Capitan

But I managed to run on OS X El Capitan (10.11.3) without any problems, I will provide the link on re-compiled version, as this tool is opensource. It works like a charm for a last year, not a single issue found even after automatic system updates.

Configuration screenshot: configuration options


I really liked eul. Slick design and great configuration ability. Widgets are also available.

eul tray view

eul all views

brew install --cask eul

or install from Mac App Store.


I prefer SystemPal. iStat itself consumes too much CPU and RAM. SystemPal is quick, tiny, configurable, neat, and powerful. It's available on Mac App Store.

  • Still costs dollars, but much fewer than iStat Menus does, so thank you :)
    – mike
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 23:36

iStat Menus

Official Website (single license: $18, "family pack" (5 licenses): $25, FREE trial: 14 days)

Features include (but not limited to):

  • CPU usage
  • Process usage breakdown
  • GPU usage (includes FPS)
  • Current uptime
  • Memory usage/pressure
    • app/wired/compressed memory
    • swap memory monitoring
  • Disk IO (external disks supported)
  • Network monitoring
    • Individual interface upload/download, total data transferred, peak speeds etc
  • Sensors (temperatures, ambient light, power draw current/volts)
  • Battery information (health, capacity)
  • World Clock
  • (my personal favorite) graphs of the item for the past hour, twenty-four hours and seven days

Size: 58.7 MB
Customization Options:

  • the entire layout of the menubar dropdown is completely customizable and displayed in a user-defined layout
  • the type of graph displayed can be customised (opposed, centered, stacked)
  • the skin of the app can be customised (dark, light, other colors as well)
  • menubar footprint is customisable as well


Main overview, CPU, memory, sensors

Menubar footprint

Main app window

Resource usage: iStat Menus is on the low-medium end of the resource consumption spectrum. The app uses about 100-150 MB of RAM at any one time, and has minimal impact on the CPU.

  • can the screenshots be reduced in size, or is it possible somehow to shrink the answer and to make it laconic and easy to read? or even to reduce/align the number of screenshots. thank you.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:06
  • I'm trying to do that right now, actually. They're quite annoying having to scroll so much. Sorry about that Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:07
  • Okay, so it seems I can't find a way. I'm going to take this matter to meta Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:15
  • @perhapsmaybeharry see the answer to meta.apple.stackexchange.com/questions/2738/…
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:33
  • 1
    How this app can use 50Mb, if the packed DMG is around the same size? Lots of controls, widgets, graphs, etc... When I tried this, I think it was closer to ~**300Mb** in the memory, constantly, I think it's way too much for being lightweight, for what is does.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:54

This is an old questions, but newcomers might be interested in Übersicht. This allows you to display the information on the desktop, not the menu bar, much like in Conky.

Übersicht uses HTML5 web technology, so has a very modern feel to customize.

Übersicht screenshot


A free open source solution is CpuInfo on GitHub (shows cpu only)

  • Clean, simple and open source 👍
    – BenRoe
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 19:03

Not sure how long this has been a feature, but it's possible to replace the Activity Monitor dock icon with a graph showing CPU usage, CPU history, network usage, or disk activity.

enter image description here

For example, showing CPU history turns the icon into this little graph:

enter image description here

  • Great find, not sure why this is not the default.
    – Pieter
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 6:34
  • Probably b/c it doesn't have a memory usage graph option.
    – agileMike
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 16:59

iStat Menus 5 now has a free version and works well for monitoring all kinds of system stats, including CPU and memory.

  • 2
    It's not free - it's only a 15 day trial version.
    – Pierz
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 16:15


Official site (free, open source)

The BitBar app lets you put the output from any script or program right in your Mac OS X menu bar. And it's completely free. An impressive number of plugins have already been contributed by a wide range of developers just like you, and this site makes it easy to find them.

The website does indeed list a large number of network and system plugins for monitoring CPU usage, uptime, battery status,etc., and of course you can write your own; they're just shell scripts.

Uptime plugin by Matteo Ferrando

  • OMG, this one is really feature rich beast, tons of different plugins, widgets, utilities! I definitely would try.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 15:11

Or you can try some geeklets from the internet (or make one yourself) on Geektool. I find it more customizable than menu bar apps, and prettier when I get to use the fonts and sizes I like.

  • 1
    I did that! I had a nice weather.com geeklet on my desktop. And then I upgraded to Mountain Lion, and the geektool is failing for mysterious reasons, and I have to debug it. :-/
    – Michael H.
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 19:38
  • You could try using Übersicht
    – Oion Akif
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 17:35


AppStore ($1.99)

  • Shows memory/CPU usage status, CPU temperature and fan speed, network status and disk reading/writing status on status bar.
  • provides a tool kit including mini music player,
  • screenshot capture,
  • memory cleaner.
  • size: 1.0 MB

Screenshot: enter image description here


enter image description here

Übersicht allows for creation of conky-like widgets using coffeeScript. coffeeScript uses HTML. So, display options, such as text size, font and opacity of the background are easily set. The widget sits in front of the background image, but behind any desktop items. Übersicht has many user contributed, downloadable widgets.

I created a conky-like widget for Mac and OS X using Übersicht: https://github.com/dumbo25/conky-for-mac


Haven't seen this one mentioned yet: Menu Bar Stats 3


LoadViz screenshot

I also made LoadViz! ^

Runs in the macOS menu bar, shows user (flames) and system (clouds) CPU load.

The most loaded cores are rendered in the middle, so a single pillar of fire would mean one core is working. A cloud that is evenly distributed would mean same system load across all cores.

Memory usage doesn't really matter, and memory pressure can be inferred from system load, see web page for details.

To install, brew install walles/johan/loadviz, then open Applications in Finder and right click to launch. Or just build it from source.


stats, MenuMeters, iStat Menus - are all awesome.

For CPU usage I still ˇLOVEˇ to use "CPU LED" - which was written back in 2011 and is still running under Sonoma 14.3.1 ... Downloads from cnet.com or macupdate.com

The preferences UI-design is definitely (!) from those years - for the CPU animation in the menu bar there are around 45 styles to choose from - colored, b&w, some slim, others taking a third of the space of your menubar . Developers site doesn't exist any more. Latest existing version seems to be 1.3.

enter image description here


The iPulse program has been doing this since 2002.

It is recently updated for the Mac App Store and El Capitan and also works on older OS.

It's menu centric, dock centric and/or HUD style visualizations so you can choose exactly what and how you monitor the system performance.

enter image description here


Oh, the flexibilityness!

I made Bubblemon. Water surface level shows memory usage, bubbles show CPU load (heaviest loaded core bubbles in the middle), and the green things growing from the bottom are IO load. Fogs up when battery starts running low. Turns red on swapping.

Woho, look at it go!


curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/walles/bubblemon/master/osx/install.sh | bash

Source code: https://github.com/walles/bubblemon



xbar (download link) allows you to add a large number of plug-ins and menus to the menu bar. There are, of course, pre-made plugins that show CPU load and memory usage. Here are the ones I found that might interest you:


I recommend app called CheckMyMac



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .