i am attempting to maintain a closer eye on my Apple-Mac's outgoing and incoming connections; in collaboration with other processes such as tcpdump and netstat, i have been using the command: lsof -i, which allegedly displays all processes using the internet.

The output of this command is fairly simple, however does return some confusing results, including multiple instances of the process com.apple which has little to no explanation online. Whilst listing Spotify and its various related processes such as SpotifyWE, the command declines to list other applications which i happen to know are using the network, such as Safari and Mail.

To simplify things, my questions are:

  • What is the purpose of the process com.apple?
  • Why are there multiple listings of the same process?
  • Why are some processes/applications which are definitely using the internet omitted from the command (lsof -i)`s result.

1 Answer 1


lsof's output is truncated. Paste the following command into Terminal:

ps -Ac|grep com.apple

This'll show you all the processes it could be referring to. You'll have to look at their PID to know which is which (second column in lsof, first column in ps).

A process will only be listed if it is has an active connection to somewhere. Not all applications maintain an active connection at all times.

  • ahh ok, so they are not multiple instances of the same process, instead multiple separate processes, we just can't see the full process name. And i have verified your theory about the command only listing active connections at that time by launching Mail, the theory seems to be correct Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:17
  • Hypothetically, if i had a key logger which was transmitting my keystrokes off-site, the process would be listed in this commands output wouldn't it? Assuming it wasn't somehow masked. Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:18
  • It would be, yes. There are ways to piggyback on other connections for the more elite hackers though, but it isn't common. :) Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:20
  • Yeah that does make sense, interesting, thanks for your help. Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:20
  • My pleasure! :) Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:22

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