The widget iStat Pro allows to monitor different system stats like

  • CPU usage
  • network bandwidth in/out
  • memory usage
  • ...

How can I view such system stats in the Terminal?

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up vote 56 down vote accepted

Depending on what you want to see, there are several options on Terminal level:

  • top: show running processes, memory usage and similar stats
  • iostat: show I/O per terminal, device and SPU summery statistics
  • vm_stat: show Mach virtual memory statistics
  • df and diskutil list: report on drive space used and free
  • fs_usage: show file activity for both disk and network
  • nettop: display updated information about the network (a bit like top for net I/O)
  • w: display who is logged in, what they are doing and system load
  • ifconfig and ipconfig: network interface and IP protocol details

Most of these commands have a huge list of options, it's probably best to consult the man pages for details.

I usually rely on top -u -s 10 to identify CPU-hogging processes and fs_usage -f filesys/fs_usage -f network to identify processes generating a lot of disk/network load.

  • This is what I wanted! Thanks. – gentmatt Feb 5 '12 at 19:25
  • @JMY1000 LOL, I actually like the idea of a process hugging the CPU :-) Thanks for the edit. – nohillside Jun 17 '16 at 13:51
  • @patrix Ah, the good ol' hug of death. – JMY1000 Jun 18 '16 at 13:00

The iStats ruby gem lets you see the CPU temperature via the command-line.


$ gem install iStats


$ istats


You can use top. It'll show CPU & RAM usage together with all the processes. It'll also show you network packets in/out, and discs data read/written.

  • 2
    And with man top you can see how to customize the output. – Rene Larsen Feb 5 '12 at 13:13

The above are great commands. Also, I like to use

$ du -ks *

To show how much disk space all the folders below my current directory are using.

This command lists the top 10 directories in order of size:

$ du -sh * | sort -nr | head -10

For an overall system stats tool, I like the python glances better than top:

This is how you can install it on Debian/Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install glances

This is how you can install it on CentOS/Red Hat:

# yum  install glances

If you are having network problems, especially with a server exposed to the Internet, lsof(1) can be extremely useful. It lists all open files.

For example, lsof | fgrep '/Library/WebServer/ will show you all the files that are open on your web server. I've been using this a lot to find and ban "leeches" and "bots" who are reducing my bandwidth by automatically sucking down file after file.

My preferred way to see CPU usage with a single command that returns instantly is

ps -axro pcpu | awk '{sum+=$1} END {print sum}'

-ax: all processes, including non-terminal processes and ones you don't own.

-r: sort by cpu usage

-o pcpu: only output the %cpu field. %cpu is a 1-minute average of the process, but will only average over the lifetime of the process if its lifetime is <1min.

awk: sum the first column in each line and print the sum at the end.

This is a per-core CPU metric, so on a 12 core CPU you can get up to 1200; you're not capped at 100.

Here are two commands for determining your local and public IP:

Local IP

ipconfig getifaddr en1

This is when using Wi-Fi. For ethernet use en0.

Public IP

  • 1
    On current MacBook Airs (which don't have an ethernet port) the Wi-Fi device code is en0. You can find out what it is with networksetup -listallhardwareports | grep -E '(Wi-Fi|AirPort)' -A 1 | grep -o "en.". – user495470 Feb 23 '12 at 23:05

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