I am downloading Mountain Lion, I know I can monitor download progress through the Mac App Store purchases screen but I want to know if I can monitor progress through Terminal.app using a shell command.

  • 2
    I may have misunderstood the question but is it not much easier to just click on the Purchases "tab" in App Store and watch the progress bar?
    – user25765
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:44
  • I know you can do it in the Purchases tab. I wanted to know if it could be done in the Terminal Jul 26, 2012 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


Sure - the storeagent uses a folder deep within /private/var/folders to hold the download progress.

On my Mac it's downloading to this folder below - yours may change, but you should be able to search for the com.apple.appstore using mdfind and use du or ls to see the file size grow.


The App Store has a nicer wrapper on the progress with a time estimate, but with bc and other tools, you could do the same in a short shell script exercise.

If you can't locate your folder, this find command might be of use to narrow down your search....

sudo find /var/folders -type d -name com.apple.appstore -print
  • 1
    Could you expand your answer to explain how to find the right directory? Jul 25, 2012 at 18:46
  • Sure - I just did a brute force search based on last modified time and ls - but I'll edit in a find command that worked for me...
    – bmike
    Jul 25, 2012 at 18:50
  • 5
    du -h /private/var/folders/*/*/C/com.apple.appstore/*/*.pkg would print the size of the download in a human-readable format. The total size of the version I'm currently downloading is shown as 4.3 GB in App Store.
    – Lri
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:44

I decided that the best way to identify the file being downloaded was to write a small script that fetched the files held open by the App Store program storeagen.

appstore_pid=$(ps -ef|grep storeagen|grep -v grep|awk '{print $2}')
lsof -p $appstore_pid|grep private|awk '{print $7 "\t" $9}'

I set appstore_pid variable to the PID of storeagen by extracting it from the ps command using grep and awk

Then I use lsof to list open files by the PID of storeagen and I print out the size of the files and the files path. If you do this several times in succession you can see the file(s) that's growing and make a good guess by its size that it is the OS download.

  • Nice use of lsof ;-) I piped to a second grep for pkg since I've seen the lsof return four or more items in /private/var/...
    – bmike
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:06

I just used the activity monitor and watched how much data transfer was happening... And ensure no other traffic at the time of download. Its not perfect, but gives you a general idea something is happening.

You must log in to answer this question.

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