iStat Menus Review: Best System Monitor in Menu Bar for Mac

From the moment you start your computer, processes run in the background. Most of them are remain complete mysteries, leaving you to question which software is eating up RAM, slowing your applications, or making your computer run hot.

But it’s hard to work productively when you’re constantly in the dark. If you want to keep your computer running at peak performance, you need to monitor the system.

iStat Menus is a menu bar application that can show all your system statuses and send you notifications to tell you what’s going on with your system.

What Is iStat Menus?

iStat Menus is a powerful system monitor that once installed, can be accessed from the menu bar on your Mac. It allows you to monitor lots of system features such as CPU, GPU, memory, network status, battery health, and many others. With it, you can easily get to know which applications put the most pressure on your system. It also allows you to set notifications for specifics situations so you can be alerted to important changes.

How Does iStat Menus Work?

After you install iStat Menus, it will ask you to install some additional components for certain monitoring features.

In the application interface, you can set the components you want to monitor and style of menu bar appearance. Highly customized.

Once you set your preferences, iStat Menus will be shown as tiny icons in the menu bar like in the screenshot below.

Monitor

Monitoring your system is the core function of iStat Menus. There are so many different elements it can monitor, like Weather, CPU & GPU, Memory, Disks, Network, Sensors, Battery, and Time.

The information panels are normally separated into individual elements. When you click an icon, only the information relevant to that icon will be shown.

However, you can change this in settings with the “combined” option. When you turn it on, it turns all of the icons into one big menu bar button, and all information is shown in one panel.

In this drop-down interface, the information is shown as a summary. When you put the cursor on each element, more detailed information will be shown in a second interface. The detailed information enables you to optimize your workload under different disk situations.

In settings, you can also change the update frequency from very slow to fast, depending on how accurate you want your information to be.

Notify

In the notification settings, you can set alerts for all the different aspects that iStat monitors.

For example, you can ask to be notified when your CPU usage is above 50% for 10 seconds, or to see a banner-style notification when your IP address changes.

Weather Monitor

Instead of just monitoring the state of your computer, iStat can also monitor the weather outside for you as well. If enabled, it can retrieve your specific location and show the hourly weather conditions.

With this feature, you can check the weather in the menu bar easily and you don’t need another weather application. It’s very convenient.

Notification center widget

You can enable iStat Menus in the notification center as a widget. It allows you to have a quick glance at different elements, without the complex information shown in the menu bar. The widget works with both light and dark mode.

Price & Platform Compatibility

As of this writing, iStat Menus is only available for Mac. You can get it from iStat Menus website or Mac App Store.

You can take advantage of a 14-day free trial if you download it from the iStat Menus website. After you find it’s helpful for you, you can buy a single license for $14.99. If you already own an older version, upgrading is $9.99 for the latest version.

If you need iStat on multiple computers, then family packs that come with 5 licenses are available as well for the price of $19.99. Family packs include 6 months of weather data.

iStat Menus is also available through the subscription service Setapp. Setapp has a free 7-day trial, and then you have to subscribe it at $9.99 per month. It provides access to hundreds of apps per month.

Is iStat Menus Worth It?

If your system is sensitive to changes or you just want to know what’s going on at any given time, iStat Menus is a powerful tool that helps you clearly understand your system. It also can help you adjust ongoing tasks in order to use your computer more efficiently.

Using iStat means you don’t need other applications for the battery health, weather, world clock, and etc. since they can all be found in a single panel. It makes your menu bar more functional.

Overall, it’s a solid system monitor and worthy of your consideration.

Wrapping Up

iStat Menus is not just for professional individuals to track the system status, but also for every Mac user to understand their Mac more completely. A super powerful and high customizable system monitor, you should definitely try iStat menus and see how it can help you.

Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.

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