I’m the kind of Mac user who wants to know what his computer is doing. I want to know if my downloads are coming at the right speed, if my memory is being maxed out, and if my processors are working hard or not. For this reason, I use bjango’s $16 iStat Menus to present all this information and more in my menu bar. Here’s what my setup looks like:
At the left is a fan icon, which shows temperature sensors and fans. This icon doesn’t do anything dynamically, but when you click on it you get a menu with lots of info about the various sensors and fans in your Mac. Next comes network throughput; green is outgoing data and red is incoming, and you can choose the update frequency for these, which show real-time data. Next comes RAM, then finally processors (my Mac mini has four cores). Skip to the right a bit and you can see the Date & Time info: the calendar icon showing the date, then the day and time. This is a bit better than the built-in display, because of the date icon.
There are plenty of other settings and display options as you can see below. For example, on my laptop, I use the Battery settings to provide more information than what Apple offers. You may want to use Disk Usage to see how much free space is on your hard disks, or Disk Activity to see if they’re working hard or not.
This app appeals to the part of me that wants to check certain things from time to time without opening an application. A glance at my menu bar tells me how fast a download is coming into my Mac, or whether my processors are maxing out. If you like to know these things, iStat Menus is a great tool to keep an eye on what your Mac is doing.