How to monitor your Internet bandwidth usage in OS X

by Ross McKillop on September 15, 2007

Mac

Update: There’s now another tutorial on how to monitor your Internet bandwidth usage in OS X. You may want to give it a view before this one, as it’s free, and the one below involves software that isn’t free. Both solutions work well, but this one (outlined below) does have more reporting options.

Somewhat similar to my How to monitor your Internet bandwidth usage in Windows tutorial, this one will show you how to do the same, but in OS X. As a number of ISP’s are now disconnecting customers for using “too much” bandwidth (this one in particular), knowing exactly how much you’ve downloaded (or uploaded) in a given month can be very helpful.

The only application that I could find for OS X that monitors your total bandwidth used, was Net Monitor – which is $10.00USD. There is a 30 day ‘limited’ demo available, so you can try it before you buy it.

Note: if you know of a free or open source application that monitors your Internet usage, that doesn’t reset every time you log out or restart your Mac, please by all means let me know. I found dozens of apps that kept track of usage, but in every case they would reset back to 0 after you signed out or rebooted.

  1. Start by downloading and installing Net Monitor. The installation is very straight forward. Launch it from your Applications folder and the default window will be displayed. From here you can view your IP Address, Broadcast Address etc, in addition to your download speed (Receive Throughput), total downloads (Receive Total), upload speed (Transmit Throughput) and upload totals (Transmit Total).
  2. net monitor
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  3. You can also switch the device you want to monitor (Airport vs. Built-in Ethernet, Bluetooth etc) by selecting it from the drop down menu.
  4. net monitor
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  5. To view the reports (one of the best features of this software) select Tools from the Net Monitor menu, and then Traffic Log … from the drop down list.
  6. net monitor

  7. Here you’ll be presented with a list of the dates that Net Monitor was turned on and monitoring traffic, the duration (which is limited to one hour while you’re using the demo version) and your upload and download totals. Click the Calculate button to create a custom report.
  8. net monitor
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  9. From here you can define a specific date range by using the calendar(s).
  10. net monitor
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  11. Or select from one of the pre-created reports from the Quick Date drop down list.
  12. net monitor
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  13. And the totals are displayed in the right side of the window.
  14. net monitor
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  15. Click the Report button and you can a printable document of your Internet usage.
  16. net monitor
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  17. Below is an example of a Net Monitor report.
  18. net monitor
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  19. If you decide to purchase Net Monitor, make sure to set it to launch when your Mac starts up so that it monitors all of your Internet usage.
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  • Shane

    I’m using a Time capsule and Mac and sharing with my neighbour who is using a PC. Will this program allow me to just monitor my computer use? Will it also allow me to compare this to the overall use, or even his computer use?

  • Mettananda

    Net Monitor monitors Network activity, not just internet connections, so if you have a home network all data transfers are recorded, so be wary, if you have external drives networked then all the data transferred between those and your computer will be logged along with internet traffic.

  • nicole

    The activity monitor that is built in to the mac will tell you what your network is using.

    /Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor

    at the bottom there is a list of options from CPU to Network.

    The network will tell you data received and data sent.

    Isn’t this the same thing as bandwidth usage?

    It is included in the OS

  • http://www.jonathanevatt.com Jonathan

    There is another tool (free) that may do what you’ve outlined here. Just about to try it out, so can’t comment much further just yet. I’ll also try out the ($10) one you have mentioned here.
    The other one is SurplusMeter over at http://www.skoobysoft.com/utilities/utilities.html

  • Kate

    Is there a Mac program that will look at the programs I use that utilize bandwidth?