How to Monitor Your Internet Bandwidth Usage in macOS

by Ross McKillop on May 24, 2017

This brief guide will show you how to keep track of the bandwidth you use on your Mac, using a small and free App.

As more and more ISP’s are starting to limit the amount of bandwidth you can use each month, it’s a good idea to keep track of your usage to make sure you don’t get hit with steep overage fees. Plus, this little utility keeps track of the bandwidth you use on different networks separately, so if you use your Mac at a friends house or different WiFi network, that traffic won’t be ‘lumped in’ with your home Internet usage.

  1. Start out by heading over to the Mac App Store and download/install Bandwidth+ (opens in a new tab/window).
  2. Now launch Bandwidth+ from your Applications folder. When it opens it will appear in your Menu Bar.
  3. As you surf the Internet, Bandwidth+ will keep a running tally of how much bandwidth you’ve used. The sum of both is displayed right in your Menu bar – when you click on that summary the Bandwidth+ window will appear. From here you can see the name of the network you’re connected to, and how much data you’ve downloaded and uploaded.
  4. When you switch to a different network, Bandwidth+ picks up on that and starts to keep track of your total usage on that network. Each of the networks you connect to will be displayed in the Bandwidth+ menu going forward.
  5. There are a few options you can configure with Bandwidth+ – one of them is quite important. To make these changes, click the Bandwidth+ item in your Menu Bar, click the small ‘cog’ icon in that list, and finally select Preferences…
  6. The one Preference you’ll want to change right away is to have Bandwidth+ start each time your Mac does. Place a check in the box labelled Automatically start at login
  7. You can also change the display options for Bandwidth+ – if you’d rather see just the download totals, you can select that. Same with upstream. Alternatively, you can have Bandwidth+ display your current bandwidth usage speed. To do so, select the Speed option.
  8. Bandwidth+ will now display the current rate (speed) of bandwidth being used by your Mac. As you can see in the example below, I was downloading at 2.1Mbps when I took that screenshot. When you’re not using any bandwidth at all, the Bandwidth+ icon will simply display “0Kbps”.