How to monitor network bandwidth usage on your Mac

Maintaining fast upload and download speed keeps work, emails, games, and videos playing smoothly. So keeping an eye on that is pretty important, which you can do with a Mac network monitor. 

There aren't a huge number of tools that can help you do this. Buried deep within Terminal is the command net stat, although this isn’t ideal as it can overload you with data. If you want something easier to use to manage and monitor network speed and bandwidth, there are a couple of options available, which we outline below. 

How to monitor network bandwidth? 

#1: Use Activity Monitor 

Activity Monitor, built into macOS, will give you a rough overview of which apps are using your network connection, along with upload and download speed. 

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities.
  2. Or type Activity Monitor into Spotlight Search, or ask Siri.
  3. Activity Monitor is within Utilities and shows CPU, battery, and network usage, amongst other useful monitoring processes.
  4. Now go to the Network tab.
  5. This shows various apps and processes and the impact they have on network bandwidth. 
  6. Click on Sent Bytes and rank from highest to lowest to see which apps are using more bandwidth than others.
  7. Other columns show the number of data apps are receiving.
  8. To reduce the amount of bandwidth currently in use, go to the apps absorbing most of the network data available and close them if they're not in use (you may have left apps open that are taking up more data than you realize). 

👉Tip: You can monitor network activity right in the Dock, without going to Activity Monitor. To enable this, go to Activity Monitor > View > Dock icon > Show network usage.

Another way, especially if you would prefer more proactive monitoring, is to use a popular Mac maintenance app, CleanMyMac X. It has a free version you can use.

#2: Check your real internet speed with CleanMyMac

While the free version of CleanMyMac X (download it here) is not a cure-all for everything, it still can solve a lot of problems. Including getting your Mac to run faster, monitoring network bandwidth, and improving your online and in-app user experience. 

The feature I’m constantly using is the CleanMyMac X Menu monitor. It sits in the status bar of my Mac.

There’s a section called “Network,” which allows you to test your internet speed. Now you’ll find out if your internet provider is telling you the truth.

real-time malware monitor in CleanMyMacX

Download CleanMyMac X Free Edition here.

After installing the app, click on the iMac icon in the status bar to launch the Menu. This feature, the internet speed test, is absolutely free. 

Now, this is how CleanMyMac X can improve internet speed: 

  1. Start with using the Privacy feature: Use this to clear caches, delete old internet data, and clear out unused Wi-Fi connections and other settings that are slowing your Mac down; 
  2. CleanMyMac X - Privacy module
  3. Next, run Maintenance scripts with this app (another handy feature) to get your systems and browsers to operate more quickly.
  4. Another feature worth using if internet speed still needs speeding up is to check what system junk and other clutter is slowing your Mac down.
  5. Run a Smart Scan to clear anything out that is taking up processing power. You might find your Mac’s network connection is a lot better after that. 
CleanMyMac X - Smart Scan complete

CleanMyMac X is worth checking out. It’s a powerful Mac support and improvement app, getting your Mac running as good as new, hopefully with a faster, smoother internet connection.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.