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How to monitor network usage on your Macs Dock

Mac Actiity Monitor app icon hero - macOS

Whether you’re troubleshooting networking issues or just trying to save bandwidth, it’s convenient to look at your Mac’s network usage over time. With Activity Monitor, Apple makes it easy to keep track of network activity at a glance in the Dock. How to set it up.

First open Activity Monitor. If you are not sure how to do it quickly with Spotlight. Press Command + Spacebar or click on the “magnifying glass” icon in the menu bar to display a search bar. Type “activity monitor”

; and press Enter.

Open Spotlight Search on your Mac and type

Then right-click the Activity Monitor doll icon. Click the “Dock Icon” in the menu that appears, then select “View Network Usage.”


When “View Network Usage” is selected, the Activity Monitor dock icon will turn into an animated screen that shows network activity over time and will be updated from right to left.

(By default, this graph is updated every 5 seconds. To change the speed at which the graph is updated, visit View> Refresh Rate in the menu bar at the top of the screen.)

Displays the Activity Monitor network usage dock diagram in package mode

Under the default settings, the docking diagram for network usage shows “packets per second” in blue and “packets per second” in red. These are raw bills of data packets received by and sent from your Mac.

If you prefer another reading, you can make the graph show data that is sent and received in bytes instead. First click on the main Activity Monitor window (press Command + 1 to display it if it is not already open) and select the “Network” tab.

Find the small graph at the bottom of the window. Click on the heading with the text “Packages” and change it to “Data” with the small drop-down menu.

In Activity Monitor for Mac, click on the graph heading and switch off

When “Data” is selected, the docking chart changes immediately. Now “data read per second” is displayed in blue and “byte data written per second” is represented in red.


When the Dock icon is configured as you wish, you can close the main activity window by pressing the red “X” button.

Close the Activity Monitor window on your Mac.

With the main window closed, the Task Monitor will run silently while you perform other tasks on your Mac, and the Dock Network Usage Graph will continue to be updated. Closing Activity Monitor changes the docking icon to normal.

If you want to change the activity monitoring icon to normal while it is still running, right-click the Activity Monitor dock icon again and select “Dock Icon”> “Show Application Icon.”

When you’re done, it doesn’t hurt to stick around Activity Monitor a little more and explore its other options. You can see that it has many useful tricks up its sleeve.

RELATED: How to troubleshoot your Mac with Activity Monitor

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