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Monitoring System Activity on the Command Line

Last updated 2013-12-29 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to, Optimization

Monitoring performance in Terminal can be useful for diagnosing performance issues, using the top and vm_stat tools (and iostat for disk I/O).

These tools are used in a Terminal window. The most useful tool is top, which can be left running continually, refreshing the window at regular intervals.

top

Show top 10 processes by CPU usage every 2 seconds, with data collected every 5 seconds:

top -o cpu -s 2 -i 5
Show top 10 processes by real memory every 2 seconds:

top -o rsize -s 2

'top' display by CPU usage

vm_stat

The vm_stat tool also provides some useful statistics on the use of real memory, compressed memory and virtual memory.

'vm_stat' output

iostat

The iostat tool also provides statistics on disk I/O.

Show up to 16 drives every 2 seconds:

iostat -w 2 -n 16

iostat output at 2-second intervals
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