Quick Tip: Activity Monitor Dock Icon

ActivityMonitorIcon

I’m sorta picky about what I put in my Menu Bar. It probably stems from my MacBook’s 13″ screen turning pixels into a premium. Whatever the case, I audit the icons that are displayed there on a regular basis. If this sounds remotely familiar, the following tip may be a good way to remove System Usage info from the Menu Bar (if you use something like iStat Menus, for example).

The Apple-provided Activity Monitor (found in /Applications/Utilities) is a great source of information about how your system is currently running. Often, when I have a system slow down, or the fan’s running abnormally, a quick peek at Activity Monitor can pinpoint the application that’s gone rogue on me. But better yet, if you don’t want to keep it in view all the time, you can set Activity Monitor to display a selected bit of system info in place of its Dock icon.

activity monitor dock

It’s a simple setup, you just have to know that the feature is available.

With Activity Monitor open, select the View menu, and then Dock Icon. There are 5 options to view in the Dock Icon:

  1. CPU Usage
  2. CPU History
  3. Network Usage
  4. Disk Activity
  5. Memory Usage

activity monitor dock icon right clickThe CPU Usage display is the cleanest looking by far, while the rest are high contrast line graph style views. I’ll point out too (and this is only tested in Snow Leopard, but I’m guessing it’s valid for Leopard too) that you can right click (or CMD click) the Activity Monitor icon in the Dock, and the same Dock Icon menu is available from there.

You can’t monitor everything at once this way, but if — for example — your CPU seems to be running slow, watching that for a little while may be helpful to you. Of course if you hide your Dock it’s not immediately available all the time, but it still saves you some clutter in your Menu Bar.

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