How to monitor your bandwidth on your Mac

Earlier this evening, after booting up my MacBook, I saw my network monitor go crazy, and was just downloading something. This was very strange, as I didn’t have any apps running or even Firefox. So I put out a quick tweet, and got a few replies including one from AllanKent & Steph, who both suggested a programme called “Little Snitch

Little Snitch informs you whenever a program attempts to establish an outgoing Internet connection. You can then choose to allow or deny this connection, or define a rule how to handle similar, future connection attempts. This reliably prevents private data from being sent out without your knowledge. Little Snitch runs inconspicuously in the background and it can also detect network related activity of viruses, trojans and other malware.

I downloaded the demo version, which gives you 3 hours usage to try and see what was happening. Little Snitch then showed me that the there was a process called “SoftwareUpdateCheck” which was downloading something. After a quick Google search, it seems that this process can get a bit out of hand at times, with people complaining it uses up to 90% CPU at times. It looks like the Software Update app in my Preferences was trying to download the latest updates, and I had no idea. After checking out, there was a check box to automatically download updates. Unticked that, and BOOM! problem solved :)

I have to admit, that Little Snitch was a lifesaver this eve, and I am seriously contemplating buying a license to keep track of where my bandwidth is going. If you have a Mac, I highly suggest this app !!


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