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Mac Tip: View Your System Uptime In Terminal

Posted in How To on 26/02/2012 by Mark Greentree

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This Mac tip is provided by Mark Greentree and was originally posted on Mark’s blog – Everyday Mac Support. For more of Mark’s tips visit his site, follow him on Twitter, or browse his archive of posts here.


How To: View Your System Uptime In Terminal

Users of application utilities such as iStat Menus will already note they can access their uptime statistics from the Menu Bar.

Anyone without an application can use the Terminal. Navigate to Applications > Terminal. Upon launch simply type: uptime

Then press enter and the following information will be presented:

You will notice on the third line that your uptime has been presented. We will now take a look at the different areas:

7:58  up  1:54, 3 users, load averages: 1.50 1.66 1.77

7:58 is simply the current time the request has been made.

up 1:54 indicates the time your computer has been turned on since it was last started. In this example 1 hour and 54 minutes. If you put your computer to sleep without shutting down or restarting, your uptime will continue to increase and present days after exceeding 24 hours of uptime.

3 users may be a little concerning but don’t confuse this figure as being three independent user accounts. One of the users is assigned to your graphical login. The other two are because I have two Terminal windows open. If I opened a third the number would then change to 4 users.

load averages: 1.50 1.66 1.77 are figures which tell a user the how much work their system is currently doing on average. It is measured from left to right in one, five, and fifteen minute intervals. It is a good indication to tell if you are exceeding the available performance of your computer. The figures above are from a dual-core CPU and as such being under 2.0 indicate that all requested processes were completed without a bottleneck being created, thereby not slowing down performace. Should this exceed 2.0 then you will start to notice a slow down in system performance as queues will be created for processing. If this occurs on a regular basis it is one way of indicating you need a more power system and an upgrade would be worthwhile to your workflow.



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  • http://americanphotographygroup.ryanvonschwedler.com/ Ryan

    Excellent article, thanks. I searched Google for “mac uptime” to find out what each part of that command means, particularly regarding load averages. From this, what I take away is that, with a four core processor, my average load should be below 4.0 at every interval. Thanks!

Author

Mark Greentree

Mark Greentree is the principle blogger and podcast creator of Everyday Mac Support. His aim is to inform users at all levels of experience how to get the most out of the Apple hardware and associated software. He is the lead host of Not Another Mac Podcast, an Apple based round table discussion with Mac users and experts from all over world.