Monday, December 11, 2023

Where Have the Network Tools Gone?

Howard Oakley:

When writing about network tools available in macOS just eight years ago, I identified three GUI apps:

  • Network Utility, tucked away in /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications,
  • Wireless Diagnostics, accessed via the WiFi menu,
  • Network Diagnostics, hidden in /System/Library/CoreServices.

It seems strange that of those three, only one has survived into Sonoma.


In Apple’s current support documents, there appears to be no mention of diagnosing network problems except those for WiFi, although Apple sells three models with Ethernet ports fitted as standard (Mac mini, Mac Studio and Mac Pro).

I don’t know why Apple wants us to go back to using command-line tools.

Howard Oakley:

Much of network diagnosis could also be automated, rather than relegated to the command line. Those users who currently struggle to work out why Safari isn’t able to connect to a website could initiate a series of checks, delivering a list of suggestions as to what to try next.

In other areas, adding a layer of simplicity over generic tools like Console can go a long way to revealing the cause of errors that currently only get recorded in the log.


For the first 17 years of the Mac there was no Terminal, and people bought Apple’s products on the strength of their human interface. If a feature is worth building into macOS, then that alone justifies providing an accessible means of using it.


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I wrote a simple network monitor app called "DerPinger" that integrates functionality of some of the command-line tools. It is currently in beta-testing and free to use:

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