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What options are there for free or inexpensive software to track software usage (launch count and usage duration) on Mac OS X?


locked by HopelessN00b Mar 14 '15 at 16:25

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closed as off-topic by masegaloeh, HopelessN00b Mar 14 '15 at 15:53

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I don't have an answer for you but I am very curious about your reasons for wanting it. – John Gardeniers Oct 8 '09 at 20:40
I work for a K12 organization that has upwards of one hundred supported apps on multiple platforms. We are trying to get together a listing of how often these apps are used so we can try and get some of them off the supported apps list. – Scott Keck-Warren Oct 16 '09 at 13:32
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It would be good to know what your purpose for this is. Are you just tracking it on a single workstation where the primary user knows and wants to be tracked, or are you tracking it across a lab of workstations where users don't know they're being tracked?

If it's the former, then you might try Onlife (might be defunct), Log Application Usage, or myMacTime.

If it's the latter, you could use sLife (mentioned in another answer). If you want a free, self-contained, and truly scalable solution, set up Net-SNMP on your workstations. You can query a list of running processes on the machine remotely using the prTable entries. Some monitoring software, such as Zenoss, can track how many instances of certain processes are running at any given time (and how much processor load and memory they're using). You could also write a simple script to query and tally the results in the format you need.

We are trying to track several labs of computers and some laptops. – Scott Keck-Warren Oct 16 '09 at 13:33


WINDOWS AND MAC... sLife is pretty cool (Free [basic account] and Open Source). It logs the time spent on:

  • Applications
  • Websites (URLs)
  • Documents

With a running application that securely uploads these info to your account on their website, which is "accessible by you and no one else".

The paid versions (Plus, Premium, and 'Teams Edition') include Unlimited data and backups, real-time activity tracking, privacy controls, visual analytics and technical support.

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ManicTime (similar to sLife)

(But like sLife, it tracks the foreground application, not all of them)


Remember your running on Unix now so the simplest and cheapest solution would be to write a shell script that logs a user's processes. Set it to run on log in and sample every 30 seconds or so. You can then process those logs into a format that is easy to read in spreadsheet.

I believe that Apple Remote Desktop has a logging function as well. If you don't have it, don't have the budget for it and you just need it for a short term project, contact your Apple Sales rep and see if you can't get a demo license. That would give you enough time to find out which apps you need.


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