Get Detailed WiFi Info From the Menu Bar in Mac OS X

Jun 15, 2011 - 10 Comments

Extended WiFi Networking Data

You can retrieve extended wireless connectivity data and details from anywhere within Mac OS X by using a nifty trick that toggles the Wi-Fi menu bar item to display additional specifics about any wireless router. To do this, hold down the Option key and then click on the WiFi menu icon found on the Mac.

Find Extended Wi-Fi Network Details on the Mac

Option-clicking the wi-fi menu will display a sub menu under your active wifi connection that shows the following details:

  • what wireless band you are using (PHY Mode)
  • the routers SSID (BSSID)
  • what channel the wireless router is using
  • which encryption method (Security)
  • signal strength (RSSI)
  • the transmit rate
  • MCS index (details about MCS? Let us know)

You can also hover the mouse over other listed SSID’s to see a slightly more condensed version of this information for the additional networks.

All of this can be helpful for avoiding potential channel conflicts, or when troubleshooting wireless problems. And yes, I called it the WiFi menu rather than AirPort, since from Lion forward has moved away from the AirPort references, at least in regard to the menubar. That has stuck with all new versions of OS X and will continue forward, be it Mavericks or whatever other version you’re in.

This trick works in all semi-recent versions of OS X, so it almost doesn’t matter what version of the operating system you’re running on your Mac, you’ll be able to find these additional Wi-Fi details from the menubar item.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

10 Comments

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  1. This will be really useful.
    Thank you!

  2. Joseph says:

    In Lion there’s a new “Wi-Fi Diagnostics” in that menu. Pretty interesting.

  3. adrian5632 says:

    Looks like this works also for the Bluetooth and Sound menus.

  4. […] ones and that is about it. Now click on the menubar icon with the Option key pressed. Our thanks to OS X Daily for that […]

  5. Mathew says:

    Just checked on Snow Leopard, works on loads of the menus, time machine, audio, bluetooth, sound, battery wifi etc

  6. dt says:

    this doesn’t seem to work with my computer. no response from holding down the option key (running tiger 10.4.11)

  7. […] from finding currently available networks, and you won’t recover historical data from the menu bar item or otherwise excellent OS X wi-fi scanner tool. We’ll cover two simple ways to find this […]

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