How to Use the Netstat Command on Mac

In this content, I would be giving you detail on how to use the Netstat Command on Mac. Here I would be explaining the netstat terminal command on macOS to get you some detailed information about Mac’s network communications, which includes the ways your Mac is talking to the outside world, across all ports and all applications.

How to Use the Netstat Command on Mac

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How to Run Netstat

Learning how to make use of netstat can really help you understand just how connections on your computer work and why. The netstat command is available on macs by default. And you do not need to have it downloaded or installed.

To run netstat:

  • Head to Finder > Go > Utilities
  • After that Double-click “Terminal”
  • Then right in the new terminal window, type “netstat and then press “Return” to execute the command.
  • A huge amount of text would begin scrolling on your screen. If you do not make use of any of the available flags, netstat would report the active network connections on your mac. Considering the number of functions a modern network device performs, you should expect the list to be quite lengthy. A standard report can sometimes run over 1,000 lines.

Netstat Flags and Options

Filtering your netstat’s output is quite essential when it comes to understanding what is happening to your Mac’s active ports. Netstat’s built-in Flags would allow you to put options in place, bringing a limit to the command’s scope.

In other to see all the netstat’s available options, enter Man netstat at the command prompt in other to reveal netstat’s man page. Also, you can choose to view an online version of netstat’s man page.


It is very important that you note that netstat on macOS does not work the same way as netstat does on windows and Linux. Making use of flags or syntax from all those implementations of netstat might not result in the expected behavior.

In other to add the flags and options to netstat on macOS, make use of the following syntax: netstat [-AabdgiLlmnqrRsSvWx] [-c queue] [-f address_family] [-I interface] [-p protocol] [-w wait]

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Useful Flags

Here I would be giving you some of the most used flags:

  • -a includes server ports in netstat’s output, which would not be included in the default output
  • -g this displays details that have to do with multicast connections.
  • -I “interface” offers a packet of data for the specified interface. All the interfaces available can be viewed using the -i But en0 is typically the default outgoing network interface.
  • -n suppresses the label of remote addresses with names. This tends to speed up netstat’s output while taking out limited information
  • -p “protocol list traffic associated with a specific networking protocol. The whole list of protocols is available at /etc/protocols, but the ones that are most important are udp and tcp.
  • -r displays the routing table, entailing just how packets are routed around the network.
  • -s this entails the network statistics for all protocols, whether or not the protocols are active.
  • -v this brings about an increase in verbosity, specifically by adding a column showing the process ID (PID) associated with each open port.

Netstat Examples

Below are some examples you should consider:

netstat -apv TCP

This command returns only TCP connections on your Mac, which includes open ports and active ports. Also, it makes use of verbose output, listing the PIDs that is associated with each connection.

netstat -a | grep -i “listen”

This combination of netstat and grep reveals open ports, which are ports that are listening for a message. The pipe character | sends the output of one command to another. Here, the output of netstat pipes to grep allows you to search for the keyword “listen” and find the results.

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Can I Find out a MAC address with netstat?

You should be able to see a computer’s MAC address through netstat as the “local” address. It would be grouped with TCP and IP address.

How do I check if a port is open on my Mac?

Type “network utility” in the search field and then select network utility. Select port scan, and then enter an IP address or hostname in the text field, and then specify a port range. Click scan to start the test. If a TCP port is open, it would be shown here.

How do I Check Ports on a Mac?

You can find what ports are open on an OS X version of Mac fairly easy by following the steps highlighted below:

  • First, launch the “network utility,” located in the “utilities” folder in the “Applications” folder, and click “Port scan”
  • Enter your IP address and click on the “Scan” button

How do I open a TCP IP port on a Mac?

In other to change these preferences on your Mac, select Apple menu > System Preferences, click network, select a network service in the list found on the left, then click Advanced, then click TCP/IO. If you find a lock located at the bottom left of the network pane, click on it to unlock the preference pane.

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