Apple Wi-Fi Diagnostics

Apple’s newest operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, hides a hidden application that allows the user to monitor and diagnose their wi-fi connection. The application, called Wi-Fi Diagnostics, is hidden in the CoreServices folder. To get the application, simply open your hard drive and you will find the System folder. From there follow the path below to find the Wi-Fi Diagnostics application.

/System/Library/CoreServices/Wi-Fi Diagnostics.app

Once launched, the Wi-Fi Diagnostics application gives you 4 options:

Monitor Performance

Wi-Fi Diagnostic Monitor Performance

Monitor Performance displays a graph of network signal strength, noise level, transmit power, and data rate. Information such as Country Code, SSID, Channel, txPower, txRate, Signal, and Noise are logged and displayed in the area at the top of the window with each line representing a single sampling. The graph below shows a running representation of the wi-fi networks signal and noise measured in dBm. Clicking the Continue button brings the user to a screen where they can export the report either to the Finder desktop or send it the report in an email. Clicking the back button will return you to the original menu.

Record Events

This option detects and reports dropped network connections, roaming, and other network events, such as connecting to or disconnecting from a network or network device. Clicking the Continue button brings the user to a screen where they can export the report either to the Finder desktop or send the report in an email. Clicking the back button will return you to the original menu.

Capture Raw Frames

Wi-Fi Diagnostics Capture Raw Frames

The Capture Raw Frames option captures all network traffic on the Wi-Fi interface.

Several options are available in this mode.

  • Capture data sent and received on the network
  • Capture data sent and received on my computer
  • Capture data from all nearby networks

There is also a checkbox for Disconnect from the network and capture only data from channel and then a drop-down menu to select the channel.

You’ve selected your option(s), simply click the Start Capturing button to begin the raw frame capture and you will be prompted on the following screen to select to either save the report to the Finder desktop or send it in an email.

Turn on Debug Logs

This option provides specific details of every wireless connection. When clicking the Start Logging button, you will be prompted to enter an administrator password. Logging will then begin with any events showing in the log. Clicking the Continue button allows you to export the report to the desktop or an email.

19 comments

  1. Neem Nyma

    still can’t find the hidden password on my mac os lion for the house wifi

    • SubRosaSoft.com Inc.

      This app isn’t a password cracker. Just a diagnostic utility. For wifi password security testing, checkout KisMAC.

  2. Instead of adding a new app what about fixing the wifi so it stays connected all the time, I have to turn wifi on/off 50 times a day!

    • that means your router is at fault.

      • I would believe that answer if my android phone didn’t lose wifi connection when my mac did. Also, my Snow Leopard laptop doesn’t lose wifi either whilst my Lion iMac does. I don’t think its my router that is the problem. Also when I go round my mum’s house, my same Snow Leopard laptop can pickup and hold a wifi connection while my mum’s Lion laptop.. can’t! Her laptop has to be connected to the router via an ethernet cable.

        • change channel !
          it’s a common problem where there are other nearby networks using the same channel. change it on the config page of your router

  3. I am running 10.7.4 and have no CoreServices folder in my Library folder.

    • SubRosaSoft.com Inc.

      Goto /System/Library/CoreService It’s there. Without it, your Mac wouldn’t boot as all the core functionality of the operating system and the Finder is stored there. Chances are you are inside /Library/ or /Users/YourUsername/Library

  4. I just found out this was available from the desktop by holding down the option key before clicking on the wifi icon (currently using Mountain Lion). Holding down the option key to view the connection speed of the current wifi was recommended by another site, and I noticed adds an “Open WiFi Diagnostics” option to the bottom of the WiFi list, under “Join Other Network” and “Create Network”.

  5. Phil Kingston

    You can also get to this program by Option-clicking the WiFi status icon on the menu bar. There are lots of menu bar icons that provide alternative or additional menus when Option-clicked.

  6. Robert Franz

    It doesn’t work anyway.

    Look at the signal strength and it’s obviously fatally flawed.

    We have multiple AP’s squawking the same ssid.

    According to this utility, there is a one point difference in rf between the AP sitting on a desk 6 feet away, and the rf from the AP a floor down and 100′ away on the other side of multiple doors.

    I call BS on this app.

  7. I cant connect my mac os x 10.7 to my ubee router. I have mi laptop and my galaxy conected to this router without any problem. Who could i conect it?

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  10. Tim Coutts

    The WiFi Diagnostic tool worked beautifully for me yesterday. This morning, I received a software update notification from Apple and duly installed 10.8.4. When I came to use the tool while fiddling around with my network this morning, I was horrified to find that the View menu had gone and I was unable to see the graph of the S/N information and was unable to quantify the performance. Any input on this would be much appreciated.

  11. - Is there any reliabiliy or performance tests integrated in the tool? I mean does the tool send and receive packets itself as well or just collects the regular packets?
    - Is it possible to monitor the reliability and performance of the network for a week with fixed time stamps e.g. 2 mins?

  12. Montgomery Newcom

    For OS X 10.8.4, select Window -> Utilities, to view Performance graphs.

  13. On a 10.9.1 “Mavericks” system you will find it here:
    System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Wireless Diagnostics.app

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