If you want to monitor your iPhone or remote computer, there aren't many options for the iPhone. In fact, there's really no single app that's worthy of being called the best. As a result, we're offering two: iStat if you're monitoring a Mac or iPhone, and PC Monitor if you're monitoring a Windows or Linux machine.
- Remotely monitor CPU, memory, disks, temperatures, fans, uptime and load averages of any Mac
- See your iPhone's stats for memory, disk space, Wi-Fi and IP addresses, uptime and load averages, plus view and copy your iPhone's Unique ID and MAC address
- iStat includes detailed battery stats for your iPhone or iPod touch. It shows battery percentage, as well as how much time is remaining for various tasks such as making calls, using the internet, watching videos and listening to music
- Ping and traceroute tools built-in
- Remotely monitors CPU temperature, network status, RAM usage and much more on Windows and Linux PCs
- Remotely run Windows Update
- Remotely restart/shutdown/suspend/hibernate your computer
- Easily configurable
- Communication is encrypted
- Remotely control virtual machines
- Flexible notifications system so you're informed of problems
- Apps available for other platforms, like Android and Windows Phone 7
If you want comprehensive information about your iPhone, iStat is the way to go. It gives you comprehensive information about disk usage, battery charge, network info, and even provides handy buttons to copy your IP and MAC addresses. It also provides a full list of processes running on your device, plus estimates (in hours and minutes) of talk and standby time so you know your current battery life in practical terms.
iStat is also great for remote systems monitoring, if you have a Mac. (Technically it also works with Linux and Solaris machines but PC Monitor also works with Linux and is a better option.) By installing a free server app, you can monitor temperatures, RAM usage, disk usage, fan speeds, network activity and much more all from your phone. It takes about 10 seconds to set up and is organised very nicely. While not a necessity, iStat has a beautiful interface.
PC Monitor is phenomenal thanks to its feature set. It can control practically everything on your Windows or Linux PC — even virtual machines. But more practically, you can remotely run updates, restart any computer on your network, and much more. It's a really great way to control your computer from your phone, and would be our top pick if it also worked with Macs.
The biggest disadvantage of both apps is that they don't support all platforms. PC Monitor is a phenomenal remote systems management and control tool and it would be awesome if it were on the Mac as well. While iStat is good for monitoring your remote Mac, it just doesn't have the amazing feature set that comes with PC Monitor. And, of course, iStat only works on Mac, Linux and Solaris computers.
Competition is pretty sparse in this category. System Info and System Info Free (which are both free and separate apps) monitor your iPhone. System Info doesn't provide much data outside of disk usage and battery life, plus it's pretty poorly designed, so it's not really worth downloading. System Info Free offers additional stats, like memory usage and processes and doesn't cost anything. If you only want to monitor your iPhone and not a remote system, System Info Free is a decent alternative.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.