Embedded Technology Guide Tech How to See What Ports Are Being Used Mac

How to See What Ports Are Being Used Mac


How to See What Ports Are Being Used on Mac

If you are a Mac user and want to see which ports on your system are being used, you have several options available. Ports are essential for communication between different devices and applications, and knowing which ports are being used can help troubleshoot network issues, identify running processes, or even enhance security measures. In this article, we will explore various methods for checking the ports currently in use on your Mac.

Method 1: Using the Terminal

The Terminal is a powerful tool on Mac that allows you to access the command-line interface. To see what ports are being used, follow these steps:

1. Open the Terminal: You can find it in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder, or simply use the Spotlight search by pressing Command + Space and typing “Terminal.”

2. Type the command: Once the Terminal is open, type the following command and press Enter:
lsof -i -P | grep -i “listen”
This command lists all open files (-i) using Internet protocols (-P) and filters for those that are in a listening state.

3. Review the results: The Terminal will display a list of processes and the ports they are using. The “PID” column represents the Process ID, and the “COMMAND” column shows the corresponding process name.

Method 2: Using the Network Utility

The Network Utility is a built-in macOS application that provides various network-related tools, including the ability to view open ports. Here’s how to access it:

1. Open Network Utility: Go to the Applications folder, open the Utilities folder, and double-click on Network Utility.

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2. Navigate to the “Port Scan” tab: Once the Network Utility is open, click on the “Port Scan” tab.

3. Enter the target IP address: In the “Enter the network address to scan” field, input either your local IP address or the IP address of the device you want to scan.

4. Click “Scan”: Click on the “Scan” button, and the Network Utility will start scanning for open ports on the specified IP address.

5. Review the results: The Network Utility will display a list of open ports on the device you scanned, along with their status (open or closed).


Q: Why do I need to know which ports are being used on my Mac?
A: Understanding which ports are being used can help diagnose connectivity issues, identify specific processes or applications using certain ports, and implement firewall rules or network security measures.

Q: Can I close or block certain ports on my Mac?
A: Yes, you can configure your Mac’s firewall settings to block or restrict access to specific ports. This can enhance your system’s security by preventing unauthorized access to certain services.

Q: Are all open ports on my Mac a security risk?
A: Open ports themselves are not necessarily a security risk. However, leaving unnecessary ports open can potentially provide an entry point for malicious attacks. It is recommended to close or restrict ports that are not actively used.

Q: How can I close or restrict ports on my Mac?
A: You can configure the built-in macOS firewall, known as “pf” (Packet Filter), or use third-party firewall software to close or restrict ports. Consult the official Apple support documentation or the user guide for your chosen firewall application for specific instructions.

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In conclusion, knowing which ports are being used on your Mac can be beneficial for troubleshooting purposes, enhancing security measures, or gaining insights into network activities. By utilizing the Terminal or the Network Utility, you can easily identify the processes using specific ports. Remember to exercise caution when making changes to your network settings and consult official documentation if uncertain.