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AppleHow to view a system log on Mac

How to view a system log on Mac

The more technologically advanced modern computers become, the more often they have different bugs and errors. The possibilities of modern computers are incredibly wide, you can do anything with a computer. This can often cause conflicts between applications and even within the system itself. All such errors are recorded in special documents called logs. Macs have this feature

There are system logs on your Mac that will help you to keep track of and diagnose errors on your computer. They are stored as text documents on your Mac’s system drive. And the macOS even has a special application for viewing such documents.

How to view system logs in the Console app

The easiest way to find the system logs is to use the Console application. It’s really not that difficult. You just need to :

  • Start Console, which you can do by searching Spotlight by pressing Command+Space, type “Console” then press Enter
  • You can also find the Console app by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Console
  • By default, when you go to the application you will see a list of console messages from your computer
  • To see only error messages you can check “Errors and Faults
  • You can also use the search box to find the type of error you want

All other logs are available in the Reports section. To see the application’s crash and hang logs you need to go into System Reports or User Reports, depending on the type of your application. Such logs will normally be shown with a .crash, .diag, and .spin extension. Click them to view them in the Information pane.

How to copy logs to a text document

You can copy all the data from the logs into a text document, and you can pass the information to the developers to analyze it and make it easier for them to fix the bugs. For this you need:

  • Click on the Edit option
  • Then select Select All to select all the messages in the current screen
  • Next you need to go to Edit again and then select Copy to copy them to the clipboard
  • Next, open TextEdit. You can do this by pressing Command+Space, typing “TextEdit” and pressing Enter
  • Here create a new text document
  • Then press Edit > Paste to paste all the copied text
  • Click File > Save to save the text file

How to Find a Log File on Disk

Journals are text files, you can find them simply on your Mac’s local drive. You can navigate to them in the Finder or through the Terminal. The paths to finding them are :

  • System log folder: /var/log
  • System Log: /var/log/system.log
  • Mac Analytics data: /var/log/DiagnosticMessages
  • System Application Logs: /Library/Logs
  • System reports: /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
  • User Application Logs: ~/Library/Logs (in other words, /Users/NAME/Library/Logs)
  • User reports: ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports (in other words, /Users/NAME/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports)

If you need to find one of these folders, you can also open the Console. Right-click one of the logs or folders in the sidebar and select “Reveal in Finder” to view its location on the disk.



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