kextstat - macOS


The kextstat command in macOS is used to display status information about kernel extensions (kexts). It provides details on all loaded kernel extensions, including their version, load address, and dependencies. This command is particularly useful for system administrators and developers who need to troubleshoot kernel extension issues or verify loading behaviors.


The basic syntax for kextstat is as follows:

kextstat [options] [kext_ids...]
  • kext_ids: Optional. Specifies one or more IDs of kernel extensions to display status for. If no IDs are provided, kextstat displays information for all loaded kexts.


  • -h or --help: Show help message and exit.
  • -l: Display the load addresses of the kexts. This is useful for debugging.
  • -b: Show only bundle identifiers. This simplifies the output, focusing it on the identifiers, which can be useful in scripts.


kextstat -l

Displays all loaded kernel extensions including their load addresses.


  1. Basic Usage: Display all loaded kernel extensions.
  2. Filter by ID: Display information only for the kernel extension with a specific ID.
    kextstat -b
  3. Load Addresses: Show load addresses along with other information.
    kextstat -l

Common Issues

  • Permission Error: Running kextstat without sufficient permissions may result in incomplete outputs. Ensure you have administrative rights or use sudo if necessary.
  • Output Overload: Without parameter filtering, kextstat can produce an overwhelming amount of information. Use specific IDs or other options like -b to narrow down the output.


kextstat can be integrated with other commands for powerful insights:

  • Piping with grep: To find a specific kext by name.
    kextstat | grep "AppleFileSystemDriver"
  • Scripting: Use kextstat in a bash script to monitor and log loaded kexts as part of system diagnostics.
echo "Checking kernel extensions..."
kextstat -l > /var/log/kext_status.log
  • kextload: Loads kernel extensions.
  • kextunload: Unloads kernel extensions.
  • kextfind: Finds kernel extensions based on criteria.
  • system_profiler: Provides detailed system report, can include kext information.

For more detailed information, refer to the macOS Kernel Extension Programming Guide or the Apple Developer Documentation.