sysctl - macOS


sysctl is a command-line utility for viewing and modifying system parameters in macOS. It provides a convenient way to adjust kernel settings, network configurations, and other system-level options.


sysctl [-a | -A | -n | -e | -p] [-w key=value] [-s key] [key...]


  • -a, -A: Display all system parameters.
  • -n: Suppress printing of parameter names (display values only).
  • -e: Display only error messages.
  • -p: Print in the same format as “sysctl -w key” to simplify scripting.
  • -s key: Set the specified parameter to the given value.
  • -w key=value: Modify the specified parameter with the given value.


Get all system parameters:

sysctl -a

Get the value of a specific parameter:

sysctl kern.hostname

Set a specific parameter:

sudo sysctl -w kern.hostname=new-hostname

Print the current value of a modified parameter:

sysctl kern.hostname

Common Issues

  • Permission denied: When trying to modify a parameter, ensure you have sufficient privileges (e.g., root or sudo).
  • Syntax errors: Verify that the command syntax is correct and the specified parameters are valid.


With other commands:

  • Use with grep to filter results based on keywords: sysctl -a | grep memory
  • Combine with awk to extract specific values: sysctl -a | awk '{print $2}'

With third-party tools:

  • Integrate with network monitoring tools like Nagios or Zabbix to monitor system parameters.