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How to Lower Your Bandwidth Usage on Mac

Mac users looking to reduce their internet data usage should seek out different ways to reduce their internet bandwidth usage. The term “bandwidth” is referring to the total amount of data and information transferred between your computer and another, over either a computer network or an internet connection. Reading the tips in this article will help you learn how to reduce your bandwidth usage, in turn avoiding exceeding your data plan limit, which will end up costing you more.


The tips in this article are intended for users with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later versions. You can find your Mac’s software version by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Your Mac will tell you if you have an update available, and will also display the software version number.

  1. Enable Content Caching

Content caching is a macOS feature that saves content on your computer that your Mac has already downloaded. This also applies to other devices on the same network, such as other iOS devices like Apple TVs, etc. This reduces bandwidth usage and increases installations speeds on other compatible devices by storing things like software updates, applications, etc. on your Mac.  To enable content caching, complete the following:

  • Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  • On the drop-down menu, click System Preferences.
  • Then, click Sharing.
  • On the left side of the screen, you will see several services your Mac can perform. At the very bottom of the list, select Content Caching.
  • Restart your Mac and other compatible devices.

To see the amount of cached content that has been uploaded and downloaded over time, use your device’s Activity Monitor. You can find it under Applications > Utilities. You can also use Spotlight Search, the magnifying glass icon in the top right of your screen, to open it.


  1. Turn Off Automatic Software Updates

Disabling automatic software updates can help reduce your bandwidth. On your Mac, open System Preferences and then go to Software Update. Unselect the box named “Automatically keep my Mac up to date.” You will then be asked to enter your password. Don’t forget, you will have to update your Mac manually in the future.


  1. Disable Automatic App Updates

Disabling automatic app updates will help as well. Launch the App Store, then go to Preferences. Uncheck the “Automatic updates” box, and consider unchecking the “Video Autoplay” option as well. This will prevent your Mac from playing app preview clips automatically. Don’t forget to check for updates regularly, since your device will no longer run downloads in the background on its own.


  1. Secure Your Network

It is always a good idea to make sure your internet network is secure. It is recommended that your Wi-fi network be protected by a WPA2, or Wireless Protected Access 2, which is a wireless security protocol.

If your current network has WEP or WPA, be sure to change it to WPA2 for maximum security. You will need to have a router and wireless adapter that can support WPA2. Create a strong password for your network that no one can easily guess. Add numbers and capital letters to make it more difficult to crack.


  1. Use the Activity Monitor

Mac computers are outfitted with Activity Monitors, which enable you to easily track your data usage. You can check to see how much information your computer is sending out and receiving. To open Activity Monitor, go to Applications > Utilities. Click on the Network tab. You’ll be able to see which apps and other things use the most bandwidth.


  1. Disable My Photo Stream

Turning off My Photo Stream will help you reduce your bandwidth as well. Open System Preferences > iCloud, then click Options. Uncheck “My Photo Stream.” This will pause automatic imports, saving you bandwidth usage.


In conclusion, reducing your bandwidth usage will help you stay under your data limit and cut down your Internet usage. Try the steps in this article to adjust how much bandwidth you’re using. Don’t forget to keep track of your usage by using the Activity Monitor on your Mac, and make small adjustments if needed to minimize your usage.

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