How to Reduce Mobile Data Usage on iPhone While Using Personal Hotspot on Your Mac

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 11 Nov 2016


When you’re tethering your iPhone to your Mac, trying to get some work done, it’s very easy to lose sight of what’s actually going in your Mac, silently, in the background. Dropbox might be running, syncing your files, so might iCloud Drive. Adobe might be downloading an update. An app might be syncing its own app data. And all of that is eating up data – your precious, expensive cellular data.

Sure, you can do that dance where you spend 5 minutes checking and rechecking that every possible culprit is turned off. Only to find that App Store was running, downloading OS updates. If you’re smart about it, you’re going to want a solution that, in true Apple fashion, just works. Tripmode is just that.

What is Tripmode

Tripmode is a little menu bar utility that identifies when you’re using a tethered connection, and automatically turns off internet access to the usual culprits – iCloud Drive, Dropbox, App Store and more.

The app is available for $7.99 from the developer’s website. There’s also a 7 days unlimited trial. After which, the app is limited to 15 minutes of use a day.


The app is not available in the Mac App Store because it uses Kernel Extension to automatically disable internet access for some specific apps. The developer states that it doesn’t collect any data. To install Tripmode, you need to download the installation file from the website and go through the installation wizard.tripmode-3

How To Use Tripmode

Once Tripmode is installed and opened, it will show up as a menu bar utility (and that’s it). Its icon is that of a train on the tracks, coming right at you.

When you click the icon, you’ll see a drop-down.


From the top-left edge, you can toggle Tripmode for the current Wi-Fi connection. And once you do that, Tripmode will remember it and activate Tripmode automatically whenever you connect to that network (and deactivate it whenever you leave the said network and go back to your normal internet connection).

Below you’ll see a list of apps and utilities. There’s a checkmark next to each. Click on the checkmark to enable internet access to the app. You an also monitor that particular app’s usage by looking at its data consumption on the right hand side.

At the bottom you’ll see how much data has been used in this session. You can click there to change to today or last month.

Download: Tripmode

Alternative: Just For Monitoring

smartapp for mac

If you don’t want the fancy auto disable features of Tripmode but just want to see how much data is consumed when you’re tethering, check out a free menu bar app called smartapp. It will show daily stats for network usage, with an app usage breakdown.

Download: smartapp

Your Favorite Tech Travel Tips

If you travel a lot with your Mac, Tripmode is a must have. What other travel tips and tricks do you have to share? Feel free to comment below.