5 Tips & Tricks to Help You Save Data on Mac

Is your Mac consuming an excessive amount of internet data? There are a few techniques to save data on a Mac. They essentially consist of deactivating some automated downloads and closing syncing apps.

If you’re using a restricted internet connection, a tethered mobile connection, or a VPN with a limited data allowance, you may wish to optimize your Mac’s data usage.

Regardless, this article will teach you how to optimize your Mac’s online data usage.

Disable Automatic Software Updates

Downloading macOS software updates frequently consumes a large amount of data. To save data on your Mac, you should disable automatic update downloads.

You can always manually check for macOS and other updates when you have a faster connection. To prevent automatic update downloads, follow these steps:

  • Select System Preferences by clicking the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
  • Click Software Update in System Preferences.
  • At the bottom of the next window, click the Advanced button.
  • Uncheck the option to download new updates when they become available.
  • To save your settings, click OK.
  • Disable Mac update downloads

save data on a Mac

From now on, your Mac will not look for new software updates automatically. To manually locate these updates on your Mac, navigate to System Preferences > Software Update.

Turn off iCloud Sync

If you utilize iCloud sync with your Mac, it is conceivable that your Mac automatically syncs all of your Documents and other files with iCloud’s servers. This consumes a substantial amount of data, particularly when syncing large photographs and videos.

Fortunately, iCloud lets you choose which object to sync and allows you to disable huge items:

  • Select System Preferences by clicking the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  • From the System Preferences window, select Apple ID.
  • On the left, click iCloud.
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save data on a Mac

  • Uncheck the boxes next to the items you don’t want to sync with your iCloud account on the right pane. Photos can consume a significant amount of internet data, so be sure to uncheck that option.

Prevent Downloads of Email Attachments

When you get a new email containing an attachment, the majority of email clients will download it automatically. This consumes internet data on your Mac, therefore you should disable it and download attachments judiciously if you want to preserve data.

Most email applications allow you to toggle the ability to download email attachments on and off. On the Mac, you can disable this option via the built-in Mail app:

  • On your Mac, open the Mail application.
  • Select Preferences from the Mail menu bar.
  • In the newly opened window, click the Accounts tab.
  • From the list on the left, select your email account.
  • Select None from the Download Attachments drop-down menu in the right pane.

save data on a Mac

With automatic attachment downloads disabled, you’ll need to download the attachments from the emails you want manually.

Disable Sync Options for Individual Apps

Along with iCloud, you may have installed additional programs that synchronize your Mac’s data with the cloud. Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box are just a few examples. To conserve data on your Mac, you should disable synchronization in these programs.

Note: Disabling sync in these programs prevents data from being uploaded to the cloud from your Mac.

Follow these steps to disable Google Drive sync:

  • In the menu bar of your Mac, click the Google Drive icon.
  • Next to your account name, click the three-dots icon.
  • From the menu, choose Pause.
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save data on a Mac

Google Drive should cease file synchronization. To re-enable sync, simply click the same three-dots button and select Resume.

Watch Low-Resolution Videos

Online videos consume a substantial amount of data. While you may not choose to quit watching movies on the internet in order to conserve data, you can adjust their resolution to consume fewer data.

When viewing a video website, click the video resolution option and select a lesser resolution. In this manner, your video will play at a lesser quality, perhaps allowing you to save a significant amount of data.

On YouTube, you can adjust the resolution of a video as follows:

  • Navigate to the YouTube website for your video.
  • Click the gear icon at the bottom of the video.
  • From the selection that appears, choose Quality.

save data on a Mac

  • Select a resolution that is lower than the one you are currently using. For instance, if you’re currently watching videos in 1080p, set your new resolution to 720p or lower.
  • Your video will play in the resolution you specify.


If your internet plan is restricted or your VPN has data constraints, the strategies listed above should help you save data on your Mac. All of these approaches are simple to implement, and you should notice a large reduction in data usage after implementing them.