I’ve found myself tethering to my iPhone from either my MacBook or iPad more and more over the last month or so.
I’ve got a very generous data allowance with my service provider, however, it’s still crucial that I don’t accidentally allow an application to use more data than I’m comfortable with. As vital as Backblaze is to my backup workflow, I don’t want it sending data whilst I’m on the train!
True, I could spend time in those individual apps and pause the syncing - Dropbox is another great example - yet a central application that manages this for me is what I need and that’s what I have with TripMode
With TripMode, no application can access your network connection without you explicitly saying so. It sits in the menu bar and monitors for requests to send/receive data. When an unchecked application makes an attempt, the icon flashes red, so you know that it’s working.
Allowing applications is a simple process. Click the menu bar icon to view a list and click the check box to permit as you feel appropriate. You will also see the amount of data that an application has used in the current session - although this can be changed to show the totals for the day, as well as the current month. I’d love to see a weekly option here as well. I set myself allowances and targets on a weekly basis for data and it would be good to see how much data I have remaining for the week. Maybe in a future release.
Another great feature of TripMode is the ability to create Profiles. A profile contains settings for allowed/blocked applications as well as your own personally defined data caps.
When you run TripMode for the first time, a Default Profile is created and any changes you make from the menu bar icon will be reflected immediately in this profile. If you open up the Preferences menu for TripMode and click on the Profiles tab, you have the ability to switch profiles Automatically. I have activated this setting, as this allows TripMode to automatically switch profiles based on the network connection I am currently using. As you can see from the screenshot below, when I tether to my iPhone, I have set a weekly cap of 5GB of data to be transmitted. When the total reaches 4GB, a warning will pop up alerting me to this fact. It’s a weekly cap because I’ve set the renewal period as Weekly (there are also options for manual, daily and monthly). This is great because it allows me to ‘set it and forget it’ in true automation style.
Next to the Monitoring tab is the Application tab and from here, I can define the applications that are permitted on the iPhone USB connection. The benefits to this are obvious on a cellular connection however if you look, you’ll also see that I have profiles for my current contracting clients network (CDP Guest WiFi) and my home network (LKSLA Secured 2 5GHz). Whilst I’m not as interested in the amount of data that is being transferred whilst on these networks per se, I am interested in ensuring that the correctapplications have enough bandwidth to do what they need to do. The CDP Guest Wi-Fi network can get very congested when there are lots of people in the office so when I’m using applications that have a very strong reliance on internet connectivity, I need to deactivate applications that may be getting in the way - so this profile only applications that I need to get that particular job done.
Oh, and Apple Music. I need music to work.
Within Preferences, there is also an Advanced tab that defines how you treat local traffic. By default, all data that enters and leaves your computer will count against the data totals. In the same vein, it doesn’t count loopback traffic (network traffic from your computer to your computer). If you are not fussed about monitoring all data that doesn’t pass through your local internet gateway/router, then you can change this behaviour by checking the Treat local as loopback checkbox. If you do have a concern, you can Block loopback traffic and add whitelisted application exemptions.