As you might expect, reducing internet usage on Inmarsat BGAN terminals is critical to controlling your budget.   In order to achieve that you need to make changes to your Mac's configuration.  So, here are some simple changes to reduce unnecessary background programs:

Reducing internet usage by Macintosh computers

  1. In System Preferences > App Store, uncheck automatic updates.
  2. In System Preferences > Internet Accounts > iCloud, uncheck “Photos”.
  3. Turn off automatic download for email attachments. (You will still be able to read the text of  emails and manually download attachments.)  From the Apple Mail program, go to the Mail menu and select “Preferences”.  Click on the “Accounts” icon and “Advanced” tab.  Uncheck “Automatically download all attachments”.
  4. Turn off automatic email checking.  Go to the Mail menu and select “Preferences”.  Click on the “General” icon change the “Check for new messages” setting to “Manually”.
  5. Web browsing consumes a lot of data traffic.  Outfitter Satellite can enable web compression at the Inmarsat PoP.  This service pre-compresses graphics before they are downloaded.  Basic compression is free on most service plans and available upon request.
  6. Pause or disable syncing of archival programs or cloud-based file servers:
    1. For example, if you use Carbonite or other archival software, pause it in System Preferences.
    2. Also, if you use Dropbox, click the Dropbox icon on your menu bar and select “Pause syncing”.
    3. If you use iCloud Drive, go to System Preferences > iCloud and uncheck iCloud Drive.

Remember, while iCloud Drive is disabled any files on your iCloud Drive will cease to be accessible to the apps on your Mac.  So, remember to make local copies of any files you expect to need prior to turning iCloud Drive off.  While iCloud Drive is disabled, you still can access the files by going to and using the iCloud Drive app. 

More ways of reducing internet usage on your Macintosh

  1. First, before starting a data session via the IsatHub or BGAN terminal, always do a Force Quit on all programs except your email client and web browser.
  2. Refrain from streaming any type of web-based audio or video content, such as YouTube.  Video consumes a very large amount of data.
  3. Outfitter Satellite can enable web compression that occurs before the websites you are viewing are downloaded over the Inmarsat service.
  4. Of course, keep your internet sessions short and disconnect immediately when you finish.
  5. Use a firewall.   On most plans, Outfitter Satellite can enable a firewall at the Inmarsat PoP that limits the types of data traffic allowed.  In particular, the Terralink Data Manager service has a configurable firewall, near realtime traffic logs for voice and data usage, and web compression and filtering controls.  Hardware-based firewalls like the Optimizer hotspot are also available but this does increase the amount of equipment you must carry into the field.

Do you have more suggestions?

The Macintosh operating system changes continuously.  If you have suggestions for reducing unnecessary data usage on a Macintosh, please comment on this blog.   We will test your ideas and pass them along to other readers.