Monitor Data & Network Usage on a Mac
Use a free desktop based bandwidth monitor like SurplusMeter, it sits in your Mac menu bar and keeps an eye on data use for you. Use this in combination with watching data usage directly on the iOS device for best results, as there may be some discrepancies and it’s always better to err on the side of caution with Personal Hotspot to avoid an overage fee.
Monitor Data Usage on iPhone or iPad
The first thing you’ll want to do is keep an eye on how much data you’re using. The easiest way to do this is directly on the iOS device that is sharing it’s internet connection through Personal Hotspot:
Open Settings and tap on “General”- tap on “Usage”-Scroll down and tap on “Cellular Usage”-“Cellular Network Data”-tap on “Reset Statistics”.
Disable Mac OS X Software Update Automatic Downloads
Open System Preferences and click on “Software Update”
Uncheck the box next to “Download updates automatically”
You can also go a step further and disable the scheduled update checks completely at the same option screen.
Turn Off iCloud and Dropbox Syncing
Temporarily disable cloud syncing apps like Dropbox and iCloud, or else they will continue syncing changes to their respective servers, slowly whittling away your allocated cellular data plan. You can pause syncing from Dropbox by pulling down the Dropbox menu and selection the “Pause Syncing” option, and to turn off iCloud syncing features:
Listen to Music from Local iTunes Library Rather than Pandora, Spotify, or Streaming Services
Avoid streaming music services while using Wi-Fi Hotspot and instead listen to your local iTunes music library. If you have a MacBook Air with limited disk space and don’t have much of a music library on there, just connect your iPhone to the Mac and play music from that through iTunes instead. Streaming audio is a bandwidth hog, avoid it as much as you can.
Disable Chrome and Firefox Automatic Updates
Chrome and Firefox release updates often and both apps will automatically download and update themselves in the background. While convenient on a regular internet connection, these can blow 20MB to 100MB of data easily, disable those automatic app updates for your web browser and you will certainly save some bandwidth.
Quit or Disable Desktop Apps with Push Notifications
OS X Mail checks for emails constantly in the background, quit it when the app isn’t in use. Mac OS X Menubar apps like Gmail Notifier and Facebook Notifier ping their servers constantly to look for updates. Quit these apps while using the iOS Hotspot. If it’s getting updates and it’s not 100% necessary for the work at hand, quit the app or at least disable or delay the updating to consume less data.