I frequently use my Macbook on my iPad's data plan. Unfortunately, unlike iOS, OSX can't limit application network usage based on whether it's on a cell network, and I always have to remember to close Steam, uTorrent, Dropbox, automatic updates, etc. whenever I start tethering. Is there an app out there that I can turn on and off quickly to whitelist a small number of applications and prevent everything else from using the network?

3 Answers 3


TripMode was made specifically for this purpose, and even turns on automatically when connected to designated cell hotspots.

  • 2
    At $8, this seems like the least expensive option. Little Snitch is $35 and Hands Off is $50, presumably since they're full-featured firewall apps. Aug 17, 2015 at 22:57
  • 8$ is a good price. It's worth the developer's efforts and time; and it's worth for the kind of product it is (and for the potential huge amount of money saved when tethering in roaming). In alternative there is still LuLu, that is given for free (see my answer). Oct 14, 2019 at 16:20

It looks like Little Snitch allows you to configure whitelists, blacklists, and even more advanced configurations for network access. You can make a cellular profile and switch to it when you use your tethering. It also measures how much bandwidth you've used, per app and total. You can even automatically switch profiles when you connect to your tethered Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network.

  • (I discovered this application an hour after I posted my question. Thanks, me!)
    – Archagon
    Dec 25, 2013 at 3:33

LuLu is the best choice, nowadays.

  • It's given for free and it doesn't force you to pay for it (but it's worth spending a dollar or two on Patreon, as gratitude).
  • It's open-source.
  • Has a simple GUI.
  • Allows to blocks the outgoing connections (for the incoming is better to use Apple firewall or something else)
  • Allows to choose the apps that should be allowed or blocked

It's really great.

IMHO the only feature missing is that it lacks a passive mode that "blocks all by default". That would be especially useful when tethering or using a limited-traffic hotspot; but it just 5 minutes to block everything (except few system daemons) and then allow just the apps that should have internet access.

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