Apple has made sharing your iPhone’s Internet connection with your Mac–a process known as tethering<–easy. But tethering is still annoying. You know the dance: you pause Dropbox, you quit your BitTorrent client, you pray that your Mac doesn’t pull down a big software update in the background, all to avoid your oblivious computer from burning through your mobile data allowance in one go.
TripMode automates this chore, cutting off Internet access to selected apps as soon as you leave Wi-Fi, and restoring it when you reconnect. You never need worry again.
This is great for smart folks who regularly work at the coffee shop, because you can avoid connecting to dangerous public Wi-Fi without busting through your data cap or getting yourself hacked. TripMode blocks uploads too, so your Photos app won’t sync, and your cloud backup service will have to sit things out.
But what about a different angle? Instead of lugging your notebook with you, try getting your work done on a mobile device. Once you adjust to the one-app-at-a-time mindset of phones and tablets, they’re surprisingly effective. I used an iPad exclusively for work for a year, and I worked faster and with more focus than I ever did on a regular computer. I was also more mobile, which meant I could travel and work at the same time, or just wander to a nearby public space when I needed to stretch some muscles. In the end I switched back to a Mac because of “Gorilla Arm”, or excessive shoulder pain caused by tapping the iPad’s screen while using it with a keyboard, but I still miss the simplicity and mobility of that setup.
Even on vacation, switching off entirely isn’t really practical, when our cellphone is also our only camera as well as our boarding pass and our wallet. But you can at least be away from the parts of your phone you went on vacation to get away from. Apps like TripMode take the sweat out of working away from the office, and you’ll never be stranded without data when you really need it.