If you are running macOS 10.13 High Sierra on your MacBook or iMac and have multiple Apple devices at your home, you can take advantage of the new content caching feature from Apple. In this article, we will show you how you can setup content caching feature on your machine.
Thanks to Cabel Sasser for sharing this new tip that has many macOS users excited!
What is Content Caching?
Content caching is a macOS service that helps reduce Internet data usage and speed up software installation on Mac computers, iOS devices, and AppleTV.
According to Apple,
“Content caching speeds up downloading of software distributed by Apple and data that users store in iCloud by saving content that local Mac computers, iOS devices, and Apple TV devices have already downloaded. The saved content is stored in a content cache on a Mac, and is available for other devices to retrieve without going out over the Internet.”
In other words, lets say that you have multiple iPads and iPhone at your home. When a new piece of software update is available, it will be stored on your macOS content cache the first time you download the update for a device.
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Subsequent devices can then use the local content cache to update their iOS as opposed to connecting to Internet and downloading the update for every iPhone or iPad that you own.
Here’s Apple guidance on how to prepare for content caching.
What Kind of Mac/MacBook can I use to avail content caching?
You should be able to use this new feature on any of your recent MacBooks/iMacs that you already own. The key to setting up this feature is to make sure that the computer that will be used as a content cache is connected to the Internet via Ethernet cable as opposed to a simple Wi-Fi connection.
It will still work if you use Wi-Fi but the performance will be slow. Apple’s best practice recommendation highlights the following requirements.
- Install iOS 10.3 or later on all iOS devices.
- Connect your Mac to the Internet via Ethernet.
- Plug your Mac into AC power. Tethered caching service prevents your Mac from going to sleep.
- Enable Share Internet Connection on the Mac
How-To Setup Content Caching Settings on MacBook
If you have met the requirements discussed above, setting up the content caching feature is fairly straightforward.
Click on > System Preferences > Sharing. Here you will need to enable content caching and make sure that to activate share Internet connection so that iOS devices can receive their software updates from this local content cache.
You can also click on the options here to check the current cache size as well as set up the size parameters according to your preference. There is also an option to pick the cache drive location if you want to store it externally.
This feature was previously available on macOS Server platform but Apple has introduced it on regular macOS in the new High Sierra edition. Here are the various content types that the new content cache currently supports. This includes your regular iTunes downloads, iBooks and other macOS apps. It also includes OTA updates for iOS, Apple TV and macOS.
Backups of iCloud Library via Content Cache
The bigger appeal for this feature centers on backups of iCloud library.
The iCloud content caching means that backups of iCloud library and iCloud Drive are saved locally so that when you wipe and restore an iOS device – most of the restore from iCloud backup is local network speeds. This should hopefully eliminate multi-hour and multi-day restores from iCloud backup.
More to come as we try to set it up and use this cool feature on one of our iMacs.
What do you think of this new feature? Will you use it to update your various idevices and MacBooks moving forward?
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.