Your Mac is probably eating your Internet bandwidth (and you don’t know about it!)

Last week, my monthly quota with my ISP got exhausted much before the cycle got over. Yes, I was FUP’ed.

60 GB isn’t a lot when you have a 20 Mbps hose, but I seldom hit that mark at home considering I travel a lot, and home broadband is one of the many internet connections that I use to stay connected / work.

Driven by curiosity, I logged on to my account and noticed that I had used over 6 GB of data the day before. That came in as a surprise because I had barely used the internet that day — no big downloads and minimal music streaming — even though my computer was on for several hours.

I almost freaked out, thinking that someone else is latching on to my home WiFi network. Little did I know, it was Apple, not Pandey ji.

The next day at work, we were chatting about how the new Mac OS X El Capitan is a 6 GB download, and I offered my colleagues a USB drive that had the installable on it.

The conversation went on and our Rocket Singh mentioned about this creature called nsurlsessiond that he found is always on and keeps sucking the bandwidth. I looked up at the Activity Monitor (under the network tab) and boom! This little daemon was eating up a big share of my quota, and it didn’t seem to stop, no matter what! Here’s how it looks,


A quick search and I found various hacks to stop this. The good news is, you don’t need any of those, nor do you have to read through the entire thread. Just check your spotlight preference and turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Searches, that’s it. Don’t forget to click on the “?” at the bottom right corner of the Spotlight Preferences window.

Thank me later. 🙂




36 thoughts on “Your Mac is probably eating your Internet bandwidth (and you don’t know about it!)

  1. I’ve spent dozens of hours on this. This insidious little hog was bogging down my internet so bad my provider was scheduled to come out for a second modem replacement to try and solve it. Finally figured out it was my laptop. Thanks. You saved the day!!

  2. I am not able to resolved my issue..
    I have turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Searches, but still nsurlsessiond is eating internet bandwidth…

    I have even sign-out from icloud from my macbook

    Please HELP….

    1. This terminal script will kill the process:

      launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
      launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
      sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
      sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

      … but has to be done after every reboot.

      1. little snitch control allow to control any income and outcome connection.
        impressive the amount of process ask to connect to internet

  3. I installed macOS 10.12 (Sierra) on my macbook white. Now insurlsession d is also eating my data. I turned off Spotlight Suggestions but there is no Bing Web Searches. Still chewing data. I then turned off all categories (yes, I did click on ?) to no avail. What now?

    1. If you are using iCloud Drive you should stop — that is one of the prime culprits. Photo sharing should be checked, also. “nsurlsessiond” is kind of the director for all those background cloud processes, and some of them presume unlimited broadband.

  4. thanks alot sir .
    your terminal command was really helpful ..
    Is it anyway we can disable it permanently?
    please revert on email if possible

  5. I may be completely wrong here, but here is what is happening to me – you may not need to do anything, or at least this may help better explain what’s happening. I believe this process is simply the process by which iCloud and iPhotos update the files from the cloud. For example, I have been having a horrible time on my home network with slow speeds. Then somehow I realized when I turned off the wifi on my MBP my speed issues were resolved on the other devices. Thanks to this thread I realized it was the stated process running. Well after two days of troubleshooting it suddenly dawned upon me that we were on vacation and I took lots of photos and videos on my iPhone. Once I allowed the process to finally finish, suddenly my internet connection “problems” went away. It really wasn’t a problem at all, it was working as it was supposed to work. Just let it finish doing it’s thing… of course you could momentarily kill it, but then your files won’t be up to date from the cloud. Hope this helps someone…

  6. I just stop using iCloud drive, the moment I disable it, the activity of nsurlsessiond stops.
    you can do it on system preferences/icloud

  7. With Little Snitch, I use TripMode to control incoming and outcoming connections with my Mac, Result: no more warming up processor, no more loss of Data…

  8. My Mac has been sputtering along and I was getting crazy overage charges for my bandwidth. I’ve been searching for the solution and it’s alluded me until today. You are the MAN Pravel!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Hi: I have a Macbook Air that I use at home and on the road. I use iCloud extensively. I save scientific articles and presentations to iCloud such that I have access wherever I go. I pay for a terabyte of data on iCloud. Over the last week, never before, I have been using a huge amount of data at my house. I have used 1500 GN over 8 days. I have never used over 450 GB in 30 days. I found that nsurlsessiond is receiving a large amount o data constantly. I did what you said and turned off spotlight suggestions and bing web searches, to no avail. I then turned off iCloud and the data went down to almost nothing. Turned it back on again and it is slowly ramping up to high levels. Now receiving a GB at a time. Cant figure out why this has never been a problem until now? Would appreciate any help yo can give me. I don’t want to lose access to iCloud.

    1. Thanks for writing in, John.

      As much as I’d like to help you, I don’t really know what could be the real reason for this.

      I’d suggest meeting one of the Apple Geniuses at an Apple Store if you can. Or, just reach out to their customer support over phone or email. Good luck!

  10. Still saving lives in April 2017. I recently moved and the only internet option, period, is a poorly working hotspot. I just got the data back on it today, cut it on, went to the store, came home, kicked my dog, smacked my momma, and 10gb was used up. Data is precious and now I could use it as Jesus intended. Watching german granny porn. You rock

  11. It’s not sufficient to disable Spotlight suggestions and Bing web searches, nsurlsessiond is a generic process having lot of uses (and cons) for other applications 😉 (iCloud, Photos, Safari, Mac himself for restoring sessions… maybe other stuffs )
    So, the solution is generally specific to the user needs and the proposed solution only solves the problem for some users

  12. I’ve been working on trying to figure out wth is going on with my data usage for almost 2 months now and after countless conversations with my internet provider and Apple, I still couldn’t figure it out until I found this post. Thank you SO much as I followed several of the comment’s instructions and my data overages immediately stopped.

    My only question is however, does this mean I can’t use iCloud drive or other Apple related cloud services anymore if I want to avoid having the same challenge? Thank you again!

  13. I’m not having the process eat bandwidth, but it’s eating a lot of CPU. I’ve turned off the spotlight suggestions, am logged out of icloud, and have nothing running, but it’s snsurlsessiond is still over 100% of CPU. Any more ideas?

    1. iPhoto may be indexing your pictures. Had that issue when upgrading to Sierra. It would only do this if power is connected to it. Should stop if only on wifi. Don’t recall where I read about this sometime ago.

  14. Same problem here. Been trying to figure it out for months. Got a synology router to better track traffic that was going to various devices. Narrowed it down to my iMac and MacMini eating up data. While disabling Bing Search and spotlight suggestions didn’t fix it, your article definitely let me down the path to figure out what was going on. THANK YOU for that! For me it was iCloud Drive. I turned off iCloud Drive and the ridiculous amount of data that nsurlsessiond was eating up stopped immediately.

  15. Finally got it fixed after a few days of frustration thinking that it’s the internet provider that’s giving me problems. Thank you so much for this article and also the comments in which I finally found out it’s my iCloud + iPhoto that’s doing all the damage. Really appreciate the help here!

  16. Thank you for the great tip. After a short observance on Activity Monitor I noticed that Photos Agent more than and Nsurlsessiond was sucking the living hell of my cpu and network, lowering my standard download speed from 13Mbps down to 1Mbps or less. Odd that this comes just after a fresh install of MacOS High Sierra. Like in others comments above I’ve found that putting a stop to iCloud Drive did the job.

What do you think?

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