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Establishing Priority for Internet Connection on Your Mac

Jennifer McDouglas,

There are situations when it is important to enable your Mac to perform automatic switching between connections. It may happen, for example, when you need a slower connection for an urgent printing job and, between printing sessions, you wish a fast internet surfing.

With macOS, you can easily prioritize your network connections by setting which adapter starts work when your device tries to connect to the local network and the Internet.

Complete the following steps:

  1. Open the Network preference panel.
  2. Choose the settings (gear) icon at the bottom of the list of adapters.
  3. Click on Set Service Order.
  4. By dragging the adapters, establish the preference order, which suits you best.
  5. Click OK.
Drag your available network connections into the order you want macOS to use them

On the whole, the fewer connections, the higher is the speed. So you may boost the speed of the internet connection you are using by disabling Wi-Fi for the time when no local resources (printer or alike) are needed. For that purpose, you can use either Wi-Fi system menu or the Location pop-up menu in the Network preference pane. In the former case, within the menu, you select Turn Wi-Fi Off. And, in the latter case, you should do the following:

  1. Click on the Location pop-up menu at the top.
  2. Choose Edit Locations.
  3. Click + to add a location.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Select new location from Location
  6. Disable Wi-Fi (choose Wi-Fi in the list of adapters, click the gear, and select Make Service Inactive).
  7. Click Apply.

You may repeat the procedure to create as many new network setups you like and name them for the convenience of use, for example, “Internet Only” and another “Printer and Internet”.

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From Locations menu, which you can enter throughout the system, you can access any location and switch between them.