Tether-Friendly Settings for Apple MacBook and Mac Pro

Posted by: on Feb 28, 2014

Tether-Friendly Settings for Apple MacBook and Mac Pro

Post by Vihang Vasa, Photonics Enterprise in Mubmai, India

Always use the tried and tested operating system for your work machine. Wait for a minimum of 4 to 5 months before migrating to the newer operating system as all new operating systems have issues which takes time to be identified by the company and get resolved. Also, please keep in mind, for Apple, the Digital Back/DSLR (compared to their own product like the iPhone) users shooting tethered are a minority and will always have lesser priority in addressing a bug update.

To understand what USB ports your Mac has, first connect the external USB 3.0 drive to the USB port. Then, go the ‘Apple Menu’ (top left), next ‘About this Mac’, then ‘More Info’, then ‘USB’. Select your hard disk. If you see the speed as 5 gbps, then it’s USB 3.0. Also, see what power is available on that port – 900ma/500ma/150ma? If it’s 900ma, it should be fine.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are using the USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter for tethering to your computer.

  • Make sure your Mac OS (10.8.xx or 10.9.xx) is installed using ‘Apple Installer/Mac App Store’ internet recovery method for every individual device. Loading the OS from a common disk image stored on a hard drive may not install the correct USB 2.0/3.0 or FireWire drivers required for your computer.
  • Quit all other unnecessary software or applications.
  • If you’re having connectivity issues, try keeping the laptop charger connected to the Apple MacBook Pro and other things like sound, Bluetooth, WiFi, Time Machine and auto backup switched off.
  • Go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Energy Settings’ and optimize for more processing power.
    • Deactivate automatic graphic switching
    • Display always on
    • Hard Drive – never sleep
    • Activate do not dim display
    • Deactivate App Nap while on battery power and power adapter
    • Select ‘Prevent Computer from Sleeping’
    • Deactivate ‘Put Hard Disk to Sleep When Possible’



  • Do not use any other device that takes power from USB or Thunderbolt at the same time.
  • Connect your camera/digital back first and then start the computer and respective software.
  • Deactivate App Nap feature in Apple OS (10.9.xx) Mavericks (Click here to learn how to deactivate App Nap)
  • Always keep the operating system, Java, Flash, and the respective capture software up-to-date with the latest updates. Most of the known issues reported by users worldwide are resolved in the latest updates.
  • In case all of the above does not work, then disconnect everything, remove all batteries, remove all cables, switch off computer, wait 5 minutes, and then re-insert batteries, connect all cables, start your computer and start your software. In many cases, this works.