How Do I Setup an Apple Cache Server?

Apple’s content caching feature is built into macOS and requires no additional hardware for activation; once enabled, iOS and Apple device downloads go directly through this server rather than over Wi-Fi.

Content caching makes a dramatic difference on networks with address translation (NAT). Implementation and management are straightforward with System Preferences.

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Mac content cache servers can significantly speed up downloads of software distributed by Apple and data stored in iCloud by saving files locally on disk for nearby Apple devices to retrieve without going out over the internet. A network administrator can enable content caching across their entire Apple network by setting up one Mac computer as its primary cache server; To set one up on macOS use Content Cache service in System Preferences to set one up; when activated you can choose what kinds of files to save using either All Content, Only Shared Content or Only iCloud Content as filters.

Your cached files can also be stored where and for how long, as well as tracking any downloads made through the server. For more information, refer to Apple Support document Configure Content Caching.

When configuring a macOS content cache server, you must provide its public IP address or DNS name so it will appear in Apple’s lookup services and ensure clients can connect. In addition to that, the server automatically determines private IP addresses of client devices using an Apple-registered configuration service; otherwise it uses another method to locate them and sends requests there instead.

If you are managing a large number of Apple devices on your network, another content cache server can serve as peers to your primary server and communicate and share cached content between peers so when clients request software not available in their primary cache server, one or more can download it for them from another peer server. For more information about setting up and managing content caching peer relationships please see Apple support document Configure Content Caching Peers

If you want to add an extra level of security and monitor who uses your Content Caching server, creating a password-protected user account for it is the way. With it you can log-in and change server settings.


Content caching is a macOS service designed to speed up software installations on other Apple devices like iPhones and iPads while helping reduce internet bandwidth usage by storing downloaded content locally on network-connected Mac computers that serve as content caches. Macs that serve as content caches can also be configured to share this stored information among themselves as peers, helping speed up installation times even further.

Once a device downloads Apple-provided updates or content updates, it contacts a server running content caching to get its copy. From that copy, that server then serves it to other clients (devices connecting via wired Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi); these clients need updates or new content.

By designating one Mac as a content cache on your network, other Macs on that network can connect to it and download Apple-provided updates and iCloud files over your local network, significantly reducing cellular data and internet bandwidth costs for your organization.

When your network features more than one Mac acting as content caches, these content caches can be set up as peers to communicate and share software cached among themselves. Peers may be chosen according to criteria like these.

The Peers settings within Content Caching enable you to define additional caches on your network that can act as peers for this particular Mac, and configure which local networks it should share its content with. This enables you to tailor it specifically to your environment; for instance, if using a custom public IP address as content cache you could also select “Custom local network with fallback”, which would cause it to serve content on this local network instead in case its preferred cache wasn’t available; useful in environments where employees work from one central location.

Cache Size

Content caching allows Mac computers to save bandwidth by directly downloading updates for iCloud, Apple software and Apple products directly onto local disk. This enables iOS and iPadOS devices to download content more quickly compared to having to wait for content download from over the Internet.

The Cache Size tab in the Content Caching pane lets you control how much storage your Mac uses to cache content for iOS and iCloud devices. If space is an issue, reduce this setting accordingly.

On your Mac, you can specify where the content cache will be stored. Although you can change this path manually, the cache won’t automatically move from its previous location to its new one if this action occurs. Please ensure the path begins or ends with “/Library/Application Support/Apple/AssetCache/Data.”

An additional option lets you decide whether the contents of this Mac’s cache will be shared with a network that uses NAT or not. NAT is a networking process that converts single local IP addresses to multiple global ones; using such networks for content caching may slow performance down compared to using Ethernet alone.

Finally, the Options button in Content Caching pane enables you to configure client, peer and parent cache options. While these settings are usually unnecessary for most users, they’re available if you wish to customize your Content Caching server’s configuration further.

The other tabs in this pane provide information about how much data your Content Caching server served to clients from origin and cache in the last hour, day, seven day or 30 day periods. You can view these statistics graphicaly by clicking on one of the charts at the foot of this pane.


Apple provides a service that simplifies software installation on Mac computers, iOS devices, iPads and Apple TV by storing local copies of downloaded content on your network. This enables these Apple devices to quickly retrieve it without relying on Internet servers – saving time and bandwidth!

Step one is to activate Content Caching by opening the Sharing Window and checking its box in the Services List on the Left Sidebar. From here you can also configure settings related to cache size, clients, peers and parents in this dialog.

As a Content Caching Server on macOS, your computer must possess both a fast network connection (preferably Ethernet) and ample free storage space. You can set it up as either a managed share or root user with administrative rights; then set a location or choose whether iCloud data should coexist on one disk versus being stored separately in different cache locations; you can even change its size for quicker download times for users on your network.

Once you click the Options button, a series of tabs appear that allow you to configure additional settings. On the Peers tab, you can enter IP addresses of macOS computers that may act as peers for your content cache and serve requests in its place if one becomes unavailable. Furthermore, you can configure their prioritization order in case an outage arises from one server in particular.

Under the Clients tab, you can define which Apple devices qualify as clients of this content cache. By default, all devices on a private network sharing the same public address will have access to it; however, you have the ability to include or exclude specific types of hardware or groups of hardware from being cached as clients of your cache.

Once this limit is met, your Mac will delete old downloads to make room for new ones. By default, 1TB should suffice; however, you may adjust this value as necessary.