macOS Monterey Slow Upload Speeds? It Might Not Be your Imagination! [update #2]

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Fast & Slow upload and download speeds - macOS Monterey Slow Upload Speeds - HighTechDad
macOS Monterey (12.0.1) may have a networking bug. This article details the Monterey slow upload speeds bug that slows your upload speeds dramatically.

I always recommend upgrading to the latest and greatest Operating System whenever possible. From new features to enhanced security to bug fixes, an OS upgrade is typically a smart choice…until it isn’t. I recently upgraded two MacBook Pros I use (one for work and one for home) to macOS Monterey (12.0.1). I love many of the new features. But I started noticing something strange after a while – macOS Monterey slow upload speeds. Initially, I didn’t realize that the problem was isolated to Monterey. But, after some research and my own testing and troubleshooting, I realized I wasn’t the only one experiencing this AND that it probably was a “Monterey slow upload speed” bug.

As more of us get used to working (or studying) from home, having fast broadband Internet access is crucial. It’s especially important when having to stream video (classes or calls). But an important factor to remember is, it’s not just your download speed but also your upload speed that should be fast. When you are on a conference call, you are uploading your video stream.

At the beginning of the pandemic and the shelter-at-home initiative, I did an article and video talking about the importance of upload speeds, particularly when it comes to video conferencing. And this is part of the reason why I continue to pay for the top fiber tier from my provider (1Gbps download and 1Gbps upload).

Update #1 (12/13/21): macOS 12.1 does NOT resolve the issue described in this article.

Update #2 (12/16/21): Added a section with more information in this article discussing additional testing.

My macOS Monterey slow upload speeds troubleshooting journey

Well, recently, I suddenly started noticing that my Webex calls were not as good as they used to be, and I was getting warnings from the software that there were network issues. I thought it was general network congestion until I ran some network speed tests. And then I noticed something very odd.

The speed tests showed fast download speeds but not so fast upload speeds (907 down & 187 up).

Slow Monterey upload speeds - HightTechDad

I started to think that perhaps I was having a network issue within my house. My laptop was hard-wired into the Ethernet network. I was not using WiFi to ensure I had the fastest network connection possible.

I decided to do another speed test using my non-work MacBook Pro. And, while it too was hard-wired (both using USB-C hubs with Ethernet ports), my upload speeds were quite slow as well.

So, I started thinking I should rewire my home network.

But then I tested my wife’s Windows desktop. Hers is hard-wired as well. And she had blazing-fast download AND upload speeds. Hmmm…

Again, I was back to something being wrong in my home office. I restarted computers, replugged in switches, unplugged non-essential devices, and changed some Ethernet cables in my office. Nothing helped.

Then I restarted my Nest WiFi Router and did a test. Same slow upload speed issue. I restarted my fiber modem. No change. I prioritized one of my MacBook Pros using the Nest WiFi interface. Any change was barely perceptible.

And, I ran a speed test on my Nest WiFi Router. It showed things being pretty darn quick (748 down & 802 up).

Nest Wifi Router Speed Test - HighTechDad

I ran a similar test on my ISP Fiber Modem. Same result – fast upload and download speeds (999 down and 915 up).

Fiber Modem upload & download speed test - HighTechDad

So, the modem was fast, and the main network router was fast. Something else was going on.

I started thinking about my wife’s PC working just fine, so I plugged a Windows laptop into the same USB-C hub (with the Ethernet port) that I was having issues with on my MBP. Interestingly, it had fast upload speeds (852 down & 802 up).

Windows PC speed test - HighTechDad

I then decided I probably didn’t have to rewire my under-the-house Ethernet.

So, through the process of elimination, I found a common denominator. Upload speeds were fast on Windows but slow on Macs.

But was it all Macs? I had tested on a 2019 MacBook Pro and a 2021 MacBook Pro M1. Then I decided to try my daughter’s MacBook Pro (a 2020). First, I did a WiFi test. Both upload and download speeds were quick (for WiFi) and equal. Then I tried plugging her MBP into my USB-C hub with the networking. She had fast upload and download speeds (840 down & 723 up).

Fast download & upload speeds on Big Sur - Monterey Slow Upload speeds - HighTechDad

I was on to something. Only my macOS Monterey Macs running 12.0.1 were affected by what I’m now calling the Monterey Slow Upload Speed bug.

Long story short, I did some more testing. I plugged my Monterey MBP into my fiber modem router directly and still had slow upload speeds.

And I did some quick online research and found a few threads on Apple Support Forums and Reddit talking about these slow speeds (but everyone had different theories from it being a hardware issue to a problem with their ISP).

With all of this testing and research completed, I decided to reach out to Apple Support on Twitter.

And, I will cut to the chase here. I had a great Twitter exchange with the awesome Apple Support folks who walked me through various things to test and try. I have outlined below a few things you can also try as they may help with other network slowdown issues.

They couldn’t resolve the issue, so they escalated it to a more senior Apple support person who I worked with to provide all sorts of diagnostics compiled and sent over for the Apple networking engineers to review.

But…the bottom line…my macOS Monterey slow upload speeds bug still exists as of this writing!

I’m sure this issue will be resolved shortly (and by the time you read this, it might already be fixed). BUT, if you are encountering these same issues, contact Apple Support! That is what they recommend. The more people who report this, the faster it will become resolved!

Update #1 (12/13/21) – macOS 12.1 does NOT resolve

I eagerly awaited macOS 12.1 with the hopes of it resolving the issue. I updated on my two MBPs and the issue remains.

Update #2 (12/16/21) – further troubleshooting & more results

I had another followup call with Apple Support. We worked through some additional questions and I submitted more diagnostics (e.g., Wireless Diagnostics even though I am NOT connecting via WiFi – only using Ethernet). One of the recommendations was to try a completely different network which is what I did. My neighbor also has fiber internet with 1Gbps upload and download speeds.

macOS Monterey slow upload speed

TL;DR – same issues persist on this other network AND we confirmed with other MBPs running Monterey (note: second Big Sur MBP does NOT show the slow upload speeds on this network).

To summaries all of the things I have tested:

  • Windows machines connected via Ethernet do NOT show slow upload
  • macOS Big Sur connected via Ethernet do NOT show slow upload
  • macOS Monterey (12.0.1 & 12.1) connected via Ethernet DO show slow upload on TWO distinct networks
  • Tested in Safe Mode w/ Ethernet – SLOW upload speeds
  • Tested with a temporary administrator w/ Ethernet – SLOW upload speeds
  • Tested with a new network location w/ Ethernet – SLOW upload speeds
  • Tested with 3 MBPs running Monterey w/ Ethernet – SLOW upload speeds
  • Tested with 2 Macs running Big Sur w/ Ethernet – FAST upload speeds
  • Tested with 2 Windows machines w/ Ethernet – FAST upload speeds

Note: I have tested using WiFi as well on all devices. Monterey Macs do show a perceived slowdown but it is not as evident as with Ethernet.

Another reason why this might not be as apparent “in the real world” is because many broadband providers have plans that have FAST download speeds but SLOWER upload speeds by default. So, any “perceived” upload slowdown may be harder to detect due to the nature of upload speeds being slower anyway.

I have NOT installed a developer or public beta nor have I rolled back to Big Sur.

Please leave a comment if you are experiencing this issue AND/OR open a support ticket with Apple.

Have networking issues like the Monterey slow upload speed bug? Try these possible fixes

I don’t like describing issues without offering some possible solution. (See my How-To and Fix-It content.) So, if you are encountering networking issues like what I described here with macOS Monterey having very slow upload speeds, or just slow networking in general, here are a few tips or ideas you can try to potentially fix. Some of these are Mac-specific, while others are just general best practices.

  • Restart your computer – this is the first thing I tell anyone having computer issues to do. Just do it!
  • Reboot your WiFi router – routers are like computers, they need to be rebooted occasionally as well. I would do this every couple of months regardless of whether you are having issues or not.
  • Reboot your cable/DSL/fiber modem – for the exact same reason as the previous two points, restart your modem if you can.
  • Use wired (Ethernet) connection instead of WiFi – wired connections will ALWAYS be faster than WiFi. If you can, go wired!
  • Change your Ethernet cable – your cable may have gone bad, or the plug is not seated correctly – it’s always good to get a new (or different) cable to test with.
  • Boot in Safe Mode to test (Mac) – booting your Mac in Safe Mode allows you to eliminate 3rd parter applications and processes from interfering with the core OS. Here’s how to do it on a Mac. (You can do this on a PC as well.)
  • Review Apple’s “Recommended settings for Wi-Fi routers and access points” – most of these settings are generic and not Mac-specific.
  • Reinstall the macOS (ugh) – this is a second to last resort, but sometimes it is a good thing to do to “refresh” your macOS install.
  • Roll back to a previous macOS version (double ugh – but I believe that will fix it) – I didn’t try this. I really didn’t want to go backwards. But, I’m almost 100% convinced that if you go back to Big Sur, this slow upload speed bug will go away.

Those are just a few quick ideas on how you might be able to resolve some networking and other issues. Unfortunately, it didn’t help with my Monterey slow upload speed bug. I’m probably going to just wait it out (I even decided against installing the Developer Beta or the Public Beta).

Fast & Slow upload and download speeds - macOS Monterey Slow Upload Speeds - HighTechDad

But I want to know! Are YOU experiencing slow upload speeds on macOS Monterey? What version are you on? 12.0.0 or 12.0.1? Are you having this issue with a different macOS version? PLEASE leave a comment!

HTD says: Every new version of macOS becomes increasingly complicated with new or refined features, bug fixes, and security updates. But sometimes, in the billions of lines of code, a critical bug slips through – this Monterey slow upload speeds bug is one of them!

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27 Responses

  1. I was able to work this out with a senior technician at Apple (AFTER updating to 12.1 today). After doing a million of things the thing that got my speed back was by going to System Preferences > Network > Location, Edit Location > Hit the plus sign and add a location (I left it “untitled”) then hit done. My internet ended up reconnecting and I ran my speed test.

    I hope this helps. Cheers.

  2. Hi Mk and thanks for the comment. I just tested that process (I did use that before eons ago – it’s a good way to essentially reset your network connection if you had been messing around with it). Unfortunately, it did not work in this case. Set up a new location, tried the new one and old one, rebooted, and still I’m facing the same slow upload speeds as before. Sometimes, with some cable plans, the upload speed is significantly slower than download (on purpose). And when the plan has a slow upload speed from the beginning, it is hard to tell the difference. With me, the difference is significant. Thx!

  3. I am curious, apple support had me run the speed test while in Safe Mode, have you gotten any results while doing so? They also had me run Malwarebytes while I was on the phone with them as well. My speed changed significantly from 0.09mbps to the more reasonable 50mbps. This is a work computer running off of an Ethernet network. I hope you’re able to solve the issue. I was on the phone for 1.5hrs.

    Good luck! I hope Apple gets these on their radar.

  4. Hi MK, I have an open Apple Support incident that has been escalated. Already had two calls and submitted multiple items for them to evaluate. I have done many tests with many different computers. And, I have tested with my neighbor’s network and his Macs as well. From my extended investigations and tests:
    – Only Monterey Macs are affected (12.0.1 and 12.1)
    – Ethernet (hard-wired) and WiFi affected
    – My testing has been primarily on Ethernet
    – Tested in Safe Mode
    – Tested with new Temp Administrator
    – Tested with new Location (per your suggestion)
    – Tested with Bluetooth off (per other threads I have read)
    – Tested with multiple Macs and PCs running different OS’s
    I have submitted all of this information to Apple Support.
    Thanks for your update!

  5. I have been working with a senior advisor and we have done all of the same things even moving some of the settings in the library. I think we are just going to roll back to big sur

  6. Any updates on progress? I’ve been having this same issue (MBP 2021 M1 Pro, MacOS 12.1). Was working with support, but they were just taking me through the same above steps with no results…got my ticket upgraded and more of the same.

  7. Hi Joshua, No, I haven’t heard back from Apple Support on this. They tried to contact me but that was a while ago and have not reached out. I continue to look for other things to try. Someone said turning off Bluetooth helps for the WiFi side of things, but that is not the issue. I guess we just have to wait until a new version of Monterey comes out. I will continue testing and investigating.

  8. Hi Michael!
    Only to thank you for your detailed analysis and to let you know that I have exactly the same problems you have (I get even worse metrics in upload speeds!). I have just tried the different workarounds you mentioned but without any success.
    I will follow your progress.
    Best regards,
    Isaac

  9. Hi!
    I have just discovered something that I cannot understand… If I setup an VPN session with FortiClient to my internal entrerprise network it works properly! If then I disconnet the VPN session I get slow upload speeds again. Always reproducible!
    Hope this help as a workaround and to find a solution not using an vpn connection.
    Regards,
    Isaac

  10. Hi Isaac,
    Thanks for your comments and I’m (sort of) glad I’m not the only one experiencing this as well.
    -M

  11. Interesting. So I have tried with VPN on and off via my corporate laptop. The problem with VPN connections (and I try to avoid them when I’m doing video conferencing) is that they traditionally slow down both up and download traffic by default. But your results are interesting. Try this experiment – keep your VPN running and continue to do those Google Speed Tests (that is what I use when testing). See if, over time, the speeds start to slow down again. I periodically unplug my Ethernet cable and reconnect and for a while, the speeds are fast but then start to degrade over time.

  12. Hi Michael!
    I have done the experiment you suggested and the test speed results are more or less the same always after about 6 hours connected through the vpn connection.

    Morover, I have done another test. I have used Anyconnect instead of Forticlient as VPN client and it also works properly. So, in my case, if the traffic goes throught any VPN the speeds are ok and in the other case upload speed is ridiculous. Something really strange.

    Regards,
    Isaac

  13. Thanks for doing that Isaac. Question for you, what is the upload and download speed that your ISP is providing you with? (Mine is supposedly 1 gig up and down). I too tried the VPN route. And since I work at Cisco, I am using AnyConnect as well. With VPN on, the download speed drops from like 800 Mbps to about 250 Mbps. But, interestingly, the upload speed is marginally better (but not at expected). Without VPN is was about 50 Mbps! (Really bad!) But with VPN enabled, it went up to slightly over 100 Mbps. Still not the 800 Mpbs I used to be getting without VPN.
    I’m very tempted to install the developer beta (or public beta) just to see if things are better – but one of my MBPs is a work machine that I don’t want to mess with much and my other I’m trying to keep “clean.”
    So much fun!
    -Michael

  14. Hi Michael,
    I also have 1 gig up and down.
    These are my results:

    VPN on:
    download: 389 Mbps
    upload: 307 Mbps

    VPN off:
    download: 446 Mbps (but the tests takes some seconds to start downloading)
    upload: 0.07 Mbps !!!!!!

    My MBP is also a work machine that has only Office, Forticlient and Cytomic EPDR. It has Big Sur as OS and I just upgraded to Monterey.

    I have done the tests in a MBP of a colleage with exactly the same configuration but with Big Sur and it works properly.
    So, my hypothesis is a problem in Big Sur or any unexpected side effect between the OS and the vpn client. I will try to uninstall Forticlient software to see if this have any effect.

    Regards,
    Isaac

  15. Very interesting. And thanks for sharing Isaac. Also, you are using an Ethernet connection and are not on WiFi at all? Or are these results from WiFi?
    BTW, I’m in the process of installing developer b2 of 12.2. I was holding off on doing it but I’m tired of waiting.

  16. I am connected through Wifi all the time.

    Ohhh, no good news with 12.2b2 ;-(

    Regards,
    Isaac

  17. Ah well as you know, WiFi won’t give you the speeds of Ethernet. I’m running without WiFi and purely hard-wired.

  18. Isaac, I disabled iCloud Private Relay at the beginning. I’m starting to test some other things as well. I’m focusing in on Safari now and the Google Speed Test I have been using. Finding some interesting discrepancies between what Google Speed test shows in Safari and in other browsers like Firefox, Brave, and Edge, as well as using the speed test app (and site) by Ookla.

  19. Hi Michael!
    Just to give my lasts tests. I have uninstalled forticlient just to see if there was some improvements but unfortunately nothing change, the upload speed is horrible.

    Maybe I will have to downgrade to Big Sur at the end because if not connected to a VPN the mac is not usable at all (problems with videoconferencing, uploading files…)

    Best regards,
    Isaac

  20. I am having the same issue. trying to upload a video to YouTube (5 minutes long) and also on a different video platform. it took like 30 minutes to upload 1%. I tried the same thing on the same network using my other MBP using Big Sur, and it uploaded like normal.

    haven’t figured out how to fix it, but this is frustrating.

  21. Thanks for the feedback, Isaac. I do appreciate it. I guess time will tell. LMK how it goes!

  22. Thanks Dustin. Out of curiosity, what browser were you using for the YouTube upload and did you try different browsers? Are you on a WiFi or wired connection?

  23. Can you post a link to good instructions how to downgrade to High Sierra for those of us that are considering that?

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About HighTechDad

Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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