Why does the iPhone 4S use so much more data?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by andyp350, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2011
    Sorry if this has been asked a million times but I did a search of the forum and couldn't find any concrete answer/explanation.
    Does anyone know why the iPhone 4S (and 4 to a certain extent) use so much more data.
    I don't believe most of the theories that I found by googling, as most places seem to claim it is due to Siri and/or people using the phone more. I have friends who are very casual iphone users and when they upgraded to the 4S they continued to use their phone in exactly the same manner and amount. However they suddenly found they were going over their existing 500mb data plan which they usually only used around half of. The phone has to be doing something to eat into that data. I also don't believe it has anything to do with iOS 5, as I still have a 3GS and have noticed no difference in my data usage since upgrading to iOS 5.
    It's a big concern of mine as when I upgrade I don't want to have to pay even more a month for a bigger data plan.
    Is there any way to prevent such high data usage or is it just something we have to accept?
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    My best guess is that maybe they have a variety of location services set to on that is eating into their data.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2009
    Of my friends that upgraded from either a previous generation iPhone or other phone alike, I have never heard anyone of them mention this. I myself came from a 3GS and would say that my usage of the phone in general has changed significantly as the times change and new apps come out. By using iOS 5 there will technically be more data usage down to iMessage and some iCloud sync features (not back up or photostream) and with the 4S yes Siri, but all these have been proven to be almost negligible amounts in terms of data usage. Unfortunately i think its a coincidence but also a sign of the times, I certainly could not live with only 500MB of data a month as I use about between 600 to 800MB a month. I think, with respect that you need to consider that fact that as the days change people use more and more data, like SMS' used to be.
  4. macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    Generally, I dislike vehicle analogies...

    You have a car, it can only drive 60mph, and you drive it for one hour a day.

    You upgrade to a new car, it can now go 70mph, but you still drive it for one hour a day.

    For all intents, since it's the same 1 hour a day, it'd feel like it was exactly identical when you were driving much farther.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    116th & Broadway
    Location services uses very little data. On my Nexus, which breaks down data usage, location used 448 KB out of 1.89 GB.

    Actual apps seem to use most of my data, along with Facebook and Messenger.
  6. macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Exactly? If there's a spike in usage then their usage isn't exactly the same. They may think it's the same but they're overlooking stuff. It's impossible to answer a broad, vague question like this. You'd have to provide some detailed and discrete examples for comparison. It sounds like your casual users probably aren't quite aware enough to be good examples for such an assessment.

    There are any number of features and apps that can increase data usage. It's impossible to even attempt to begin to answer your question.

    No wonder. That's a terrible analogy.

    Be very aware of actual usage -- not just perceived usage.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2007
    Now I understand why you don't like car analogies, now I don't either.
  8. macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    Recently my home broadband usage climbed from probably 10-15GB/month to ~50GB/month. Tracked it down to be my iPhone on my wifi network trying to do iCloud backups. I realise it's not using 3G data, but the extent of data usage due to iCloud is worth noting.

    I also created a thread a while ago which highlighted how much data could be burned up just from using the iTunes store:


    I haven't really looked any further into data use, as the majority of mine is on high-capped wifi, but I still highly suspect that the 4S (and potentially the 4) consume larger amounts of data in general than previous model iPhones (under a comparable amount of use).

    Btw I can highly recommend the app Dataman for tracking any suspicious data use, as it recently added the ability to track individual app data use.
  9. macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    I'm guessing it's a compression setting that was lifted on the 4 and 4s. iCloud only backs up over wifi, so it shouldn't affect 3G data consumed.
  10. macrumors 68020

    Jun 19, 2010
    The 4S doesn't use more data. The user might by getting a shiny new phone.
  11. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    iCloud backups. I turned this on a month ago to try it out. My data went from 5xx MB (consistent for a year, I don't think I ever hit 600MB) to over 1100MB this cycle, and I still have a few days left. I turned it off last week to finish the test. I'll know for sure in about a month, if my data is back to 500MB.

    It's possible some other app or feature could have caused this doubling of usage, but the backup is the only likely culprit from my recollection.

    I have an i4, not 4s.
  12. macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Why does the iPhone 4S use so much more data?

    The phone doesnt, the user does.
  13. QuarterSwede, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

    macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    From personal experience on upgrading from a 4 to a 4S I can say that my data usage went from 2.5GB/month to 3.5GB. The 4S is just that much faster on HSPA+ (at&t calls it 4G). Podcast, videos, web pages, everything downloads at least twice as fast even on wifi because the phone is much quicker and dual core as well.
  14. macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    iCloud backups run on Wi-Fi only, don't they? I believe the OP meant, "Why does the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S use more data on HSPA+/3G/2G".
  15. macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The 4/4A have higher resolution displays, which may cause images to be downloaded at higher resolutions, which makes for more data.
  16. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    :eek: Oops. I guess I need to look at mine some more.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2008
    The iPhone 4S doesnt use more data for me compared to my iPhone 4
    Im guessing this is a setting, perhaps your old phone was configured to fetch Email every hour, and thisone every 15 mins.

    I recall i was on Holiday for a week when i received a call from my carrier, asking me if i was aware of the high costs that i was making: it turned out that my phone was configured to fetch the email every 15 mins..

    Im guessing in your case its a similar situation.
  18. macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2011
    Suffolk, Virginia
    That would make sense that apps use most of your data, since a smart phone can do either voice or data, and voice isn't considered data... :p
  19. macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    It shouldn't really matter whether you fetch mail or check manually. Either way, you are downloading the attachments and using data.

  20. macrumors 68020

    Jun 19, 2010
    Fetching Email isn't going to use much, and certainly not enough to have overage charges unless you're global roaming without a plan, which is just dumb.

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