Ridiculously high data usage due to iTunes Store?

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by yezza, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. yezza macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    I helped a non-techy friend buy an iPhone 4S on contract. He has a 500MB/month data allowance. He blasted through it in the first few days, then again within a week of his second data allowance. He uses the iTunes Store app a lot, so I ran some tests.

    I installed Dataman Pro on my 4S (5.01), and results as follows [data used in square brackets]:

    Load iTunes app (music/new releases page) --> [1.6MB]
    Select an album; loads album page --> [~90KB]
    Listen to 4 different songs for 1-2 seconds ONLY --> [3.1-3.4MB PER SONG!]
    Go back to the main music/new releases page --> [1.3MB]

    TOTAL usage for this seemingly simple set of operations equates to an astonishing 16MB!!! This was accomplished in the space of no more than 10 seconds!

    This test was performed on wifi so it's likely that 3G use will take a certain percentage longer. But let's just say that it took 60 seconds instead of 10 seconds to do the same on 3G - in one hour I would have used 960MB!! ******, that's a lot.

    Ok, I've just tried the same thing on 3G three times in a row. For the same set of operations (but selecting random albums) Dataman reports ~11MB the first two times, then 7.9MB the third time. I cross checked these figures with Mobile Network Data under Settings --> General --> Usage --> Mobile Usage. First test was 6.7MB, second was 9.6MB and the third was 8MB (note that this was combined upload and download data).

    The Dataman vs iOS figures are not consistent, but the point remains that browsing the iTunes store consumes a crapload of data. I completed each test in under 20 seconds, so I could easily frizzle away well over 1GB in an hour! FYI my 3G speedtest.net results were 4.01Mbps download before I started the test.

    My friend upgraded from an iPhone 3G. He had a 3GB monthly cap on that, but he never once hit that, even under relatively heavy usage. He has always liked the iTunes store (until now!). I don't use the iTunes store so don't know if it might have always been like this or not.

    Go ahead, try this yourself, I'd like to know it's not just me. And I'd also be interested to know if anyone has vastly different results on a different phone or OS version. :eek:
  2. shotts56 macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    You started to stream 4 songs and you wonder why you used so much data ?

    It doesnt matter that you listed to them for only 1-2 seconds, during that period it could have downloaded half the song to use as a buffer. From looking at the numbers you've provided that seems to be exactly what its done.

    Of course streaming music over 3G is going to use a lot of data.
  3. Enjoylife1788 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2011
    At times, 3G is even faster than wifi.. So, don't be under the impression that 3G can't use data do fast..

    Also, as mentioned above, it had already buffered the song.. Irrespective of how much u heard..
  4. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    My guess is that there are other, higher consumers of data. Send Diagnostic Reports To Apple, I'm looking at you. My wife blasted through data on her iPad on iOS5 until I turned off all the stuff people recommended as solutions for poor iPhone 4S battery life. More than a few were sending data.

    However, if it truly is the iTunes store then he's gonna' need to use wifi or his computer instead of the phone.

    BTW: Good research! Do you think there are other processes consuming data while you are testing iTunes?
  5. dotme macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2011
    Data usage is not "Ridiculously high"

    1) Song previews are 90 seconds long, and at good quality (265kbps) so expect to eat 3MB per preview. The entire clip is sent to your phone. Listening to it for 2 seconds doesn't change the clip size.

    2) The app store is graphical - lots of good quality cover art, app screenshots and other images are sent to the device.

    If you ask me, 200 MB or 500 MB plans are "ridiculously low" but that's just my opinion.
  6. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    ^ I think you nailed it.

    The plans are the problem, not the actual usage.

    In comparison to the plan offerings that is a lot of data. Realistically though 16MB is nothing. If 95% of users are ok with 200MB plans. 95% of users obviously don't do much.

    Excluding weekends, rarely a day passes I use less than 200MB.
  7. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
  8. yezza thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    I don't believe so.

    Based on my simple testing it looks like I'm going to have to agree with what some of you are saying - it's the data plans that are ridiculously small.

    Luckily this doesn't affect me as I have wifi anywhere I use my phone the most, but I do feel bad for my friend who doesn't have regular wifi access.

    It still baffles me that he never had this problem with his previous iPhone 3G... He claims his usage isn't noticeably greater :s
  9. yezza thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    Also, I am slightly surprised that the song would continue to buffer after I press stop, and probably even after exiting that albums page!
  10. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    500MB plans are for light use, email & browsing. Use WiFi or get a larger plan for media.
  11. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    It just means a lot of people have access to wifi most of the time.
  12. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Someone with a 500MB cap should not be using the iTunes store (or App store) while on 3G.
  13. Steve28 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2011
    It's not. They are saying that in the few seconds you listened it downloaded much more of the song than just the first few seconds. All streaming works this way - it downloads faster than it needs to to protect against slow spots or signal drops etc. In the case of iTunes store previews, they are 90s long, so it probably just tries to download the whole thing in one shot.
  14. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I would say I use my iPhone an average amount. My wife is always on hers, doing something to waste time. I almost never use mine at home on wifi, so almost all our data is 3G.

    That being said, I just looked through my past year of bills. I went over 300MB one time, and my wife just barely topped 500MB twice. So if 500MB is considered "ridiculously" low, exactly how much do you people use your phones? I'm guessing streaming music all day or something?

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