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

andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
807
459
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?
 

Furifo

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2010
276
5
My best guess is that maybe they have a variety of location services set to on that is eating into their data.
 

gstevie

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2009
361
72
Glasgow
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.
 

cyks

macrumors 68020
Jul 24, 2002
2,090
7
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.
 

w00t951

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2009
1,831
6
Pittsburgh, PA
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.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,972
68
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.
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.

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.
No wonder. That's a terrible analogy.

Is there any way to prevent such high data usage or is it just something we have to accept?
Be very aware of actual usage -- not just perceived usage.
 

HitchHykr

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2007
542
1
Virginia
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.
Now I understand why you don't like car analogies, now I don't either.
 

yezza

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2008
238
9
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:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1285511

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.
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
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.
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
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.
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
9,233
1,235
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.
 
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its93rc

macrumors 6502
Feb 8, 2012
403
278
Austin, Texas
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.
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".
 

Sixtafoua

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2009
374
0
Boston, MA
The 4/4A have higher resolution displays, which may cause images to be downloaded at higher resolutions, which makes for more data.
 

Peters33

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2008
19
0
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.
 

sk1wbw

Suspended
May 28, 2011
3,483
1,006
Williamsburg, Virginia
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.
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
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
It shouldn't really matter whether you fetch mail or check manually. Either way, you are downloading the attachments and using data.

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.
 

BiggAW

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
2,542
171
Connecticut
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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