iPhone 4S owners use twice as much data as iPhone 4

The iPhone 4S has been a big sales hit for Apple. But are the owners of the smartphone using up a lot more wireless data than normal? A new study claims that iPhone 4S users have now become the ones that use the most wireless data compared to other smartphones, including earlier versions of the iPhone.

The study by Arieso claims that iPhone 4S users actually consume twice as much wireless data as owners of the iPhone 4. The amount goes up to three times when the iPhone 4S is compared to the iPhone 3GS. Arieso's study also claims to show that the top one percent of wireless data users actually take up half of all the smartphone data in the US.

So what does this mean in the long run? According to one of the study's authors, Dr. Michael Flanagan, wireless networks will have to deal with lots of strain on their networks in the coming year:

The introduction of increasingly sophisticated devices, coupled with growing consumer demand, is creating unrelenting pressure on mobile networks. The capacity crunch is still a very real threat for mobile operators, and it looks set to only get harder in 2012. The mobile industry needs new investment and new approaches to boost network performance and manage the customer experience.

If this trend continues you have to wonder if wireless carriers will become a lot less tolerant of smartphone users who access a lot of data on their networks.

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Could just be that early adopters are usually more tech savvy and therefore have more things going on. A lot of iPhones are owned by kids who just bought it to be cool and hardly use any of the apps or functions on a daily basis.

OK once again you all are over thinking this... more advanced users and high end users push the design of the phone, they get bored with existing phones and migrate to NEW phones each year. not a surprise at all..

Also considering the newer phones do more than previous versions, it's not unbelievable the data doubles.. it says it DOUBLES not necessarily 1GB to 2GB, more like 200MB (average user) to 400 MB

Like another user pointed out, bigger picture pixel size, larger videos, and siri isn't a factor.. searches are VERY low traffic.. it sends your voice (very small packets) to the server, the server sends them back.. NOT a factor in doubling size.

It's more likely higher end users switch and change to better plans (more data, less price) as a result.. so since they HAVE more data, why not use it?

This isn't a wow factor its just simple logic. Better more advanced users want better features.. what is the big deal?

..never realized it was so fast you could complete 3x the amount of stuff compared to a 3GS. Technically on the network side, the 3G is just as fast as the 4S, they all use the 3G chipset and don't do dual band or 4G/LTE

Anyone with one care to sniff what traffic it is using? wait, you can't because they havn't been released from jail yet. Hope those photos and phone calls aren't being logged at apple headquarters!

The 4S did use a lot of battery at first though too, could be apple hasn't tweaked the network at all

Ever since iOS 5 was released, I noticed that my girlfriend's iPhone 4 (not 4S) started using at least triple her normal monthly usage.

Some things that I wonder about:

iMessages is a new feature of iOS 5, and I wonder if it stays connected all the time to act like text messaging.

Usage and Statistics: I noticed that her phone was sending around 5-45 MB chunks of data after midnight daily, at consistent times (either 12:15 AM or 12:40 AM). In the past, it was my understanding that it only sent this data over WiFi, which she never turns on to eek out extra battery life, or when you plugged in your iPhone to sync with your computer. As plugging in is no longer necessary, I have to wonder if they really want that data--your data rates be damned--and they intentionally send that data over your cell signal too. Disabling sending seems to have cut down on her data usage, but only marginally. Now she's still using noticeably more than before iOS 5, but not as shocking of an amount.

Cloud Backup is a new feature, and it would make sense, but it is using much larger amounts of data on days when she does not take pictures or download new apps. It should not be taking megabytes of data to send "nothing changed" messages, especially as the amount of MBs varies rather wildly on a daily basis.

Fortunately, she has the 2 GB plan, so it does not matter, but it was shocking to see nevertheless. Adding Siri into the mix probably will not help, and I can only imagine that there is more usage data that goes with it.

It likely has nothing to do with the phone itself, and is a better indicator of the average 4S user, which would be a high volume user. If someone is STILL using an iPhone 3gs, it's a pretty safe gamble that they're low volume users. When the next iPhone comes out, I bet that statistically the traffic per user of a 4S will drop, because all of the 1% who use 50% of the traffic will have moved to the newest device.

SirToast said,
It likely has nothing to do with the phone itself, and is a better indicator of the average 4S user, which would be a high volume user. If someone is STILL using an iPhone 3gs, it's a pretty safe gamble that they're low volume users. When the next iPhone comes out, I bet that statistically the traffic per user of a 4S will drop, because all of the 1% who use 50% of the traffic will have moved to the newest device.

Why assume 3GS users are low data users? I regularly hit 1.5 GB/month on my 2GB plan. It's not my fault that the 4s isn't worth my $200. I don't have a need for FaceTime, or have a need for Siri when google is my homepage. I'm waiting for the iPhone 5 to come out and be able to be jailbroken before upgrading.

Also, 4s cannot be jailbroken yet, so not worth it IMO.

In addition to Siri, etc notifications in iOS 5 have the weather and stock app installed by default, so every time you swipe to view your notifications it's pulling data. I know because this is what increased my data usage until I removed them.

tmaxxtigger said,
In addition to Siri, etc notifications in iOS 5 have the weather and stock app installed by default, so every time you swipe to view your notifications it's pulling data. I know because this is what increased my data usage until I removed them.

How much did it use?
Even if it used ridiculous amounts of data (1MB per day) that'd be far from doubling usage...

GS:ios

Glassed Silver said,

How much did it use?
Even if it used ridiculous amounts of data (1MB per day) that'd be far from doubling usage...

GS:ios

Whilst I doubt it... something a simple as this could be the cause, especially as this is only discussing data over the mobile network.

1MB per day, or 30MB a month, doesn't sound much of an increase to users watching you tube using 500MB a month, but all those users who use little to no data just checking emails and frequently connected to wifi (specifically users using less than 30MB a month), will now be using more than double by the addition of 30MB... consequently the average across all users could quite possible be double.

I know my phone is connected to a wifi network at home and work, and consequently probably gets almost all its large data transfers through wifi.

lt8480 said,

Whilst I doubt it... something a simple as this could be the cause, especially as this is only discussing data over the mobile network.

1MB per day, or 30MB a month, doesn't sound much of an increase to users watching you tube using 500MB a month, but all those users who use little to no data just checking emails and frequently connected to wifi (specifically users using less than 30MB a month), will now be using more than double by the addition of 30MB... consequently the average across all users could quite possible be double.

I know my phone is connected to a wifi network at home and work, and consequently probably gets almost all its large data transfers through wifi.


You do have a point there, then again, I still have my doubts.
What would be really interesting to see is curves of user behavior over time and the curve for data consumption on iPhone 4 vs 4s etc...

Note, 3GS to 4 saw an increment in numbers, too, back then.
Not sure how things developed over time, but it leaves me to think that adding MP to camera and such joy (actual hardware improvements) and user behavior ("new toy") might be to "blame".

GS:mac

Yaddah yaddah, here's what I think:
a) new "toy" -> using it way more often than the old one before
b) camera takes bigger pictures and mostly pics are shared at original size (especially when Photo Stream is active)
c) mobile video uploads go from 720p to 1080p
d) of cause Siri uses up a bit, but not a LOT. Mostly people will probably use it on WiFi anyways, as many people probably feel a little to uncomfortable using it outdoors (at least "a lot") -> Still I say: BAD design here, Apple. Processing should take place on the phone, there's enough beef behind it. Then again, who knows what it's good for. (JBing does give you Siri now either way, so let's not give exclusivity too much balance, in 1-2 years most people will have their iPhones running Siri anyhow, I do agree though, that Apple could have released Siri for iPhone 4, too. I'd have liked that better as well )

GS:mac

Edited by Glassed Silver, Jan 6 2012, 7:51pm :

No one seems to have mentioned that the camera on the 4S is a 8MP so the photos are a lot higher resolution, this could count if sending emails with the photos or picture messages....

booboo said,
No one seems to have mentioned that the camera on the 4S is a 8MP so the photos are a lot higher resolution, this could count if sending emails with the photos or picture messages....

The phone scales the image down for picture messages. In an example of an image sent via iMessage by a friend with a 4S, the image is 1 megapixel (1152x864).

Denis W said,

The phone scales the image down for picture messages. In an example of an image sent via iMessage by a friend with a 4S, the image is 1 megapixel (1152x864).


With emails you're left with a choice though, no?
Also, does it scale always to 1MP or is it proportional?
(too lazy to check for myself! )

Glassed Silver:ios

It's the cloud data etc...people default it to backup everything. I deployed 40 iPhone 4s devices last week. We allow them to utilize the backup functions. We had a user we didn't realize had over 600MB of photos on his device. Needless to say his data plan is already hurting due to his numbers. You can guarantee that this will be a ploy to ONCE again increase data rates, yet not overhaul the network. I've seen this practice from the top down time and time again. It's just puzzling how I've seen data rates "I'm a network engineer" continue to drop! Yet all the telcos and cable COs claim usage statistics are what causing the drive in upward costs. I worked for a large multi state telco as a network engineer for 7 years; I left 8 months ago to pursue something better. I can promise you data consumption rates are higher. But i can also promise you the telcos are raising rates and investing/upgrading nothing at the same time. All of us we're encouraged to squeeze every little bit out of the network as possible. It was and probably still a thought process of management to think a software upgrade will get you more bandwidth. Saying the word "upgrade" or mentioning "back-haul investments" damn near put you on the chopping block! At the telco i worked for, there was thousands of miles of dark fiber waiting to be turned up...THOUSANDS! But it always came down to the investment that was never made. The illusion of the bandwidth apocalypse is a myth! It's about CEOs and all the other C levels salaries/bonuses. Not to mention the amount of pressure we are all under for short term gains with investors. I'm out

Mr Spoon said,
All this and mobile contracts still limit data usage.
They're totally cashing in on people.

I manage to stay under 500Mb a month quite easily.

Same here, I think in 4 years (since I had faster speeds on my phone) I have gone over 1GB in a month.. ONCE. Mostly I am under 600MB or so.

Mr Spoon said,
All this and mobile contracts still limit data usage.
They're totally cashing in on people.

I manage to stay under 500Mb a month quite easily.

Agreed.

500mb is plenty considering how plentiful WiFi is these days.

However I would say that mobile networks arent doing it to cash in as such. With the rise of the smartphone, networks have seen a massive strain on their infrastructure.

Imagine if every single customer had unlimited data nowadays? Networks would be unusable for data.

WP7 uses too much data, and it must be poor programming on MS' part and proves that the device was rushed out the door (even though it turned out to be a bug in Yahoo's IMAP provider, and affected other devices)

4S uses too much data, and it must be the users are so excited to use the iPhone, so enthralled with what Jobs gave them in his last days, that the providers will be happy to expand their networks to provide the humble iPhone user. We don't know where all that data is going, but it must be good, right?

+1

many people here are trying to justify the extra data consumption, but when that happened on WP7 everyone immediatly looked at MS, so funny...

Sure it would be the same with RIM

nohone said,
WP7 uses too much data, and it must be poor programming on MS' part and proves that the device was rushed out the door (even though it turned out to be a bug in Yahoo's IMAP provider, and affected other devices)

4S uses too much data, and it must be the users are so excited to use the iPhone, so enthralled with what Jobs gave them in his last days, that the providers will be happy to expand their networks to provide the humble iPhone user. We don't know where all that data is going, but it must be good, right?

+1

nohone said,
WP7 uses too much data, and it must be poor programming on MS'" (even though it turned out to be a bug in Yahoo's IMAP provider, and affected other devices)"

Say what? it MUST be poor programming from Microsoft.... but then it turns out it was Yahoo's IMAP? Sorry If I missed something there but isnt that a contradiction of your own argument?

And rushing something out doesn't mean it has failures... remember vista? 10 years in the making

Auzeras said,

Say what? it MUST be poor programming from Microsoft.... but then it turns out it was Yahoo's IMAP? Sorry If I missed something there but isnt that a contradiction of your own argument?

And rushing something out doesn't mean it has failures... remember vista? 10 years in the making

Auzeras...welcome to sarcasm.

Auzeras said,

Say what? it MUST be poor programming from Microsoft.... but then it turns out it was Yahoo's IMAP? Sorry If I missed something there but isnt that a contradiction of your own argument?

And rushing something out doesn't mean it has failures... remember vista? 10 years in the making


He's pointing out that people immediatly bash MS for a flaw (not by them) having effect on their systems, while everything Apple always remains good, no matter what happens to their systems.

KingCrimson said,
Something doesn't seem right. Siri itself can't make data usage double.

Shh, don't hurt the reputation of Apple by pointing out the truth!

It's from all the cool FART apps there are to download. I find that is the best way to demonstrate my superior phone technology.

Well, good? Not sure, but if it pushes mobile companies to invest further in their infrastructure then everyone benefits. Hopefully they won't start changing tariffs as customers already pay enough for it and more if they go over limits.

imachip said,
Well, good? Not sure, but if it pushes mobile companies to invest further in their infrastructure then everyone benefits. Hopefully they won't start changing tariffs as customers already pay enough for it and more if they go over limits.

That's what's going to happen. All of a sudden mobile phone plans are going to get more expensive for everyone...

TechieXP said,
Siri and online backups are the problem. Especially if you backup everything including pictures and recordings.

Lmao, do you even know what your talking about?

iCloud only backs up when connected to power, on wifi and the phone is locked. So basically when your sleeping and your phones charging.

.....

so it seems like you play with siri non-stop for a couple months using it as a toy and to show off....lets see when the thing is a year old if the data consumption rates are actually higher

Co_Co said,
so it seems like you play with siri non-stop for a couple months using it as a toy and to show off....lets see when the thing is a year old if the data consumption rates are actually higher

How do you explain the iPhone 4 using more data than the 3GS (based on their 3 times and twice as much percentages) ?

DomZ said,

How do you explain the iPhone 4 using more data than the 3GS (based on their 3 times and twice as much percentages) ?

Maybe people that tend to hold onto the same phone for 3 years are frugal in other areas as well.

Shadrack said,

Maybe people that tend to hold onto the same phone for 3 years are frugal in other areas as well.

Excellent point!

Dead'Soul said,
siri?

That's what I was thinking. But if that's the case, I'd say there are some technical shortcomings that need to be addressed... I just can't imagine it even COULD double their data without there being a serious flaw... Don't they have friends to talk to, or do they just talk to Siri all day? lol