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Study: iPhone 4S uses twice as much data as iPhone 4

updated 08:20 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012

Arieso says Siri, speed surge iPhone 4S data use

The iPhone 4S uses twice as much data as its ancestor, Arieso concluded in a new study. The network data optimizing firm saw double the data use of the iPhone 4 and three times the use of the iPhone 3G. Owners of the newer phone even used more data than iPad 2 owners, who were consuming 2.5 times as much as the 2008-era Apple baseline.

Some of it was considered an organic result of user habits, as people were more often using apps and services. The iPhone 4S' dependence on a network connection for Siri, however, may have been inflating the amount of data beyond what the iPhone 4 did. Although not mentioned, the eight-megapixel camera and its 1080p videos also greatly increase the amount of data used whenever uploading to a destination that can accept the full size.

Tablets would always have high usage, although they were still closer to high-end smartphones than desktops.

Arieso warned of a network crunch, but unlike carriers, focused more on offloading data to local networks than capping or throttling users. Putting more subscribers on femtocells, which create a personal cell site that uses the home Internet connection to actually route calls and data, would take the load off of the main networks and reserve it for those who actually use it.

Researchers didn't directly compare the iPhone 4S against other platforms. Past research has suggested that Android users consume more, and the rise of LTE-equipped Android phones in the US may only exacerbate the demand from carriers.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Not exactly...

    Unless I'm missing something, I think it would be a lot more accurate to say that iPhone 4S *USERS* use twice as much data as iPhone 4 USERS. Which is a small but significant difference, since it could be as much demographic differences as Siri or higher-res cameras (and, I suppose, a faster phone letting people surf more in less time?).

    I suppose they could be accounting for demographics, but I doubt it.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Just try google map

    Google Map on iPhone 4 uses 4X as much data as the 3G/3GS. Why? The screen resolution doubles, this means the total number of pixels is 4X more. Why is the tablet (1024 x 768 slightly more than the 960 x 640 iPhone 4? Do some math, please.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Data usage?

    Siri uses a lot of data. People may not be aware of how much.

    Google Maps 5.0+ (on Android) uses vector graphics. Much smaller files, much quicker to load. Hopefully Google will update the iPhone App to utilize this feature.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004



    Oh, her!!! I fired her after a few days (and later sold the 4s), so she isn't using any extra data. What can you expect when your own personal virtual assistant cannot open most of your apps, check your voicemail, etc.?

    I admit I was really excited by the Siri idea that I did an upgrade. :/ After a short time I sold my 16GB 4s and bought a gently used 32GB iPhone 4 instead. No difference in my day to day use except that I now have twice the storage. Siri is a joke. Nothing but beta software that we are testing for Apple.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Siri?

    Siri is a joke. Nothing but beta software that we are testing for Apple.

    It's not a joke. It's more of a marketing gimmick.

    And it seems like I read all over the place how siri is beta software, as if it is common knowledge, and yet that is never mentioned by Apple. So is it still in 'beta' or not?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Not exactly...

    Unless I'm missing something, I think it would be a lot more accurate to say that iPhone 4S *USERS* use twice as much data as iPhone 4 USERS.

    Depends. If you've got a large enough sampling, you can have a better analysis. You can come up with some arguments about why iPhone 4 users would use more data than 3G users (due to the number of apps that would work on iPhone 4 but not the 3G, or the better data rates, better video and camera capabilities, Facetime, etc. However, there's not much difference phone and feature wise to the iPhone 4 and 4S that would drive more data use by users (you know, like "I can now run Words with Friends! And Angry Birds MMOG!"). So, generally, the expected usage pattern would generally be the same. And if that's the case, you would extrapolate phone-specific causes for increased data usage.

    However, it is immaterial. This survey/analysis wasn't concerned with 'why' or 'who' creates the extra demand (does it matter if it's Siri or larger pictures, or even if it is users watching more on-line video?). The point is to say "Hey, as the 4S sells more and more, your data tubes are going to get more and more full. And it's only going to get worse."

    Oh, and I think they also add in there "BTW, we've got this great tech/service to help optimize usage of your tubes. Call us, we'll talk over lunch about working together!"

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