A few recent studies have shown that the iPhone is a DATA BEAST. According to the Consumer Smartphone Usage report from Analysysmason.com, the iPhone is responsible for a little over 80% of the most intense data traffic from a panel of users with smartphones from the US, Spain, France, the UK and Germany.
This specific topic came across my mind recently as my brother, a fellow iPhone user for over two years, recently decided to make the switch over to the “Dark Side” (more like the cheap side). He walked into an AT&T store and was offered their newest incentive: A free Android smartphone and a chance to fully cover the early termination fee from his old carrier, Verizon. At that time my brother and I were both with AT&T and had the same data cap; 6GB. He had the newest Android phone and I had the iPhone 6. Now I would like to say that we had the same smartphone habits, however I am not 100% sure of what he does with his private time. In all fairness, I think it is safe to say we are similar. Neither of us use social media apps other than Instagram and Snapchat. We live under the same roof and have a strong connection to Wifi when we are home.
My confusion initially came when after only two weeks I was over and above my 6GBs of data and was quick to be charged the $15 overage fee for an additional gigabyte. Now immediately one would wonder, “You must be streaming a lot more videos than him,” a valid thought, but not the case! In Fact, when we compared our data usage app by app, our largest consumer of data, the Youtube app, only differed by about 0.3GB. So where in hell was all my data going? The answer was obvious. My phone had more applications in total that consumed large amounts of data. To be precise, my iPhone had 10 apps that used more than 30mb a month compared to my brother’s Android that had only 4. When I say 10 apps I am not talking about ones that I have downloaded from the app store, I am referring to apps that are native to the iPhone.
I quickly concluded that the iPhone is, not only the more expensive device to own, but the more expensive device to operate. Immediately I turned to the internet for help and stumbled upon a few great pieces of information. The key to using less date is to alter a few settings under the iPhones cellular tab in its settings app. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this menu you will find an on/off switch labeled WiFi assist. This setting is enabled when you first turn on your iPhone. It allows the device to use cellular data if and when your WiFi connection is poor. This means that when you think you’re streaming Netflix on your home network, you could possibly be burning us precious gigabytes of data. After disabling this feature, I noticed a 20% drop in my monthly data usage. 20%! HUGE!
But that’s not all. To experiment, I disabled data usage for every app except iMessage, Safari, Mail, Weather, Maps, and my banking application. After doing this, my data usage dropped by an unbelievable 60%. I was amazed, but not pleased.
Although I found a solution to end my iPhones extreme data usage nightmare, I was living with an extremely limited device. In order to use any of the other apps, I had to go into cellular settings and enable it to use data. When I finished using that application, I went back into settings and disabled it from steeling my priceless data when I wasn’t using it.
So what did I learn from my own personal study? If you can not afford to spend more than $100 a month for phone service, buy an Android.