How to use Apple’s Low Data Mode on iPhone and iPad

Apple’s iOS 13 introduces a new feature that can save you data usage by cutting down on network activity.

William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

Apple’s own apps and services are, as you’d expect, primed to work with Low Data Mode.

Once you switch it on, your iPhone or iPad, will stop automatically downloading items. You won’t get apps or music you buy on your other devices unless you choose to download them.

Similarly, Apple News won’t update so much and it will stop anticipating what you want to read next and pre-fetching that story for speed…

You won’t use Low Data Mode all the time. The quality of what you consume on your iPhone will be lesser with it on, so you only use it when necessary.

Yet when it is necessary, it’s going to be so useful.

MacDailyNews Take: Definitely a welcome and useful addition to iOS and iPadOS.

How to turn on Low Data Mode

You can turn on Low Data Mode separately for cellular and Wi-Fi.

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Tap Cellular > Cellular Data Options.
3. Turn on Low Data Mode.

If you use a Dual SIM device, you can turn on Low Data Mode separately for each cellular plan.

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Tap Wi-Fi.
3. Tap the information button (i) next to the Wi-Fi network that you’re connected to.
4. Turn on Low Data Mode.

Your Low Data Mode preferences for each Wi-Fi network are kept up to date across all your devices through iCloud.

What to expect in Low Data Mode

Different apps use different ways of reducing data usage in Low Data Mode. In general, here’s what you can expect:

• Apps might stop using network data when you’re not actively using them.
• Background App Refresh is turned off.
• The quality of streaming content might be reduced.
• Automatic downloads and backups are turned off.
• Services such as iCloud Photos pause updates.
• Built-in iOS apps and services adapt to Low Data Mode in the following ways:
• App Store: Video autoplay, automatic updates, and automatic downloads are turned off.
• Music: Automatic downloads and high quality streaming are turned off.
• Podcasts: The frequency of feed updates is limited, and episodes are downloaded only on Wi-Fi.
• News: Article prefetching is turned off.
• iCloud: Updates are paused, and automatic backups and iCloud Photos updates are turned off.
• FaceTime: Video bitrate is optimized for lower bandwidth.

Beloved, cherished interns, please perform your most sacred duty.

Cheers, everyone!


  1. It would be nice to give back the end user the ability to do something offline. The constant ads, tracking, and so forth is out of control.

    Apple Computer gave us personal computers. With refinement, stuff just worked. Then Tim Apple Megacorp and Google Datasucking Vampire Inc gave us iOS and Android. Nothing works seamlessly.

  2. so when I travel internationally I can just flip this on for cellular and not have to go to each individual app and turn it off ? That would be huge, iCloud syncing killed me on a recent trip… especially photos.

  3. Background App Refresh will kill data and battery.
    Do you really need all Social apps phoning home every 5 minutes, 24/7 over cellular to check for updates? Nope. Turn this off and then it will get all updates when you launch the app in about 5 seconds.
    Non-geek users really need to spend a few hours in Settings to learn what they do.

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