How to use less data on iPhone and iPad

Apple's flagship iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB Midnight Green
Apple’s current flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB in Midnight Green

If you’re concerned about running out of data, extra data charges, are in an area with slow data speeds, or for whatever reason want to conserve your data usage, Apple’s iOS 13 can do just that. Simply turn on Low Data Mode to restrict background network use and save cellular and Wi-Fi usage.

How to turn on Low Data Mode

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

Cellular:
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.

Wi-Fi:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Tap the information button (i) next to the Wi-Fi network to which you’re connected.
  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.

23 Comments

    1. Ummmm, you’re aware that you can buy many different brands of cheap SD/microSD adapters that allow you to use SD and microSD cards with iPhones and iPads, right? Right? You knew that, right? Ummmm.

        1. Ummmm, yeah, like I said, no big deal to use an SD, microSD, or SSD with iPhones and iPads. The adapter makes it more flexible than a built in slot. More future proof too for new external storage technologies.

          You asked “Not a big deal. Or is it….?” I answered. Don’t get upset at me because you don’t like the answer.

            1. Doesn’t need both. Adapters are by their nature more flexible. One slot in the phone and multiple uses now and in the future. No need to waste space in the phone with slot after slot after slot. Built in slots cannot possibly match what adapters can offer. Unless you think a phone can have ten slots in it. You might think that given your ignorance about technology. I mean, come on, you didn’t even know you could use SD cards with iPhones. I’ll have to start sending you a bill soon for all this teaching I have to do for you.

            2. “Adapters are okay for transient use.”

              So sorry. To teach you any more about how technology works I would have to start billing you.

            1. Nice straw man argument attempt. Well done. Now you’re moving on to a topic that wasn’t discussed at all. Your snarky point was about iPhones not being able to use SD cards. All I did was correct you. I guess that hurts so much you have to set up this straw man about DOS?

            2. “I expect a modern computer to be a key to do it”

              Yesssss, a modern computer like the iPhone can be set up via HomeKit to act as a key to do things like lock and unlock doors. Not sure what that has to do with your incorrect assertion that iPhones can’t use SD cards. Do you need help?

            3. I wonder if you realize that you referred to the iPhone as “a modern computer”. Heh, I’m going to keep that one on file. Thanks.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.