Poll: How Much iPhone Data Are You Using?

In light of AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega saying iPhone users user more data than any other smartphone user, indeed that iPhone users "crowd out" other users, and that they may have to "manage" iPhone data, TiPb reader Louie asked if we'd run a poll to find out just what the numbers looked like.

We've asked this before, though not in poll form, and while reader polls are by no means scientific, they are fun, so here it is! How much iPhone data are you using each month?

(If you're not sure how much data you're using, check your bill for an exact amount, or go to Settings > Usage on your iPhone for a rough idea)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 66 comments. Add yours.

Jellotime91 says:

I think most of the people who say they use a lot don't even know how much they actually use..

noblejohn says:

Is the usgage meter on phone accurate? Does it ever reset automatically? I doubt it does when the new billing cycle begins but curious if it ever does

grape8pe#AC says:

I have wi-fi access at work and home so I use little 3g data (avg. under 10MB per month). Without wi-fi I'm sure my numbers would be much higher.

Havok says:

Just checked my AT&T usage on the site. I do alot of online apps and safari aswell as YouTube and I just broke 100 MB halfway through my month. I always use wifi at home and turn the 3G on when I'm out.

Darrell Allen says:

I use around 100mb each month. The only time I have a 3g signal is on my 45 minute commute. Since my brother in law rides to work with me I don't use my iPhone for data during my commute. My edge signal at home and work is spotty at best. So, my data is wifi. I wish AT&T would expand the 3g signal around Knoxville,TN or release the 3g microcell in this area.

Mailia says:

My last phone bill had 19,200 MB used data last month. Thank god I live in Finland, where I can pay 9,90€ for 3,6Mbits (in theory) of unlimited data.

Matt(sZ) says:

Waaaaay above 5Gb a month...

websyndicate says:

I travel A LOT for work. I'm usually not at my HOST computer so I when I download my podcast with RSS Player aka Podcaster there in no 10MB cap so it gets pretty crazy

bmrdave says:

Whenever I "play" with my iphone I'm almost always somewhere with wifi, so I barely use 50megs/month.

anne611 says:

I really do not know how much data I use. I just know that we paid $150.00 +tx for two iPhones, $50.00 for data, $60.00 for anytime minutes, $30.00 for unlin. texts.
ATT have lost there mind, they are just try to get more money out of us.
They do not want to give anything, to get the free call on any network. You have to has 1400 anytime minutes on a family package. If you gave 1400 anytime minutes. If you have 1400 anytime min. why would you need free network on any network. ATT do anything to ge more money out of us.
I do no care how much data I'm using, my data plan is UNLIN. I'm going to use it like it not a tomorrow.
ATT CAN GO TO HELL!!

BBYM#IM says:

@anne611 I belive that is the worse post I ever read on this site. Learn how to write English and then post!

xultar says:

I don't get it. the hightest I've ever been was maybe 500mb and that is when I was jailbroken and using 3G Unrestrictor to stream sling over 3g. I want the ability to sling over 3g but really i hadn't plan on using it all that much.
The higest I've ever been on my laptop connect was a gig and I stream sling over that too occasionally. I don't see how you can use over 5gb a month on an iphone or laptop connect unless you stream 24/7.

BBYM#IM says:

Ooops... worst damn iPhone keyboard!

Dan says:

@anne611 is you're so unhappy with your AT&T and your iPhone, how about you cancel it and get a blackberry on vzw? It's not like you MUST have an iPhone to live. There are plenty of choices out there but you CHOSE to use AT&T.

taroliw says:

Ironically, I often used 2-3 TIMES as much data on my old Tréo 650 and 680 than I have with my iPhones -- based on actual reported data usage on billing statements. The reason? Mostly WiFi, I think. Second, no background apps and lack of true push IMAP client support -- ChatterMail was my buddy on Tréo!
I don't know what new hell AT&Tis brewing in the death star, but I suspect my data usage won't be nearly high enough to trigger it. And I suspect that the vast majority f us won't be either. Just a lot of FUD as a scapegoat for a poorly operating data network, if you ask me.

fastlane says:

In other words... "How much of your life are you wasting?"

Louie says:

If you have AT&T just use their app and it will tell you under usage - data. I use between 2.5 to 3 GB a month. I use a lot of streaming every day at work. Makes the day fly by.

Tony Palik says:

The presentation from AT&T never defined what constituted high usage. I travel regularly and have a data card as well as an iPhone. I use WiFi when at home or at a Starbucks. With that, it averages 200Mb on the iPhone and never more than 1.5Gb on the data card. I have four E-Mail accounts on the iPhone also.
Like some other posters it is hard for me to understand how usage could be higher.
For those who say they don't know how much they use, it is broken by phone number in summary and detail form on your bill.

SoldierBlade says:

I rarely go over 100 MB, but it's not from a lack of trying. When I was using my E71 I streamed a lot of shoutcast and last.fm, and even on edge fulltime it ended up being more than it is now because I could run those apps in the background and also I didn't have to worry about battery as much due to the fact that the E71 I was using had a bottomless pit for a battery. The iPhone 3GS, not so much.

B3gin says:

I don't mave a laptop and my computer sucks so my iPhone fills that void till I save up for the laptop. Then I'm sure that 3-5 gig will drop off for me. Damn divorce can't save for sh*t. So sorry guys for hogging the network in riverside county here in CA.

ghostface147 says:

400 megs tops for me. I tend to stick to Wi-Fi for data at home, but refuse to use Wi-Fi at work. They have too many filters.

guinness0514 says:

Yeah after these posts I checked my data for last month and I used 10GB of data... Now the only thing I use heavily is Simplify Media app to stream my music. No teathering or sling on 3G, but I do stream 256 bit rate music all day...kinda scary because I am not cheating the system. I am using, in my opinion, a simple program. I guess I fall in the 2% of abusers. Sorry Nashville, TN people

James says:

When I used a blackberry storm I averaged 300-400mb a month and most of that was from using Slacker. Now that I own an iphone I use 600-700mb a month. That's using slacker less (I use the ipod part of the phone more) and wifi when I'm at home.
The iphone is just that much more web friendly.

cheap phone says:

I usually use my iPhone just for basic calling, taking, pictures and occassional facebook and twitter. I use mostly wifi for other online tasks

sting7k says:

People who put over 1GB and even higher, what do you do? My average is 300MB a month. I stream stuff over 3G with pocket tunes radio all the time and my friends say I use it too much when we are hanging. I use Google Maps to navigate for friends when riding shot gun. But I've only gotten to 500MB one time. How can you possibly use that much data?

guinness0514 says:

I don't tether...I had 10GB unless I am reading it wrong
which is very possible

SpiceRak2 says:

I am at my limit as to what I will pay to use the iPhone. The data plans are ridiculously high with AT&T. I expect that for the price I am paying, I should be able to use my iPhone without feeling guilty.
BTW, I average less than 20MG on my phone, mostly because we DON'T even have 3G in my area. I use wi-fi almost exclusively. AT&T has not delivered premium service for the premium price I am paying. Aside from the few calls I make and the texts I send, what are they giving to someone like me, who works the iPhone more like a Touch?

Ageman says:

I don't have tethering but I do use 5-10 Gb a month. Every month on the tenth day I rest the statistics. I started three months ago to see how much data I use. So yeah I use about 5-8 Gb (only one it was 10 Gb). Why is use so much? Internet. I don't have Internet at home so I use my mini mac... Ahem, iPhone to surf the Internet.

Gregory Foster says:

Just checked my bill, I used 166.38MB last month, my brother used 717.26MB and my mother used 100.84MB. So about 1gig between 3 people.

Drunk says:

I got 1066MB and my billing cycle ends tomorrow. So 1-2GB and I use the phone alot, AT&T can kiss my ass.

Josh says:

The most I've ever used was ~3gb and that was when I was in Miami with no WiFi in sight. I had to get the Fringe episodes I missed. I've even tethered for 3 weeks straight and have not gone over 2gb. But my average is under 500mb and prob wouldn't even be that high if I didn't use Orb and an RDP client. I definitely believe people consume a huge amount of data but the % is small. I pay for an unlimited plan so I wouldn't mind AT&T giving me a 2gb cap for $10 less but you know what will happen. My current "unlimited" plan will be capped and I'll have to pay an extra $10 for the "seriously unlimited" plan or an extra $20 for the "I swear we won't charge you with overages unlimited" plan. At the end of the day, AT&T is just a company trying to turn a profit and I will not hate on them for being true to what they are.

d.allen says:

@ageman
Thats a lot of surfing. lol. I use my iphone to download itunes songs, download apps, and surf.. I'm never over 500meg.. I don't use streaming music because I prefer itunes to that. I do have a wifi connection in my home though.. so I'm sure that makes a difference.

icebike says:

@ageman: and others claiming 5gig:
Check your bill, NOT the use statistics.
And fess up, state whether you tether or not.
At the speed of 3G, Im not convinced there are enough hours in the day to pull 5gig per month and still hane a life.

Josh says:

@Icebike I agree it would be hard to go through that much data on a stock iPhone. But, you can go through 5gigs of data in your sleep if your jailbroken with Safari Download Manager, Torrentula, 3G Unrestrictor, and Backgrounder.
One of my friends is a bandwidth hog and he runs Torrentula in the background. ~1GB movies are easily downloaded when your not sitting there staring at them. Plus he downloads huge sized App Store apps like Tiger Woods and Navigon over 3G using Unrestrictor. A couple months ago he hit 5GB in 2 weeks.

Christin says:

My billing cycle started the 3rd and I'm at 737Mb

Christin says:

That's from the AT&T app btw

bugs says:

last i checked this is the only smart phone on att that renders full web pages, which does not use mobile so you do use more data then every other smart phone on the network.
this the reason why then dont want to bring another webkit browser phone on the market and rejecting an android device?

Socialist was nominated for NPP before inagiration!! says:

For $100 bucks a month I'll do whatever I want and use however much I want. Don't like it kick me off or lower the frigging price.

Socialist was nominated for NPP before inauguration says:

For $100 bucks a month I’ll do whatever I want and use however much I want. Don’t like it kick me off or lower the frigging price.
Spelling is important :-)

Bugs says:

At&t is upset over the fact that iPhone does not streamline the web Internet like every other device on there network.
So take for example tipb.com. On everyother device this site might be 90k. On the iPhone it will poll down 1 Meg.
Since the browser on an iPhone is actually usable to do stuff. iPhone owners actually use the Internet unlike other smart phones which are used as a last resort.
I can see why at&t is crying. The don't want to change from low bandwith phones on there network to better more richer experiance on the phone. Which devices like iPhone, android. And the new nokia n900 bring to the market

aspenboy says:

I think tiered data pricing isn't a bad thing. Based on the poll, it seems like there's a lot of people who would benefit from lower prices for a lower cap, something like $15 for 250MB, $25 for 1GB and $35 for under 3GB and $45 for 3+GB. This is assuming that AT&T is fine with the revenue they are getting and would just redistribute it among their customers by charging people based upon usage. Also, the higher prices would incentivize the really high usage people to reduce their data usage to a not so ridiculous amount.
Of course, the worry is that AT&T will keep prices the same and then charge the high users more, which just brings in more revenue for them, but doesn't really benefit customers.
If bandwidth is scarce, incentivize the use properly and also use the revenue to improve the bandwidth.

icebike says:

@Josh:
So in the examples you've cited, the TOS was already broken by your "friend". The way I see it, he has no cause for complaint. He IS the problem.
You've provided one more nugget of evidence for my pet theory that it is impossible to pull 5Gig per month AND honor your end of the contract.

Derek says:

I thought my usage would be massive. I surf the interwebs constantly at work since I have no Internet connection at work. I also use it quite a bit when driving since I always have maps up, which constantly needs reloading. But upon looking at my bill I find that I'm just slightly above 1GB/month.
So I ask... how on god's green earth are there people using 5 times that much? Have you found some way to use a torrent on the iPhone or something? Crazy.

icebike says:

@Chris:
I'd prefer to see that top tier MUCH MUCH more punitive.
4 Gig = $100. 6 Gig = $200.
I'm not worried about ATT losing money trying to build towers to accommodate these bandwidth hogs.
The idea isn't to recover more money from these hogs. The idea is to make it too expensive for them to continue abusing a common resource.
Its the Tragedy of the Commons all over again.

Christin says:

AT&T is not going to lower prices for those with light usage! You're dreaming. The might raisenprices for heavy users like me, but you guys will still be stuck paying what you pay, because you're already paying it!!
Btw I don't teather and I'll be at around 5 gb. I use maps constantly (just moved to NYC). I watch video sometimes on NBC.com. I use the Internet whenever on a break from work or on the bus. It's mostly Internet use!

Christin says:

Abusing a common resource?!?! WTF that's a bit extreame

kaelendra says:

I've got a 500mb max on my plan i've never really gotten near... only thing I normally avoid is video's. I check my email plenty, facebook, twitter, fml, use the safari browser, as well as other various apps.

Bill McNeal says:

I am on the road a lot. staying in hotels 3 or 4 nights a week sometimes i have wi-fi sometimes I don't. I used 1.986 GB last month (per my statement). I listen to pandora, wunder radio, slacker, stream podcasts, listen to MLB, watch MLB.tv games, Youtube, other ahem video sites. My phone is not jailbroken, I just use a lot of data, my bill cycle breaks at the 28th of the month, and according to the att usage app I'm at 792 MB for this month.
I hope they don't alter the plans, I'm not overly happy with AT&T as a whole, but I love my iPhone, and as long as they keep it the way it is, I'll be content, but if they crap it up, I'll probably just go back to Verizon where you can actually make phone calls when you want.

Toaster27 says:

I'm a security guard at an empty warehouse for 12 hours a day. I'm on the Internet and texting damn near all day. This puts me around 4.5G s month. No tethering at all.

bugs says:

why are people so set on tier prices.
the US is the most expensive mobile country in the world.
with fiber backbones, etc our data usage is what 1% traffic?
give me a break, they cant pay out a few billions to the ceo as a bonus check.

aspenboy says:

I think some people are for tier pricing because if I know I use a service less than 1/10 the amount that other people do then I should save some money. Why should I pay the same $30/month if I use 300 MB per month as someone who uses 3 GB per month? I would be fine with a 1GB cap or something like that if it would mean that I could save $10/month.

icebike says:

@Bugs:

with fiber backbones, etc our data usage is what 1% traffic?

Its nothing to do with the backbones.
This is a last-mile problem. From the tower to you is where things are getting saturated.
And you are correct, the US pays some of the highest Cell bills in the world.
We have no government subsidy, no government mandated Cell tower site availability, and No Government run Telco, and no mandatory roaming policy, and absurd roaming rates charged by one carriers other other carrier.
We are often compared to little countries like France and Britian, or heavily subsidized countries like Canada and Brazil, where some or all of these things exist.
A better comparison might be Australia or Russia, but those countries don't have our cell coverage areas, or our customer loading.
Still our prices are way too high. Not the least of our problem is the ridiculous license fees for bandwidth paid to the government, and the fees demanded by state and local governments to put up a cell tower.
Our carriers aren't exactly getting rich either. Some are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. We are still building out our systems. Some times rebuild for the third time. Whereas small countries have every square inch within range of three towers, there are still places in the US where there is no cell signal.
Its a bit of a mess. And its gotten totally out of hand.
But it is what it is, and its not getting fixed any time soon.

Al says:

I would love someone who is claiming over 5GB per month to explain to me how that is even possible, especially if you are doing that without jailbreaking. I don't even see how there is enough time in the day to put up those kind of numbers. Are you turning Pandora on and just leaving the iPhone plugging in to play 24/7 for the month?? The reason AT&T's data rates are so high is because they have to beef up the network to account for all of these ridiculous power users. They are the ones who should be paying more per month. I'd gladly take a rate cut for a 2GB cap because I would rarely even approach that mark!

icebike says:

@Christn:

Abusing a common resource?!?! WTF that’s a bit extreame

There is only so much bandwidth available. We all need to share it. You simply can not put up a new cell tower at will.
I don't believe it to be extreme at all.
This same problem has bedeviled dial-up, and cable modem systems. When .5% of users use 98% of resources, its abusive no matter how you slice it.

bugs says:

dialup never had a shared connection it was modem to modem, cable is the only thing affected by shared resources but then again its also bs. since the backbone is 10-100x faster then the speed offered to the house or subscriber.
instead of infrastructures expanding they are just funneling end users.
but then again you get what you paid for. for 25 bux 10 meg connections are kinda of funny, then compete with prices of like t1 where there is no usage limits and priced at 400 a month.

zkarj says:

I have a 200Mb cap. So I use less than 200Mb. If I didn't have the cap, I'd use far more.

Tinshield says:

I use about 250-500 mb a month. While at home i use wifi but while i'm out i use 3g unless the location i'm at has a little wifi that i can leach off of. I use wunderradio so that i can catch the Stern show and browse the internet about approx 1-2 hrs a day.

wizard_of_smack says:

I just checked AT&T's site and I've used up 2799.99mb with 1 more day on my cycle. If AT&T is crying about iPhones clogging their beloved network, instead of capping data, how about you allow other networks carry it? Either share the iPhone user load, or strengthen the network

firsachi says:

I from different country, but a live and work in USA . In my shop i don't have WIFI ,after i read att statement they can handle so much data. I checked how much data do i use? That was 7.5 gb , i did read all articles on this page, most of people don't using that much of data like me, and they couldn't understand how you may use so much of data? Like i told already ,I'm from overseas , and i was officially loaded app. trough app store, that is radio streaming application ,and of course i listen all day radio i liked. Why AT&T being so smart was not able to figure-out, some people may use more then other? It is like go to the store , and buy something ,then after you walk out the door ,and manager of the store will chase you when you already paid full price, say to you "we change our mind you should pay more money, hmmmm, I agree we should use less! But.... AT&T , should think twice before give away unl.data,The are huge Corp and of course they have a lot of people with brain!, maybe not?

Wow says:

Why are people complaining about the price they pay for the unlimited data. " 30$ is way to high". What's 30$? Sure it's large when compared to a two year span or even a one year span but honelty if 30$ extra is pushin your wallet then let's face it a cellphone bill in general is pushing your wallet. Stop the blood clot cryin. My iPhone 3g s works great in CO. The edge on this thing is as fast as the 3g on the iPhone 3g. I'm pushin 600mb a month nothing crazy if they put a cap I would welcome a price drop but I'm not going to sit here and complain about te extra 30$ that is the treason my wallet is slim. Let's be real. Way to many people put there wallets higher then they can reach.

Gabriel says:

NO ONE CHOOSE AT&T, APPLE DID!!! AT&T SUCK AT EVerYTHING and their customer service is like talking to a bunch of RUDE TEENAGERS!!!! HELP US APPLE, UR OUR ONLY HOPE!!!!

Lawrence says:

If AT&T changes anything about their data usage plans and you are locked into a 2 year contract.......would the change breach the contract and release you from any contractual obligations??

Chris says:

If you've got Spotify it's easy to get the high amounts of data. If you're jailbroken with Freeflix installed then that makes it even easier. I'm on o2 and I download my bill every month. The iPhone has my data usage as slightly lower than o2 does. I've used about 4gig this month and my bill starts on the 19th of each month.

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Trekkergal says:

I have a 500MB plan so unfortunately that's all I can use a month which bites because I love listening to music on the go with the 3G network like when I'm driving but streaming audio takes up SO much data and too much of my plan for me to use it on 3G. Streaming music uses 1MB per minute so for a 500MB plan that's no more than 15 minutes of music a day and that's if you didn't use the iPhone for anything else. If I don't stream music or video 500MB is enough for all other uses for the phone (surfing, email, Facebook, little YouTube etc).