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You're using a lot of data playing Super Mario Run and here's why

If you're worried about data usage while playing Super Mario Run, your fears are not unwarranted. It turns out, everyone's favorite plumber does use a hefty amount of data compared to other popular online games. But, you can relax a little because some of the overabundance of data usage will die down as new downloads level off over the next few days or so.

It's not me, it's you

AppleInsider spent some time testing the data usage while playing Super Mario Run and are able to confirm that it is, indeed, high.

Several hours of testing the night of release by AppleInsider shows that, [discounting the effect of level downloads], a solid hour of constant play still pushed about 60 megabytes of data per hour. Social media reports vary somewhat, but most fall in the range of 40 to 60 megabytes per hour, with some higher and lower outliers that we are attempting to contact.

In comparison, Pokémon GO, which also received some backlash for its data usage, uses about 30 megabytes per hour of dedicated usage.

It gets better

It's not all doom and gloom for those of us that have data caps, though. AppleInsider also spoke with an Apple App store engineer, who explained why data usage will drop after the initial downloading frenzy has calmed down.

"The game is chatty," we were told. "Nintendo's doing a lot of fat-packet data shuffling back-and-forth to its own back-end, and if a packet fails, it'll keep trying for a bit until it gives up and errors out. This is all data use."

When you start playing Super Mario Run for the first time, you have to download level data packs. Similar to Pokémon GO's first few weeks in public, Nintendo is suffering from strained servers, which has been causing downloads to fail on some devices, which in turn makes you have to re-download the data.

The common belief is that, once the rush of downloads is over, Nintendo's servers will be back on track and issues with failed downloads will end. Thus, causing less data usage across the board for gamers.

So what can I do about it?

In the meantime, if you're on a data plan with a cap and you're worried about maxing it out, try playing on Wi-Fi instead. Don't play while on the subway or standing in line at the mall for a few more days (maybe even a week). Things should work themselves out and your data usage should go down, at least to Pokémon GO levels.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

13 Comments
  • Be more concerned about the data shared as outlined in the privacy policy including location even though i didn't get any location permission requests. Why does it need my location anyway? But really for as incredibly basic as this game is, it shouldnt be using hardly any data. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I heard they're worried about pirating the game. But wouldn't the pirated game circumvent the "phone home" commands? Who the f are they kidding?
    The worst part is, there is absolutely nothing the game/player gains (that I've read) from constant data & location information, yet they charge $10 IAP for users to give them this data? Sorry, a throw away game simply isn't worth that to me. Sent from the iMore App
  • I certainly expected better going in. The game mechanics are at a 7 year olds level. Tap to jump is all you do. The game runs for you, avoids obstacles and enemies for you, there is nothing to it that keeps me engaged or wanting to play more. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • On iOS at least, there's no way to circumvent accessing location without receiving a prompt for location first and accepting it, so I wouldn't worry about that. If it asks you, just don't allow it, but I agree there's no reason this application should need location permission at all.
  • If that's true then why does every other app ask permission that requires location? Are you just assuming this is the case?
    It didn't ask and the privacy policy clearly states they are taking it. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • All apps are sandboxed with limited permissions until you start them, that's deeply integrated into iOS. No app is allowed to bypass this, not even Apple's own, even they ask you for permission. If the app hasn't asked you for location permission, it doesn't have location permission, regardless of what the privacy policy says. You can always go into iOS Settings > Privacy > Location and check if Super Mario Run has permission or not
  • It doesn't because it never asked for it. That list is populated by answering the prompts.
    I trust their privacy policy is accurate. I don't believe that my location isn't being shared and now don't trust the permission system within iOS if it is indeed true which I will never know. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Well you clearly have no idea of how operating systems work, or you have old-man-afraid-of-technology syndrome. You answered your own question: "It doesn't because it never asked for it" So it doesn't have location permissions, end of. It has no idea where you are unless you either:
    - Accept a location permission prompt, thereby allowing Super Mario Run to access your location
    OR
    - Tell Nintendo via a form inside the app what your address is, but even then, all they know is your address, not where you are all the time It doesn't matter what the privacy policy says, a privacy policy doesn't re-code an operating system
  • Hmm you should have your systems engineer's certificate as your avatar. Didn't realize you assisted with developing iOS code and can state this so emphatically.
    You have far too much trust in Apple even through they regularly make mistakes and find apps and games after released in the app store that are leaking data. How does this happen if iOS is so sandboxed? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Maybe I'm not a scepticist/paranoid/conspiracy theorist. What kind of "data" has been leaked? This is the first I've heard of an app made by a reputable company leaking data by somehow bypassing OS restrictions. And yes, Apple make mistakes but the permissions system has been in place a long time, we're on iOS 10, I think it's pretty tight now. You're trying to say Nintendo has found an exploit in iOS to bypass Apple's location restrictions. That doesn't sound very believable.
  • I know this is pretty late, but after looking through Google's Privacy Policy (or lack thereof) I realized there are ways to bypass asking for Location in iOS. Most apps don't do this, mind you, but there are some naughty peeps out there (cough, Google, cough) that might track your location using your IP address, along with a few other things. I know it isn't as specific, but it's something.
  • This is what happens to games that have always in internet connections... I'll never understand why good games are hindered to this... Perhaps it's the old "convenience" factor flooding in again of we can push new stuff to you 'as & when.'
  • This game SUCK Sent from the iMore App