iPhone 4S uses three times more data than 3GS

by Dale Wright

If you have an iPhone 4S, you may have noticed that your phone is munching through your
data allowance at speed. It’s not just your imagination. Experts have studied the data use of the
iPhone 4S and have found that it’s significantly higher than the iPhone 4 or even the iPad 2.
In fact, if you own an iPhone 4S, you could be paying twice as much for your data if you’re on
pay as you go. And if you upgraded from an iPhone 3GS, figures from Arieso suggest your data
consumption may have tripled.

iPhone 4s

The main difference between the software on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S is Siri, the
personal assistant which responds to natural human speech. It’s not the transmission of your
voice that’s the problem, though: the sheer amount of data involved in processing a stream of
questions reliably has caused data usage to spike. It’s not that the app uses huge amounts of
data, but that some users are so reliant on the app that they search more, and they also tend to
search for rich content such as streaming video. Statistics indicate that 3% of mobile users use
as much as 70% of available 3G bandwidth.

Arieso have pointed out that a user who doesn’t heavily use Siri or stream video won’t notice
a big change in data usage. Other new services such as iCloud could be part of the problem
as well. However, the report still highlights the fact that we’re using more and more bandwidth
on our mobile devices, and our searches are becoming more sophisticated, placing bigger
demands on mobile internet connections.

In time, it’s likely that mobile networks will push users towards WiFi as we put more and more
pressure on the limited capacity of 3G mobile networks. In particular, users of mobile internet
dongles could place a huge strain on our mobile phone networks which could result in a rise in
prices over the next couple of years.

Have you been hit by a big bill for data use on your phone?